Post processing and 'My Style'

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Big Mike, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm still what I would call an amateur photographer. I've been paid to shoot weddings and portraits etc. but I wouldn't consider myself a seasoned pro yet. I am starting a company and plan to do the part-time/weekend thing. Here is my conundrum...

    I'm trying to figure out how to define my 'style' for lack of a better term. Or rather, how much of that style to give them. I know that my photos will naturally show my shooting style...but I'm thinking about my post processing and the final style of the images. I really like the look of contrasty black & white images...or a nice sepia tint. Other times I like to selectively add some diffuse glow, some look good with boosted saturation, others with less saturation. I usually like a slight vignette as well. Often, I feel the shots don't need anything at all.

    But deciding which shots get which treatment...is totally subjective. I know to use my personal judgement but should the client be more involved in this?

    For example, let's say I've got 200 wedding shots. I could spend up to 100 hours and very carefully apply some 'style' to each shot. Or I could pick the best 10 and just do the minor adjustments to the rest. I know I could 'action' certain things...but we all know that you can do more if you give each image specific attention.

    What I have been doing, is picking my favorite shots and applying my 'style'...to give the client a taste of what is possible. If they like something (selective colour) for example, then they can request that on specific images. I haven't decided how exactly to charge for 'extra' processing like that.

    Maybe the solution is to just be consistent, I'll do what I think needs to be done and that will be 'my style'. Clients will hire me because that's what they want. I think that may work when/if I'm an established pro...but I think I'd rather been known for being versatile and giving the client what they want.

    Does anyone know what I'm asking? (I'm not sure I do :roll: ) Any thoughts on the subject?
     
  2. ladyphotog

    ladyphotog TPF Noob!

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    Your style will come out in your shooting. As far as anything else that you add to the images, for instance a wedding, I would as you say be consistent. In the B&G's album I don't think I would add very much 'style' except to the first image in the album and be consistent with the rest, for instance, dodging, burning, vignetting, fixing minor problems. With the other things, say large prints or canvas etc. then I would add all the style you think it needs. I wouldn't get the client too involved because that will just cause headaches, just show them the images with and without style added and let them decide what they like best. I normally include that in my charge for the print and not just the service because after all that is your style. It is the same as when all of this was done in the darkroom, certain things are expected and other things are style. And I have found that if you are dealing with clients that really don't know photography, ie. a bride and groom or a business portrait they really don't know what they want, you have to guide them. Now with art directors that is a completely different story. I hope this has made some sense and maybe helped a little.
     
  3. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    I get what your saying. The more I look at other more established photogs I see their style. One has alot of high key blown out shots, but for her it works. Another I like has really high saturation in the colors. When I was shooting a wedding with another photographer a couple of weeks ago, I realized how different his style was to my style. I'm flopping on the ground, changing angles, capturing candids, where he was shooting straight on and getting all posed shots. He saw some of my pp and started asking how I did that. I knew then that maybe I was creating my own style. I have a long ways to go, but it gave me some confidence. Funny, I got an email from him that I had a few good shots (I did this one for free) but in the next line he said that he is going to have to pay me next time. So I guess I didn't do to bad in his eyes.
     
  4. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    well if someone hires you based on your portfolio you probably dont want to differ much from that, because obviously they liked the style that they saw.
     
  5. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

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    Im in a similar boat... although i just shot my 1st wedding which was for my husbands cousin... it went really well. With the pp i just adjusted the curves slightly, some needed nothing and with a few i applied a diffused glow with some grain which i felt worked really well on the chosen images. Just picked them up from the printers and decided that i would print both original plus 'my-style' considering it was only about 10 shots that i worked on.... Once i saw them printed it made me feel far more confident with my emerging style...But at the same time, the bride & groom are quite 'simple' (wrong word?) so Im thinking they may prefer the standard print. Either way, im happy. I suppose soon i will begin to build a 'wedding portfolio' in which i will display my style along with more 'standard' shots. My portrait portfolio is pretty 'standard' and i am already thinking of adding some fancier,pp images to show my style. Not everyone will like it and i really think there will be a lot who want the stocko prints, but then others might love my style... Its all a lot of fun!
    As far as getting the b & gs opinions on particular pp for particular shots
    I agree it would be a headache... Go with your heart and give each shot what you want to give it.... Im sure they'll love it x
     
