So, here you are.
You’ve been trying to figure out your edit style for a while now.
You’ve tried a buncchhh of different editing techniques and presets, but nothing really seems to be YOUR style. It’s always someone else’s.
Can I get an AMEN???
Well! I’m here to give you some helpful tips and things to think about as you find your edit style.
And I mean YOUR OWN edit style! Not someone else’s. Not even having someone else’s preset in the mix. YOUR OWN PRESET.
I think there are THREE things that you should think about when determining your style specifically in light of photography today. So, here we go!
Before we dive into the practical tips to think about, I wanted to share with you my journey to how I found my own style, and created my own preset.
For me, I kind of just fell into finding my style. BUT, I was also reaaaalllly stubborn at first.
I first got started really diving into Lightroom around 2016 when I had done a lot of portraits. Some of the presets that I truly wanted to buy were Dawn Charles’ DC Presets that were very very trendy at the time. A lot of people were buying them and before presets were really even a thing – Dawn was ON IT!
She had all of these really great presets available, but I was SUPER stubborn and I didn’t want to spend money on them yet. I was definitely more frugal back then LOL!
So, what I actually did was I went into Lightroom and I tried to replicate the preset on my own.
It didn’t really look the same, BUT in this process I actually learned SO much about Lightroom.
I learned about tone curve, because I was trying to figure out how to get muted whites and how to get colors in the shadows with split toning. I was googling all the stuff that I didn’t know and I was learning all about Lightroom in the process. So, while I was preeeeettttty stubborn at first, and I could have spent the measly $100 something she was charging for the presets, I’m actually really glad that I didn’t, BECAUSE I was instead able to learn the fundamentals of editing in Lightroom.
I believe this is super important, especially for new photographers as they get started in Lightroom and aren’t super sure how it works or what the tools do.
My encouragement for you would be to actually just sit down and start from scratch and try and replicate something that you like, and then see how far you get in Lightroom. This is an extremely valuable way to learn how all the tools work in Lightroom, and how you can create your own preset when the time is right.
Okay, so eventually, yes, I did end up buying presets.
I actually ended up first buying Ben Sasso’s Art Pack Presets, which resonated with me and seemed more natural.
I tweaked and played with it a lot and made it a little more warm, and that’s how I found my first editing style. That lasted me up until the beginning of 2018 when I really wanted to learn more and not feel like I’m kind of stealing Ben Sasso’s editing style. Instead, I was curious to see how other people edited. As I was full time at that point, I really felt like I wanted to establish my own style.
I actually went out and bought a couple more presets such as India Earl’s Honey preset which was really eye opening.
I was also learning from a lot of friends who edited differently, looking at how they were editing and what their settings were. I ended up finally buying DC presets as well as Dirty Boot’s Presets, and then Authentic Love Mag gave me their presets.
I was getting all these presets and looking at what they were doing, and I took note of what settings I liked and did not like.
It was from this process that I was able to create my own preset from scratch!! BUT, I think the most valuable thing to take away is this:
This is something that we all have in the back of our heads but do not truly apply to what we do. It’s really easy to get caught up in edit trends that might not be something that will last for decades and decades to come.
Let me say it louder for the people in the back.
Picking an EDITING TREND will NOT be timeless. Think about what trends you see today – for example, super warm photos, or desaturating colors, etc.
For me, I just wasn’t sure if that was something that was going to last for another decade, and I knew when finding my own style that I WANTED to keep the colors because it was a part of their memory!
You need to ask: what is not going to be cringe-worthy 60 years from now when couples show these photos to their grandkids? “What were they THINKING? This photography is SO WEIRD!!!”
As we’re seeing now in today’s trends, colors are back, so especially when thinking of wedding photos you really need to stop and consider what is going to last for years to come.
You have to think about this as you’re brainstorming what you want your style to truly replicate, and what YOUR values are with your edits.
One of my absolute main values is I reaaaalllly like to have COLORS!!
