The best thing about photography is the endless possibilities you have during the post-production process. You now have a digital photo and with help of software like Photoshop and Lightroom, there is so much to be done. However, after a while you find yourself doing a similar or the same edit to each picture as your signature style or maybe just for the picture to fit into your Instagram aesthetic. Nonetheless, you eventually get tired of doing the same old thing and if you’re anything like me, you eventually also get annoyed by it. This then leads you to the challenge of how you can now change up your editing style. In this article, I will be sharing a few secrets of my own that should be of some help in finding that new style you’re looking for. Once you’ve already established your signature editing style and know how to achieve it, then changing it up becomes that much easier. Photography itself is an art and like famous painters around the world, they all have different techniques and styles that make them unique in their own sense. The challenge is to now explore other techniques that you can add your own twist to make it your own.
The first thing you should do before changing your editing style is to see what else you like. There might be a bunch of other images out there that appeal to your eye and you seek to mimic them. Keep in mind to not always do it exactly the same but to make the style your own. You can easily explore options on Pinterest or even Instagram in your spare time. There are pages and profiles that actually share editing recipes so that other may achieve the same style or better in their images. Some of them also share simple editing instructions that could be used in the VSCO cam app by toying with different presets.
Of course, when I say find the photographer I don’t mind to find their address and show up that their door asking questions. If the photographer is on Instagram or any other social media platform then you should make it your duty to at least follow them so you can keep up to date with their work and see how their editing style works in different situations. I often find myself trying to mimic and tweak an editing style I see being used by another photographer but it doesn’t always work out for me as well as it does for them. This puzzled me for a bit until I started to observe the little things they changed in each photo to make their editing style fit just perfect. This step often teaches you that you’re never too great to learn from someone else less experienced than yourself. This also motivates you to try and find certain looks for shots in your personal portfolio. Learning new things is always exciting and will only make you so much better as you gain more experience so if you need to, don’t be too scared to ask the photographer a question.
Sometimes the issue isn’t only in post-production but how you also take your shot. For example, you may find yourself shooting subjects that lack shadow or some contrast in your initial shot. Of course, you can add shadows and contrast in camera raw if you wish but getting it right in camera makes it so much better. You don’t always want to give yourself too much post-production work to do, so try as best as possible to get it right in camera first. This may be one of the easiest steps because there is only so much and no more you can do to change certain aspects of your camera settings to alter the lighting or focus in your shot. Play around with your shutter, ISO and aperture levels a bit and see what the results are, it can’t hurt.
This is a step that is often overlooked be even me sometimes. Composing your shot can make or break your image in so many ways that you never thought about. If you’re not sure as to what composition is then here is a simple run down. A composition is basically the placement of a particular subject or subjects in your shot. They can be arranged in a particular manner that can come of very pleasing to the eye if done correctly. As photographers, we often throw this out the window and focus more on just getting the shot and then we see where went wrong in post-production. Changing up your composition gives you the capability to do more than you think you could when exploring editing styles. Revisit step two and observe the different compositions of the photographer you’re following and you are bound to find something mind-blowing.
In post-production, playing around with the colors in the background or even the foreground can bring a new feeling to your shot. If you have a shot with predominantly green elements within it, then you should try and mess with the hue, saturation, and luminance in the green channel and see if you like what you get. Manipulating and playing with the colors in your image can do so much more than you think.