  6. I give a lot of parties, and I hate it when a photographer nickel-and-dimes me to death on an extra print here or there. Within that context, here's my thought:

    When you first show your portfolio, have a few shots processed in various particular styles that you like, and explain to the client the different looks you can create in post-processing. Explain that it is highly labor-intensive, and subsequently requires an additional fee. It is beyond the basic contractual deliverable such as a set of proofs or a site with jpegs.

    After the event, take a few of your favorites, and process them as you like. Give them to the client as proofs or prints, and invite him or her to order more along those lines. Think of it as a value-added service.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the input.

    Someone gave this advice which I think should work; Pick one shot and apply a couple different styles to it (B&W, Sepia, selective color etc.) just to show the client what is possible. If they want to order reprints with a certain style...then they can.

    Yes, that is a good idea.
     
  8. Cool. By the way, the point I was making about nickel-and-diming was that after the event you show up with a few cool prints (not just a small proof) done as you like, and give them to the client - which in turn will hopefully lead to more orders :)
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That's part of the problem...how much 'style' to include...and how much to charge extra for. I guess it depends on how you are charging them in the first place.

    A wedding, for example...let's say I give them 200 4x6 proofs (touched up) and also three or 4 'styled' prints...just to show what is possible. Then if/when they want to order further enlargements/prints...they can ask for a certain style. A certain amount of prints would either be included in the initial price OR they can order prints for a set price.

    I would consider even the the 'regular' shots to have my certain style as well...so there would be no extra charge for 'sepia' or 'selective color'...even though those may take longer to produce.

    BUT...what if the package I sell the client involves giving them the digital files. I'm certainly not going to apply different styles to every image...just to give them the option when they want to print themselves. I guess I'll just have to give them some example files and if they want that style applied to other images...they will have to come back to me...and I will have to charge them for the time/expertise.

    Another thing I have run into...different crops. When I make a print, I crop it first and then apply 'my style'. With things like a vignette...you can't just do that to an image file and then have it be OK for different aspect ratios. There would have to be different editing for a 5x7 and again for an 8x10. I would give the client a sample print and tell them that if they want to make larger prints from the 4x6 (ratio) image files...to come back to me...and I will crop and edit the images appropriately. So far, I think that they have just printed on their own...without the additional editing that is specific to the print size ratio.

    :scratch:
     
  10. rp1600

    rp1600 TPF Noob!

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    I agree with the above. What i'm building is a portfolio that shows a typical wedding shoot with my "style" from behind the camera, i.e. photojournalistic, etc. But I'm also building into the portfolio a section that shows various post-processing examples. WHen I show these to potential clients, it's simply a matter of saying "here are some other techniques we can use on your photos" once we've got everything back. It not only shows the depth of possibilities but also excites them a little insomuch as them thnking "wow, we could have us in a photo like that." Basically i plan to use the "post processing" samples as a sales tool.
    Then once everything is shot and back and proofed and ready to be presented to the client, i plan to had select a few -- 2 or 3 -- images that I choose that show "my style". I will then work with them and show them which images that "style" will work with, hoping it prompts them to make additional purchases.

    With that said, obviously, it's going to cost them more because of the extra work involved but there is value added to it for them.

    Hoping this makes sense or helps some.
     
  11. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    If you can shoot what your customer wants to see, you're a pro.
    If you can shoot what you want to see – your 'style', you're an artist.
    One earns big bucks, the other big integrity.
    You choose.
    Or mix.

    Andy Warhol, Rembrandt and Michelangelo did.
    Then again, so did Lolo Ferrari . . .

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Luke

    Luke TPF Noob!

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    I haven't read the other replies but:
    If you style only starts in post processing i'd be thinking about what you're actually doing when making the images. Bottom line is, you're the photographer, if you are given an artisticc direction, follow it, otherwise do what you think looks best. And bear in mind, post processing is probably not a lot of your style compared to the actual frame making.
     

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