Up level your Images: Shoot For Your Style

Hey guys! Back with up level your images: shoot for your style. This is part 4 of the editing series! Last week we chatted about finding your style, this is a necessary step before shooting for your style! So def head back there before diving into this step! If you’ve hung around from step one you already know this series is all about editing. I’m taking it step by step to help you create a consistent look in your images. Defining your style and recreating it from beginning to end as consistently as possible. So let’s get to today’s meat!

a consistent style begins in camera

Have you ever shot an image and it looks beautiful but then you slap on your preset, or edit as usual and you’re like what the heck?! This looks yuck, and then proceed to vastly change the editing to suit the photo? Well here’s the thing friends: to up level your images, shoot for your style. A consistent style doesn’t just begin with your editing style, it begins at the shoot. How you actually create the image. This may seem simple, but when you’re working with natural light you can’t manipulate things the same as you would as working in a studio. So how about I break down what we need to do?

First, you have to make ‘rules’ for what you want your photos to ultimately look like (going back to defining your style!). And then adhering to those rules as closely as possible, starting in camera. What I have found is that lighting, exposure, your backdrop and lenses are the special ingredients to this recipe. With that said there’s no way to exactly replicate every scene, or always control your environment to play to your style. So I think the key is allowing each session/wedding to maintain a bit of its own uniqueness, but still striving to keeping your general ‘style’.  Here are some things that I have dissected that really make an impact on your final look.

recipe for consistency

  • Lighting. Let me give you an example, if you’re indoors, shooting bride prep and sometimes you backlight the bride and other times you decide to side light with a small amount of light to make it low key and super dramatic. Those images will be vastly different, and probably look like it could be by two different photographers. And during the editing process, try applying the same preset to those images and they are not going to look consistent either. Aim to replicate the way you light in similar ways at each wedding or session. Again, nothing will be completely duplicatable, the point is to maintain some type of consistency as your own signature style.
  • Exposure. Regardless of working with a RAW image, how you expose in camera will absolutely have a bearing on the final image. The closer you can be to nailing your preferred exposure, the more consistent your images will look. If you are way underexposing and trying to be light and airy/slightly overexposed that image will def look different than exposing slightly lighter or dead on and bringing up the exposure in post. No post work can ever replace in camera work.
  • Backdrop. During a wedding day we are thrown into all kinds of situations, and we don’t always have control over where we can shoot or what our background is- and I totally understand that. However, the more you can consistently choose a backdrop to fit your style, the better. For me, being light and airy, I try to find lighter color backdrops in general to shoot in front of. Obviously this can’t always be the case. In those situations I make do, but I always keep my style in mind while shooting.
  • Lenses. Lens choice is something that can greatly affect the look of your overall images. If you’re showcasing work where the wedding party is photographed at 85mm and then all of a sudden switching to using a 35mm, those images are going to look extremely different, the colors will even look somehwhat different. Once you find your ‘go to’ system of what lenses to use when during the day, try to stick with it, at least for the ‘main’ or ‘must have’ images, and then play!

consistency builds client trust

The reason all of this is so important is because your bride needs to be able to trust you. She needs to be able to imagine herself in your images, and if they’re constantly changing she’s not going to know exactly what to expect. So really make a conscious effort to maintain your style in what you show on your blog and social media. If you don’t, you may cause apprehension in her decision to go with you, even if its subconscious. She may not be able to put her finger on it, something may deep down may be disconnecting. Remember, your images are the only thing she will walk away with at the end of the day, you need to build her trust.

With all of that said, I feel it necessary to say this: I totally get that it’s fun to play! I love to try new lenses, styles and lighting, because doing the same thing over and over can sometimes feel monotonous. Consistency, as we have discussed is imperative. However! I do think as long as you get what you need and what you’ve set the standard for her to expect, throwing in a different type of image here and there can keep it fresh for you and give them something exciting. These images in small amounts can be ok. Just keep it to a minimum so you don’t confuse your bride!

There ya have it, part four! Up level your images: shoot for your style! Next week, we’ll finally start with some basic Lightroom edits, woo hoo!

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  1. Jade says:

    Ooo this is very helpful!! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Theresa D'Alonzo says:

    I really never thought about how a client needs to visualize themselves in your photos. That makes perfect sense.

  3. Deanna says:

    Great post! Finding your style is so important!!

  4. So many great tips!! A consistent style really does start in-camera! 🙂

  5. Ashley says:

    Super great info on here! Love this!

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