Consistent editing style

tevo

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I was thinking about this earlier:

I see lots of photographers who have a specific style of processing that they apply to all their photos, almost as a trademark look per that photographer. What is TPF's thoughts on this? Is it something I should try to establish with my own work? My gut reaction would be to say no, as most photos are shot under different conditions and would therefore require different processing techniques; it seems to me applying any kind of consistent filter or adjustment to all photos is gimmicky. I would love to hear some insight on this.
 

pixmedic

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Dont limit yourself to shooting in one "style".... Whatever style means anyway. Just be a photographer that takes consistently good photos, and can adapt to whatever the client needs/wants.

For the record, i dont consider shooting outside into the sun for flare, adding vignetting, adjusting the saturation slider to one end or the other, or shooting people in their back yard just doing whatever they normally do and calling it "lifestyle photography" a style.

I dislike lables on people, even self imposed ones. I prefer to shoot formal portraits, and a traditional wedding style (if i were to use the word style at all) but that isnt to say that i would be unable or unwilling to shoot in whatever manner encompasses the clients vision for how they want their photos.
 
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Benco

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I think it's a bad idea try to impose a style on your photos, if in time you find that you are producing photos that have something about them that is distinctive then that's great, that's a natural process of your development. Just don't try to force your photos to look a certain way for the sake of it.
 

Gavjenks

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It's just a business choice. There are of course pros to having one style in that clients know exactly what they will get and you are easier to remember and share, etc. But there are cons in that you may stagnate, and your range of clients is narrower.

If you think you can remain creative under those circumstances, and you think that your "brand name style" is going to attract more clients than it will repel, then do it. Otherwise don't.
 

12sndsgood

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I think most people gravitate towards a certain style over time. it's not something you can jus go. im going to make my style today. people fall into it and then start using that style for what they do, if they are good they get known for it and people come to them because they want that style. kid of putting yourself in niche. right now I still play around a lot with what I do. find new ways to PP diffrent looks, but my automotive shots are starting to fall into an area where I want to see them. they are starting to have a look to them and it's just because that is the look or style that I like and want to do.
 

Gavjenks

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it's not something you can jus go. im going to make my style today.
Ehhhh... I kinda disagree.

I don't think that you can just make one up, no. But anybody who has been shooting for a few years could probably easily go look at their portfolio, pick out their favorite photos, and notice a fairly consistent style. Choosing to make that style more prominent and doing more of it on purpose is then a decision that you can indeed make overnight, without it being unnatural (because you already are trending toward that and know it instinctively. You're just adding conscious effort to instinct)
 

12sndsgood

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it's not something you can jus go. im going to make my style today.
Ehhhh... I kinda disagree.

I don't think that you can just make one up, no. But anybody who has been shooting for a few years could probably easily go look at their portfolio, pick out their favorite photos, and notice a fairly consistent style. Choosing to make that style more prominent and doing more of it on purpose is then a decision that you can indeed make overnight, without it being unnatural (because you already are trending toward that and know it instinctively. You're just adding conscious effort to instinct)



yes and no. my first few years when I got serious about shooting people i was making photos how I thought they needed to be. after a while I realised they were somewhat boring and then I started to play around with photos to do things more how I wanted them to be. portrait wise I still havn't found a style that I feel is me. even with going thru what I have I havnt found that one that truly stands out as the way i want my photos to go. now with automotive I have that look down because i'm more familiar with it and have known for a bit where I want to be with it. Just depends on the person really. I feel your style is something you work towards and create over the years.
 

pixmedic

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I shoot gangnam style!

 
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tevo

tevo

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I see. Personally I have never found the desire to have one specific style of editing define my photographs, but what I have noticed is that I don't have any distinctive look to how my photos are taken.
...shooting outside into the sun for flare, adding vignetting, adjusting the saturation slider to one end or the other...

