One of the most common questions I get from fellow photographers is ” how do you get that consistent colour/tone/style/look in your photographs?” So I thought I would share with you my editing process and some tips I have to develop a consistent look throughout your work.
Have an overarching vision for your photographic style.
Photographers are artists and artists usually have a vision. Something they want to express. Developing an overarching vision for your photographic style is incredibly important to achieving a consistent look throughout all your work. Your photography style becomes what you are “known for.” For me, my overall vision as a photographer is to create imagery that reflects the essence of beauty, simplicity and design. This mission and vision of mine is my guiding principle when navigating any new project. What is your vision? What do you want to achieve as a photographer?
Align your composition and editing to match your vision.
Once you know what your vision is as a photographer and artist, you now have a blueprint of how you want your images to look and feel. Align your composition and editing style with your vision. For me, I shoot with a (mostly) minimalistic composition style. I like my images to be neat, clean and have a lot of white space (I think this comes with having a background in graphic design). I also like my images to have a neutral/subtle colour palette. I make these intentional decisions because they align with my overall vision as an artist. Overtime and with consistent application, these “intentional decisions” will shape the way your images are composed and edited. Before you know it, you have developed a photography style that is wholly your own.
Edit with Presets
Once you have developed the “perfect settings” to achieve the look and feel of your photography style, save this as a Preset. I am a HUGE fan of presets (mostly creating them) and have created my own set to streamline my post production process. It will save you a TON of time. Like.. a TON! But of course, you need to invest some time upfront to save time in the long run. Over the years I have edited a lot of images and that experience has helped me refine my signature style into three colour palettes: Dusk, Wheat and Town. I took the time to carefully develop each one of my Presets to work with various lighting scenarios and tested them until I could get the perfect edit with “one-click.” It was a bit tedious, but well worth it. Now my editing process takes me no more than 1-2hrs depending on how many images there are in a collection.
Tips for Using and/or Creating Presets
Using presets can sometimes be finicky and it really does take a lot of time to develop the perfect “one-click” setting. Have you ever downloaded Presets, looked at the samples and thought “those images are awesome!” only to apply them to your own photos and have them turn out over exposed, underexposed or too saturated or too dull? I have and it left me frustrated. But through my experience I learned a couple important things: Create a set that is similar or as close to the sample images as possible, Shoot around the same time of day as the sample photo, and finally shoot with the same camera setting. As part of my overall vision and photographic style, I prefer to shoot very early in the morning or at sunset, usually at the first sight of sunlight and an hour before the sun goes down. This is because the presets I have created for myself works best with the lighting at these specific times. Whenever possible I schedule my photoshoots in the early morning and later in the evening. It just makes my process easier. So pick a certain time of the day when the lighting best works for you. This leads to my next tip: using the same camera setting. If you are working with conditions that you always work with, it makes it easier to figure out what camera settings to use.
I hope I have been able to provide you with some valuable insight on how to achieve a consistent photographic style. Of course, my process is just one of many, so if you have and helpful tips, please share them in the comments below. I would love to hear about your process!
If you would like to check out my Premium Lightroom Preset Collection, visit www.paulasolanoy.com/shop.