I had a future Bride reach out to me about my editing style and while responding to her email, it felt like this would be an excellent subject to discuss for a blog. Especially for the Brides out there in the planning process.
So let's get into it.
Mid Summer. This bride chose a delicate light pink for wardrobes and florals. Wedding ceremony was inside so we found this random spot in front of an antique store and I love that it just looked like Spring/Summer and gave a lighter look to her album.
It's easy to look at a photographers feed and determine their editing style immediately, isn't it? But what's often overlooked isn't the editing or filters, but the photo in itself.
I once attended a photography workshop and heard the instructor state "I focus on getting the photo and settings right on my camera, so I don't have to edit it later."
*Ding ding ding*
You see, there was a time I only focused on the editing process. I didn't focus on my camera settings and always assumed I could just go back and fix it later.
Place a filter on it and it'll all be fine right?
New Photographer Tip: Fix it now, then edit later.
But you know what happened?
I ended up struggling through the editing process and spent far more time on each image than I ever want to admit.
And then I shifted my attention on focusing on taking the photo right itself.
Now if you went to school for photography, you already know the basics. But if you're new out there, the best advice any photographer is going to tell you ....
Learn your cameras settings!
ISO. Aperture. Shutter Speed.
The three essentials to taking a photo "right."
Before you even hit "Click," you should be asking yourself questions like...
"Is the image under/overexposed?"
"Is there enough light coming through this image?"
"Should I adjust my ISO so the image comes out clear and bring back color later?"
"Is everyone in the bridal party sharp and clear?"
"Is there enough bokeh to this image?"
All of these elements play an important role in the editing process later.
New Photographer Tip!: Have control over the light, do not let the light control you!
A beautiful bright sunny day! But who wants harsh light all over them? Not me! So I placed this wedding party in front of a big shed to eliminate the sun on us. Plus their style was western so the sheet metal fit!
Simple getting ready shots! Lots of sun shining from the South windows. Could have positioned the girls differently to avoid shadows on face but didn't have as much room to move around so we worked with it! The Bride picked blue for her wedding party and it was so classic!
But after all the fun work is done, next comes editing.
And THIS is where I learned my brain will begin to play the most tricks on me.
Sometimes I have to step away from editing a session and come back to it later.
It's wild on initial viewing how I will see colors so drastically different than when I walk away and come back.
New Photographer tip!: Don't forget to calibrate your phones and laptops together! And when sharing images on socials, sharpen the image first.
I used to place this stigma on of myself as a "moody and warm" photographer. Mostly because that's what I was told. While I certainly don't mind being considered a warmer photographer, I also don't want that to hinder my ability to edit an image correctly.
One day while I was editing an album, I remember I kept trying to make it warmer.
But it didn't feel right.
The Bride specifically chose flowers that were vibrant. She was married in a little white church (which creates an amazing natural and clean look BTW) and it was a bright sunny day. Then I began to think of the season. It was summer. So why was I trying to make it look like Fall? I always want my albums to reflect my work, but sometimes you just have to accept the settings and season that stand out!
New Photographer Tip: Golden Hour is pretty but practice shooting in a variety of seasons, weather and lighting outdoors!
About every season, I scroll through Instagram and "Save" images that I'm drawn towards. Poses that capture my attention. Emotional images that resonate within. Words and phrases that connect.
In the Spring, I tended to save images that were bright and cheery. Sage greens and toned pinks with delicate blue skies. By Summer, I'm less than interested in bright green grass and much more into the hazy blue skies with classic, vintage tones. In the Fall, I was of course super into the warm, earthy and clean. But the bright yellows? No thanks. And in the Winter, I was drawn to cozy but cooler whites. But enjoyed the bold hints of red and deep evergreens.
New Photographer Tip: Stop changing your editing style with every session. And stop copy and pasting everything to each image, hoping it will turn out like the last!
Just as the colors of the sun changes at dawn, so do each of your sessions.
That's when I designed a few "presets" or "filters," that opened up some flexibility to play with. In fact, it's actually very rare that I deviate from my collection and most of the images my clients have been delivered are all pretty similar. Surprisingly enough!
What your noticing is actually the difference in location, wardrobe and.... seasons!
New Client Tip: Take time to plan your wardrobes. Buy that darling dress on sale now if you know you'll want it for your Fall session later. And avoid wearing clothing that makes you uncomfortable! You'll see that discomfort all over your face later!
Okay okay...but why do these images all look so different?
Fall in Colorado. An tint of pink and yellow shined on the individuals just as the sun was minutes from setting. I left the temp up higher, because that's the time of day it was!
Same Couple, photo taken just about 10 minutes before! Look how drastically different the sky was! Same exact "filter" just initial image had to be lightened due to the time of day.
A terribly cold day in December. Slight overcast but colors shined through. The bridal party's florals and ties added a pop of color giving this photo a vibrant look. Let the sky be it's natural soft blue.
Same Day. Just about 10 minutes before sunset when the colors were really popping. In fact we had to rush out there to snag some time for sunset photos! The sky had this beautifully bright hue of pink coming through just minutes before. Notice how the brides' florals and her daughters jean jacket really pops the color for this image. Not to mention her daughters cute purple boot!
Middle of Fall. Just after Wedding Ceremony so approximate time would be about one hour from sunset. A lot of the trees began to lose their leaves in Mid October. Natural yellows coming through from sky but on trees up front of venue too. The wind was awful so we found a place in front of the log cabin for coverage. The log cabin in the background creates such a woodsy feel huh? Bridesmaid dresses were a beautiful teal shade. This bride was into all things classic and vintage, so I let the florals remain as such.
Inside the log cabin earlier in the day! With the combination of the chandelier and their flannels, talk about COZY! Girls were upstairs and guys downstairs so we didn't have a lot of options for locations. Since the Bride was more into classic and vintage styles, I thought this location with a beautiful armoire fit her style the best for getting ready into her dress.
An example of Black and White. You'll typically find black and white duplicates like this in your album. I edit with a film, documentary style as I want the emotions to come through on these moments. I avoid increasing my grain too high on wedding days, as I want the appearance of skin and colors to have some smoothness to it.
An example of documentary. Signing of a Marriage proposal in a dark, lightly lit corner with low ceilings on the top floor of a beautiful hunting cabin. I kept trying to adjust the temp and soon realized, it just felt emotional letting it be as is.
What's documentary photography?
A style of photography that provides a straightforward and accurate representation of people, places.
So what does all this break down to?
HOW YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR WEDDING DAY.
You can browse through photographers editing styles all day, but what it really comes down to isn't just the editing but the the photo in itself. So go ahead and take back control of your wedding photography and aesthetic by picking out florals, bridal party wardrobe colors, locations and most importantly the season that you want your album to reflect.
Otherwise - smile, laugh and cry your happiest tears.