^ I know people who do this, it semi sparked the question

It's just a business choice. There are of course pros to having one style in that clients know exactly what they will get and you are easier to remember and share, etc.

This is where my question lies - would having a distinctive look to my work be a wise business choice? Not necessarily editing, but just something unique to my work besides the fact that myself as a 'brand' produced it?

I think it's a bad idea try to impose a style on your photos, if in time you find that you are producing photos that have something about them that is distinctive then that's great, that's a natural process of your development. Just don't try to force your photos to look a certain way for the sake of it.

I tend to agree with you, based on my limited knowledge of photographic business in general.
 

pixmedic

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I think what typically happens is...not so much that you find a style you want to emulate, but rather after shooting long enough, you develop a certain consistency to your work. sometimes this has a unique look to it either in composition or in processing, and is grandfathered in as your "style".
there ARE those that simply see a processing style they like and decide to copy it. sometimes this works, sometimes not so much.
trying to copy how others do their work is more difficult because its not a process you have practiced and refined through experience.
you will see a lot of buzzwords relating to shooting styles. "natural light", "Lifestyle", "Photo journalistic", "traditional"...etc etc
I personally feel, for the most part, they are rubbish. A good photographer is able to shoot in many different lighting conditions, and able to create many different looks for their photos depending on what the client wants. They are not shackled by a certain time of day, or how much sunlight is available through a window. Nor are they bound by one particular compositional skillset. A good photographer can innovate, improvise, and create whatever "style" is needed for the job.
"styles" are a marketing tool used to lure unsuspecting and un-knowledgeable consumers in with fancy titles and promises of ingenuity. Instead what they usually get is a photographer with little imagination and a limited skillset.
dont strive for a "style". strive for quality and consistency.
 

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Having a recognizable style has worked well for many artists, including photographers. Think Dave Hill's grungy tone-mapped look, Anne Geddes baby shot setups, Richard Avedon with his white background portraits, Peter Lik's super-saturated landscapes, etc.

Most pro photographers who've "made it" advise to specialize; Either be a sports photographer, or a wedding photographer, or a product photographer, or a landscape photographer, etc. Don't try to be everything for everybody for every photographic need - be a specialist who's an expert at one particular genre. Perhaps having a style is a bit like that. I think it's worthy to experiment with every style, of course, just like every genre, but in the process try to become an expert with at least one genre and style, if you can.

In the end, is it right for you to develop a particular style that defines you in a way that people immediately recognize your work without even seeing the signature? Only you can decide that. But just think how much of a boost it is to the careers and bottom line saleability of someone like Dave Hill when photos that aren't even made by him are said to be "done in the Dave Hill style". It's given him name recognition that goes beyond his own work.
 

Gavjenks

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This is where my question lies - would having a distinctive look to my work be a wise business choice? Not necessarily editing, but just something unique to my work besides the fact that myself as a 'brand' produced it?
Again, depends.

In general, I'd say probably it's not too helpful when you're starting out, because you sort of need to take what work you can get. And conveniently/appropriately, you might not HAVE a style anyway or even be able to choose one when just starting out.

Later / if photography is putting bread on your table, then a niche style almost certainly is a good thing to have, for reasons mentioned thus far of marketing, etc.

But your mileage may vary. Business choices are something you have to sort of have an instinct for or be able to analyze for specific situations. There's no one or easy answer, otherwise there would already be a dozen successful businesses in your area that had already chosen that easy one answer.
 

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There's no one filter that can give your work a complete style of its own. There are tools that can give your work a look, but it's usually not just one, and even if it were one it'd have to be seasoned to taste depending on the image. For me, style is more difficult to develop in software than it is in camera. Some pros have intricate steps in editing and complex actions that bring them to specific looks. I have yet neither the time nor inclination to develop those. I'd rather shoot what I like in camera and then enhance in post. I would consider buying actions or presets, and I have developed some of my own, but I would still flavor them my way, not blanket apply them.
 

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