I was looking through a session from 2010 last night and was stunned to see that I often made the mistake I now preach against: inconsistency. I wrote last month about the importance of consistency in your abilities before ever trying to establish yourself as a photographer-for-hire. But consistency in post production is also super important. There are two sides to this for you to consider.

1.} Consistency in your editing style across all of your work

It’s important to find your style and stick as closely to that as possible in your public body of work. Why? Because it promotes client confidence in you and helps to in managing client expectations. It is less likely that you will be hired as a photographer if your potential clients can’t look at your work and know what they’re hiring you to do. By all means, experiment experiment experiment! But keep your portfolio of work easy to ‘read’ so there is no confusion about what you have to offer. I can think of a couple different examples of this:

Your images bounce back and forth between bright & poppy and soft & vintage {or other similar extremes}. This will hurt your ability to be visually clear about what you have to offer.

I realized a while back that even though I’d grasped the importance of maintaining the same editing style throughout the session {see below}, my B&W processing was drastically different from session to session. One day, I felt like editing with a coffee tint, the next with a platinum one. While I still have a few different B&W styles I use, I’m careful to always edit weddings with my go-to B&W preset from One Willow Presets. This way, when my wedding work is displayed together, the different weddings will flow together to tell a story of my work in a way that flows visually.

Now, there are always exceptions. There are photographers who make it clear that they offer both, say, ‘urban pop’ and ‘vintage softness’ sessions and make a clear delineation between the two in their public body of work.

2.} Consistency in the editing style across the images of each session

This is the very thing that spurred me on to write this post. That session from 2010 I was looking through. You can see examples of the different editing styles from that session in this post. All of these B&W were from the same session, however I didn’t maintain consistency and use the same process to edit each B&W. This causes a couple different problems:

Confusion when viewing the session. There is a jarring effect on the viewer who has to keep switching between images that don’t flow together to tell a story.

This also causes an inability to display the images together. The different B&Ws from this session can’t be displayed together in a story board or framed near each other on a wall. They could be displayed as if they were each taken at a different time, but if you wanted the images to tell a story, that will be neigh impossible if they don’t match in style.

So you see, it’s important to edit a session in a way that flows with consistency. And it’s not just B&Ws, either! It’s important that you edit your color shots in the same way throughout the entire session and that your B&Ws flow together with those colored ones well. This is an example of that concept in a recent engagement session of mine. You can see that the B&W images have some of the same qualities as the colored shots {flattened highlights, lower contrast, a bit of a haze}. This way, the color and B&W images in your session can all complement each other and tell the same story for your viewers.

So what about YOU – have you been making this mistake?

{further reading}

You can see a video of how I select my post production process for each session here.

The #1 cause of angry emails and client-photographer frustration {If you don’t already know the Psychology for Photographers blog, you really need to check it out NOW! And read this post about maintaining client expectations because it goes hand-in-hand with the concepts I have laid out here.}

 

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

Consistency in Post Production