When you first start out in your photography journey, there is a ton of information. I’m talking about information *overload*. While you’re being bombarded with so many different gadgets and gizmos, apps, and programs, there is one thing that feels isn’t talked about enough. That my friends are how to edit consistently. What I mean by that, is being able to have a consistent and cohesive edit across your photos. This topic I could seriously geek out about for ages, and is something that I am actually very passionate about. Not only because it’s a “swept under the rug” type topic, but it can be one of those frustrating things you deal with as a photographer. Basically wanting to rip your hair out. I’m sharing with you some of my tried and true tips for wedding photographers on how to edit consistently.
If you’re tired of hearing all of those crazy, in-depth, and confusing techy terms. Or being told you need to establish presets to edit consistently, then this is for you. I’m going to share with you how I not only develop a consistent editing style in my galleries but in my website & socials as well. So grab a notebook, a drink, and a snack, and let’s get crackin’.
BTW — If you’re having trouble with editing, I do offer mentorships sessions! Specifically to help guide photographers in establishing their editing process. I go more in-depth on tips for wedding photographers and how to edit consistently through those mentorship sessions as well! You can check out more info on that here!
Be Honest With Yourself
First things first, it’s important that you be honest with yourself. As a photographer, we are going to go through ups and downs and struggles. It’s normal and it happens. So acknowledging that is the first step. Second, you have to face the music and accept that dealing with your editing style and consistency will be a problem at some point. We never want to face this annoying problem, but the sooner we accept it, the sooner we are to fix the problem! Whether you’re just starting out, bought a new preset pack, or just want to switch up your editing style. Whichever the case may be, knowing how to deal with this will save you a ton of stress and Tylenol.
Below are just a few techniques and tricks that I have developed over the course of my photography career that has allowed me to develop a more consistent editing style.
Before Taking The Photos
One of the most important things that I have learned in order to edit consistently is that it all starts prior to you even taking the photo. Don’t look at me with those confused eyes! Yes, while editing a post-process action, hear me out. Preparation is key, as I’ve said countless times before. With that being said, being able to prep your client prior to their shoot will guarantee a much higher rate of success editing post-production. If I’m being honest, it all starts in the inquiry process. From the moment that your client inquires, you’re guiding and providing resources for them to have the best possible session. Essentially preparing your client up-front will help you in the long run when it comes to crunch editing time.
What Does Your Client Wear?
Guiding your clients in the right direction on what to wear to their session is one of the first steps in prep work. You, as the photographer, want to first establish what colors work well with your editing style. In my case, it is sometimes easier to determine what doesn’t work well with your editing style. Once you establish this, then you are able to guide your clients on what to and not to wear. This way, you are setting yourself up for success even before the session knowing that your editing will be able to work with what they are wearing!
Saying something like “I would advise against ______ (these colors) and would recommend leaning towards outfit options with ______ (these colors)“.
Narrow Down The Backdrops
Narrowing down your backdrops is also something that can be incredibly important when developing a consistent editing style. If you are shooting somewhere unfamiliar to your normal backdrops (i.e. in a studio when you normally shoot outdoors) when it comes to editing, your photos may look a bit inconsistent. Especially if you’re a beginner photographer, I would highly recommend looking into giving limited options for locations to your clients. This is especially helpful if you’re still trying to learn your editing style and how to edit consistently. Now, I’m not saying that this always has to be the case and you are *doomed* to only shoot in certain locations. However, it’s important to know what backdrops work with your editing and which ones don’t. This is the key to your success when prepping for a consistent editing style even before the session happens.
Shooting At The Same Time Of Day
Lastly, you can up your chances of having a consistent editing style post-production when you decide to shoot at the same time of day for every session. For example, maybe your edits thrive on that golden hour glow. Aim to keep that consistent amongst all of your sessions in order to help better your chances of editing more consistently across the board.