I think that they’re super important in not just keeping the photos timeless, but also keeping them relevant to the storytelling.
I want my couples to remember the greens that were in the forest, or the sun as it was setting in the golden hour, or the ocean and how blue it was on the day of their wedding. I want to make sure that they remember the feeling of the colors and the setting and sometimes having an artistic, trendy edit might take away from that memory that they want to remember.
So, as you get started, my encouragement for you is to figure out an answer to the question: what are my values in photography? Knowing your own personal style will not only inform what you do but it will also make sure that your couples never think that your photos are out of style or no longer timeless. You want these memories to be something that your clients remember for a long long time!
There are some people who are more energetic and more lively photographers. Then there’s other people that are more shy, slow, romantic or perhaps more moody.
I absolutely have a bubbly personality, having grown up doing theater with all sorts of animated faces, so that is a part of who I am both as a person AND as an artist.
With my photos, I feel like I’m really good at bringing out the enthusiasm from my couples. These very enthusiastic, outgoing couples end up being the types of couples I tend to draw in as well. Sometimes I will definitely do more of a moody edit if it was a slower moment or if the lighting was a little different, but for the most part I’d say my photos are pretty bright and colorful. I like golden hour. A LOT!
I know who I am as an artist and what I’m drawn to based on my personality and artistic tendencies, so I can harness those aspects of myself to create my style. I also have the ability to not set limits for myself when editing photos – meaning I give myself artistic freedom sometimes to try new things based on what type of feel the photo has. For example, I can choose when to keep colors and when to edit an image more moody.
The other thing you can also look for when you’re trying to figure out your style is what styles do you like of other photographers?
Now, PLEASE HEAR ME OUT when I say this: I DON’T actually want you to copy other photographers. But, it’s telling when you can look at other photographers’ work and see what resonates with you or what types of edits stand out as beautiful.
You can definitely build on that and discover maybe that colors are important to you, or if you decide that you like more of a moodier edit.
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you’re probably a little more moody than I am down in Southern California where we have sun 24/7!
Those are just all things to consider to help you develop who you are as an artist.
Though presets are really great and I obviously believe in them having used them to figure out my own style, if you’re only depending upon ONE person’s presets, in the end, you’ll just be copying someone else.
My main advice here for you guys is DON’T COPY SOMEONE ELSE! That person is already doing their own thing and has their own edit style. So, why are you copying them? Why are you trying to be like them? That’s not going to make you stand out, right? In order to stand out in a saturated market of wedding photographers, BE YOUR OWN ARTIS and don’t just depend on the presets that you have.
If you’re really struggling with trying to find your edit style, what I would recommend doing is something similar to what I did, which is just buy a bunch of presets to see how some of your favorite photographers edit.
There are a lot of presets nowadays, almost every photographer is selling them now (at least who’s been doing this for a couple of years).
Buy some presets, see how other people edit, and take what you like. Start from scratch in learning Lightroom and create your own preset.
From there, that’s how you’re going to find your own edit style. It’s not by copying other people and it’s DEFINITELY not by just depending on one preset.
So, my main moral of the story: you can do it!
You can find your own edit style, and it can be COMPLETELY YOURS. Presets are good, I do believe in them, however, I think you should buy more than just one pack to start.
I was very hesitant to create my own preset and sell it because I didn’t want people to copy me or become dependent on the preset and not learn how to use Lightroom.
That’s why my preset actually is not a one and done sort of preset. When you click it, your photo is not going to be done. And that’s the way I intended it!
I actually really want you to tweak these and make them your own!
I hope that you can find your own edit style, and I encourage you to not just depend on presets and how other people edit.
Find who you are as an artist. And if you’re not sure, then figure out what your values are as a photographer and what is your “why” for taking photos and capturing all of these love stories in the first place.
We have to think about these things because they really all play into who we are as business owners and also as artists who make the photos and produce the art!
To check out my presets, head to the button below! They are actually a REALLY great base for creating your own if you need a starting point!
And don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment below if this helped you out! 🙂