Finding my editing style was something I struggled with for YEARS. (Like, I only recently feel I’ve nailed it down.) And that’s okay, it’s completely normal. Your editing style isn’t something you just straight up “know” when you start. You won’t immediately know how you want to edit every single image for every single session when you first start out, (or if you do, you’re some kinda superhuman.)
And the truth is, you shouldn’t. (Or at least I don’t believe so.)
The truth is: your editing style isn’t something that you find, as much as it’s something that finds YOU.
To be honest, all you need to do is focus on creating work, (lots of it) – and the more you create, the more you’ll find out what you’re drawn to.
But in case that isn’t a good enough answer for you (I see you type A’s out there,) – I’m gonna share a few things that helped me speed up the process of finding my style.
First, let’s define what an editing style is. Your editing style is the way in which you edit your work; or the way you want the images to look after post-processing them.
Most photographers want to “find” this style, because it means they’ll no longer have to edit their images over and over a billion different ways, and then worry about the way the images look when put next to each other. (As in, they want their portfolio aesthetic and ig feed to look bomb.)
Before you get started:
I wanna preface these tips with an overarching theme or idea when it comes to editing styles. If you’ve been around the industry for a second or two, you’ve heard of two different terms when it comes to editing; “light and airy” or “dark and moody.” I personally can’t stand these terms, BUT they’re helpful to identify which end of the spectrum you’re leaning towards. Light and airy photographers typically shoot (or edit,) like a version of Portra or Fuji film.
Here are some examples of what I’d call “light and airy” photographers:
Darcy Benincosa: https://benincosaweddings.com/
Julie Paisley: http://juliepaisley.com/
Notice how both of these photographers work is very bright, soft, and luxurious feeling? Super beautiful!
Now, here are some examples of work I’d define as “dark and moody”
Twyla Jones: http://www.twylajones.com/
Lukas Pietek: https://lukaspiatek.com/
Jacob Loafman: http://jacobloafman.com/
Notice how the tones are much darker, bolder, and moodier? These two styles (light/airy vs dark/moody,) can define two opposite ends of the spectrum as far as editing styles go.
As for me? Well, I made my own style and like to hang out in the middle. Rebel, I know. 😎
So why is this important? Well, you may already know which end of the spectrum you’re more drawn to when it comes to editing, and if you do – perfect! If not, these tips will help ya figure out where you’re gonna land!
How To Find Your Photography Editing Style:
1. Invest in presets (bonus points if they come with education on how to use them.)
Presets allow you to apply a set of edits with one click, (therefore totally creating a “style” and consistency in your portfolio, fast.
However, it’s VITAL that you know how to use and tweak them on your images, so if you’re new to using them; try to only invest in presets that include education on exactly how to use the presets. The person who created the presets in the first place will be able to teach you best on how to use them!
(That’s exactly why my best-selling Mina Marlena Preset Masterclass is sold as a masterclass, with 2 guides (that not only cover using the presets, but taking better photos to begin with,) and video tutorials showing you exactly how to edit with them! I ain’t playin’ around about next leveling your portfolio!)
2. Save other photographer’s work that you love to an IG collection, and see what common themes they have.
One of my favorite updates to Instagram is the ability to save images you love and add them to collections.
I have SO many, (yes there’s one dedicated to just restaurants I wanna try; not to mention dream homes and cute animal videos.) But, I highly suggest creating one called “work I love” or “editing style” and save all of your favorite images to that collection. Then, once you’ve saved roughly 20-50, scroll through that collection and see what editing style similarities the images are sharing. Are they on the warm side? Cool? Do they have strong contrast and vibrant colors, or are they lighter and filmier? This will teach you what you’re naturally drawn to visually, which is a super high reflection of what you want to create! 😉
3. Make a 500px account, and do the same thing you did on IG with the collections; save work and see what looks similar.
500px is an awesome website for photographers, and you can do the same thing I mentioned above on here!
4. Vote in the yearly Shoot & Share contest, and favorite the images you love.
After the competition, all of the images you favorited will be available for you to see what similarities they share. It’s yet another way to find a common theme amongst what you’re naturally drawn to, (and helps boost other photographers’ confidence in the meantime!) 😉
5. Utilize Pinterest to find and pin work you love, and scroll through the Pinterest board once you’ve pinned around 20-50 images and see if they look similar at all.
The same concept as what I mentioned earlier on Instagram, just another way to go about it and dig even deeper!
Once you’re done with saving on all the different platforms, open up 4 tabs (one for each platform,) and do one last comparison to find the one overarching style you seem to be the most drawn to. This helped me out SO much when I was trying to find my style! 🙂
And in case you don’t believe me about not having an editing style… check this out! Here’s a comparison of my work in 2016 compared to my work in 2019.
Major changes, huh! 😉
In short, finding your style is more about the journey than the destination – but it’s mostly about allowing your style to find you.
(However, these tips are like taking a plane to the destination, instead of a boat. So def try those! 😉
Are there any specific q’s you have about finding your style that you need help with? I’ll serve ya up with more tips, just leave a comment below!
Want to next-level your photos with the Mina Marlena Preset Masterclass? All of the info is waiting and ready for ya to put to work on your images! 😎📸
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I feel ya girl, I’ve been there too. I know it all too well. Here’s the deal… I do mentorships for this EXACT reason. I come alongside you, one-on-one, and help you get this photography business dream done right. 😎
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Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