You have so many photographers who will take a beautiful picture, and then drain it of all color. Or they'll make their images cooler, warmer, darker, airy-er. And often, photographers will change their style every year, or every few years, to where you aren't sure what you're going to get when you hire them.
But one thing I can say about my work is that I've always tried to stay close to the original. (Except when I first started and had the online editor Picnik, where you used all the wacky filters possible... yeah, don't ask.) So much of what I want to do for myself, and my clients, is to capture moments that are timeless.
How do I stay timeless with my shooting and editing?
When I shoot, I try to make sure that I nail all of my settings in-camera. The main exception is in low light situations, where I'm obviously going to have to shoot a little darker, and bring up the exposure later. And when I'm preparing for a session, I'll always make sure I'm prepared. That means bringing all the lenses I know I'll need, bringing extra light sources (such as flash), and reflectors.
When I edit, I'll do what I can to only enhance the moments that I've captured. I'll make sure I've color corrected and if needed, correct the exposure first. Then I'll make adjustments to bring more "pop" to the image, but adjusting the tones of the colors. I might make the moments captured slightly darker, but nothing too extreme, unless I'm just playing around with my skills.
I LOVE green. I LOVE true whites and blacks. And I LOVE true skin tones.
How does lighting and color affect my final edit?
Well, it depends on the situation. I pride myself on challenging myself to shoot in different situations as often as possible. I shoot in harsh lighting, low lighting, warm lighting, cool, warm...
So if it's a dark room, with only window light, I might not bring the flash out, and just use the window light to highlight the details. Or if it's a bright, sunny day, I'll just use a reflector to make sure there aren't any racoon eyes to be found. If the lighting is slightly on the cool side (like it usually is during blue hour and winter), then the final edit will reflect that. If it's a warmer situation (inside a room with tungsten lighting, or during the summer), then the final product will be warm.
What if it's super contrasty, with all sorts of shadows? Then I'll work with it, instead of fighting against it. I might darken an area to bring more focus to the subject. But I won't pretend like there wasn't any contrast or shadows.
Will I ever shoot film?
Funny you ask that, because I want to. In fact, I am dyyyyying to start shooting more film. I chose the school I went to based on their photography program teaching film technique. I also get really proud when I have people tell me they think some of my work looks like film. My end goal for 2020, start of 2021, is to start incorporating more film into my work flow. Shooting film might change my editing process a little, but because I already like to shoot close to true life as possible, it won't be much of a change (I hope).
The final product
Sometimes, I like to get creative with my shooting and editing. I will experiment with ring shots, reflections/prisms, and double exposures. But I won't ever try to drastically change the colors, shadows, and highlights of a moment. I'll share more about these cool techniques later.
The end result you ask? A true to life, vibrant, and slightly darker moment. You won't find any oompa loompas in my portfolio. You won't find overly-desaturated greens. And you most certainly won't find images that look nothing like what I first took.