How To Find Your Editing Style
Find different types of styles
While there are hundreds of photography styles out there, start by narrowing it down to your genre of photography to find your editing style. For instance with wedding photography, most styles can be lumped into four categories; Dark & Moody, Light & Airy, Bright & Colorful, and Warm & Earthy. For Dark & Moody images you will see strong contrast with muted colors. Light & Airy images will typically be true-to-color with the exposure bumped up a bit. Bright & Colorful Images, similar to Light & Airy, will typically be true-to-color but tend to have more pops of color and are very timeless. And For Warm & Earthy images they are filled with warm colors (reds, oranges and yellows) with desaturated greens.
View a few examples of these style here:
For me, my style tends to lean towards Bright and colorful with a little bit of warmth. I like how the images are very timeless and skin tones tend to be very creamy. Take a look at my Instagram to get an idea of the editing style I try to stick to.
Take inspiration from other photographers
Who are other photographers that you look up to? Sift through people you follow to see if their is a consistent style you are drawn to. Create a pinterest board, or save some Instagram posts in a folder that have the styles you like. Once you have gathered what you are drawn to take a step back and see what the overlying themes are. Are they dark and moody, bright and colorful, are the tones muted?
Draw inspiration from other people in the same field of photography. If you Like landscapes, search for photographers in that genre.
If you are trying to get into a different genre of photography gather images from the genre you want to be in. So if you are primarily taking family portraits, but you want to get into weddings, gather images from the wedding photographers you look up to.
Consider your ideal client to find your editing style
When you are thinking about your ideal client, try and imagine if this is the type of style they would want. What draws them into a style, do they typically want something more trendy or something that will be classic years down the road. Your client is coming to you for your style, so remember to keep it consistent.
Keep consistent but make tweaks
Once you have gathered your images and defined the style you want try it out on some of your images. I suggest trying a few different styles on the same image if you can not decide. Once you have a few versions of your images, walk away. Give it a day or two before you go back, you want to make sure that you are set in a style that will continue throughout your images in the future. And if you still can not choose between two or 3, return back to what your ideal client would want, and how you want new clients to see your images.
If you are just starting out it is a great idea to look into Lightroom presets that you can purchase online and try out for yourself. And as you go you can make tweaks to the preset itself to fit your style more
It is okay to make tweaks as you go with your edits. If you are editing in Adobe lightroom save a few presets that you can make slight changes to as you go. Remember that this is a journey and your style will evolve with you. It is all a part of your journey!