Some photographers will choose to shoot an hour before golden hour to get the perfect mix of golden hour and blue hour. Some photographers shoot two hours before golden hour to get some more daylight as the day leans into that golden glow. Whichever time you choose to shoot at, stay consistent. You want to determine if this specific time of day works for you and your edits before experimenting with other shoot times.
During Your Session | Shoot Consistently
Now that we’ve talked about pre-shoot, let’s briefly touch on it during your session. It’s incredibly important that during your session, you are aiming to shoot consistently throughout the entire time. Throughout the entire time of your shooting, you want to make sure that if you are adjusting your exposure and settings, you are doing this every time. While it is possible for you to edit consistently without adjusting all of your settings all the time, this may end up being more work for you in the long run. Over here we believe in working smarter, not harder!
Tips For Wedding Photographers | Editing Your Photos in Lightroom Classic
Here we are… the good stuff! For me, my handy dandy Lightroom Classic is my tried and true. I recommend following along with Lightroom Classic open on your desktop/laptop or sitting and taking notes. This will make a whole lot more sense, trust me! Here are my steps and processes:
1.) Choose My Anchor Images:
(Inside Lightroom Classics Develop Module)
I go through the session and I’ve already culled through all of the images. From those images, I am going to mark the first image (or strongest image) for each backdrop. Meaning if we were outside of a building, mark the strongest photo from outside the building with a similar backdrop. Then you move inside the building and mark one image that is the strongest photo from inside. What you’re doing is establishing a base/foundation for your edits to work off of.
Keep in mind that when you are choosing anchor images, you also need to mark one image for every different angle you do as well. So despite you’re shooting with the same background, if the angle changes then you need a new anchor image.
Have I lost you yet?
2.) Edit Your Anchor Images To A Tee
(Still inside Lightroom Classics Develop Module)
Next, you’re going to want to edit those anchor images to the best of your ability. Pretty much almost perfect for your current editing style. The best of the best, the créme de la créme! Towards the bottom left of your screen, you will find “R/A” which stands for your Reference Photo Mode. When I tell you that this changed the game, it changed the game! Once you have finished editing your anchor images, drag those anchor images over to “reference”. Once you do this, you’re able to have a side-by-side comparison of your “reference” anchor image, and next to it be editing the other images in the gallery.
In turn, this not only makes the editing process that much easier but it allows you to edit your images more consistently. Hence the reason *why* you’re here!
3.) Pay Attention To Your Editing Ambiance
One of the weirdest things but I swear definitely works when it comes to editing your photos more consistently has to do with your editing ambiance. You’re probably thinking… Cayleigh, editing ambiance? YES! Typically, most photographers will tell you (and other professionals) that editing in a dark room is the way to go. I’m talking about the brightness on your computer being up to 100% and your surrounding area being completely dark. Why you may ask? This will ensure that you are getting the most consistent lighting and your edits will not be influenced by any sunlight.
Basically when we’re saying we are in our “editing cave” we actually mean it – LOL.
4.) Try Editing On The Same Device
Lastly, when it comes to knowing how to edit consistently, one of my biggest tips is to try editing on the same device every time. While of course, we love the flexibility of being able to use our systems and software on multiple devices, that doesn’t mean the calibration will be the same for each and every one. Hence, your edits and lighting could drastically influence your edits.
Side Note: Please make sure that you are calibrating your screen before editing. This can really influence the edits of your photos and we do not need any orange hues from your screen influencing your edits. Thank me later 🙂
Tips For Wedding Photographers | How to Edit Consistently
As a wedding photographer myself, I know how difficult it must be to develop a consistent editing style. Especially in the beginning but have no fear, it gets better! Hopefully, with a few of these tips for wedding photographers on how to edit consistently, you will be conquering any editing fears in no time.
In the meantime, you can actually listen and hear me go more in-depth (is that even possible? lol) on tips for wedding photographers in Episode 30 of my Clearly Podcast Episode called “How to Edit Consistently”.