What is a Photo Editing Style and Why is it So Important?

By Scott Wyden Kivowitz

Last updated on 06/06/2024

A photo editing style is the way you edit your photos to make them look a certain way. It can be anything from super bright and colorful to dark and moody. It’s important to have a consistent photo editing style so that your photos are recognizable and cohesive. Your editing style should reflect your personal taste and your brand.

Your style is an important piece of your business but also shows your personality beyond the camera, as it is how people can connect with you from a first impression. It is something that can truly enhance your photography craft and business in so many amazing ways.

A finely-tuned editing style can make your photos stand out from the rest.

In this article, you will learn about:

  • Photo editing techniques for efficiency and style.
  • How to be consistent in your photo editing.
  • How to find your photo editing style.
  • How to ensure accurate and consistent edits.
  • Examples of photo editing styles from leading photographers who are part of the Imagen Talent team.

Photo Editing Techniques & Methodology

Your photo editing style would be made up of a methodology of parameters you would change regularly. Each parameter would come together to create a standard. These standards can include everything from the overall look and feel of the photo to the specific colors and tones that are used.

My preference for editing is to keep things as natural as possible, and I have a series of events I follow in Lightroom Classic to make it consistent.

While in the develop module, I start from the top and work my way down. I adjust the white balance, exposure, highlights, and shadows, and then the tone curve.

I spend little time in HSL or other color-modifying areas. If you prefer changing colors, then that is the perfect example of how my photo editing style would be unique from yours.

A Consistent Photo Editing Style

Building on that, you can have a consistent editing style by taking the same steps across a batch of photos.

Let’s say you photographed a family on a Saturday at sunset. You import the photos into Lightroom Classic, cull photos to select the best ones, and break them down from 400 to 56; it is time to edit them. Consistency now comes into play. If you are to deliver 56 photos to your client, then each photo should be edited like the other. Color photos should have a cohesive look, and any black-and-white photo editing style should have a coherent look.

Historically you would go through your editing methodology one by one, but there are other ways to make it faster and simpler.

Lightroom Presets can be made to build some of the elements of your editing methodology. However, Lightroom presets leave a lot to desire, when compared to personalized editing, because they do not recognize the photo they’re applied to. These Presets can only statically apply the settings without regard to the photo’s conditions or unique characteristics. There is a high probability of needing to make further adjustments beyond the Preset. Like matching exposure if your strobe’s output changed or white balance if a cloud moved in front of the sun.

Even more important to understand is the need to continue editing with consistency on future family sessions in subsequent weeks, lighting scenarios, and scenes.

Finding Your Own Photo Editing Style

Your photo editing style may take time to come to you. It could take years before you discover your preferred editing style.

I recommend always discovering photographers whose work you enjoy. Look for photos that resonate with you. Pay close attention to their editing styles.

  • Are they light and airy?
  • Are they dark and moody?
  • Are they clean-toned but high contrast?
  • Are they matted and high grain?
  • Are the whites creamy or pure white?

Once you know what sparks that thing in your heart, you can try replicating it yourself and see if it fits you.

what is a photo editing style and why is it important

A Modern Way to Find Your Photo Editing Style

Imagen is the industry-leading AI photo editing solution that can edit your photos nearly as fast as the speed of light.

What makes Imagen so great is how consistently it can edit photos in that speedy turnaround time. This means creating or building on your personal editing style becomes even easier.

With Imagen, you can spend less time at the computer doing the tedious post-production and more time focusing on what you love.

There are two ways to utilize Imagen’s photo editing software.

Personal AI Profile

By uploading 3,000 of your previously edited photos for our software to learn from. Within 24 hours, an AI Profile will be created and can then edit like you. Using this method would assume you already have a consistent editing style.

Talent AI Profile

The other way to get started is by using one of our included Talent AI Profiles from incredible photographers from around the world. People like Kevin Mullins, Fer Juaristi, Charmi Patel Pena, 37 Frames, and many more! These AI Profiles are created with thousands of edits and diverse situations to ensure accuracy and consistency no matter what.

The real beauty of this method is that if you do not already have an editing style, you can get started with one of these, knowing you will have a remarkably consistent portfolio.

You can then make final adjustments to photos edited with a Talent AI Profile and build your own Personal AI Profile.

You might be asking yourself, is that cheating? We don’t think so, and many others agree. But outsourcing your photo editing gives you a competitive advantage. Outsourcing the tedious parts of your photo editing gives you more creative control over the finer details. That way, you can spend fewer hours on the mundane stuff, and more time on the parts of photo editing you enjoy the most.

Consider this. Thousands of Fuji shooters are utilizing their Fufjifilm replications that are done right inside the camera. This helps those photographers get closer to the editing style they prefer.

Hear from Other Photographers like You

For the remainder of this article, we want to share what other photographers have to say about photo editing styles.

Breaking Editing Conventions with Fer Juaristi

Fer has always been breaking conventions in photography and has a visual language that is uniquely his. Each photo he makes is an experiment, turning the everyday into the extraordinary and creating one-of-a-kind photos for his clients.

Imagen flew out to Mexico to go behind-the-scenes on one of his shoots and ask him questions about his distinctive editing style. Not only was Fer an open book about how he approaches editing, but he is also so full of passion for his work that we could listen for hours.

Almost two decades into photographing weddings, Fer has never let trends affect him, he has always wanted to stand out and does this by following his mantra that a photographer can be “as surreal and unreal as they want to be.”

A key characteristic of Fer’s edit is his adjustments to the light and dark areas that will help guide the viewer to what they should look at in the frame. Watch the full video to find out how Fer does this, which painter Fer takes inspiration from, and the reasons why he called his Imagen AI Profile – ‘Tierra.’

Try Tierra

How Charmi Patel-Pena Transports Clients Back to their Big Day through her Editing

Charmi Patel-Pena is a wedding photographer based out of Princeton, New Jersey.

Charmi aims to ensure that her editing style will honor everything she sees at South Asian weddings. These are the weddings she predominantly photographs and they are full of emotion, tradition and color.

Charmi’s Talent AI Profile with Imagen is called ‘Cinematic Luxury’ because she wants her clients to be transported back to the luxurious feeling they had on their wedding day.

The cinematic quality is achieved through rich, striking colors that take on a gemstone quality, and yet skin tones remain smooth and balanced through muted whites and de-saturated yellows.

Watch our video with Charmi to find out more about her editing tones and AI Profile with Imagen.

Try Cinematic Luxury

Editing Advice Susan Stripling Wishes She Had Heard When She was Starting Out

“Make sure you choose your photography style first before choosing your editing style.”

We sat down with Baltimore-based wedding photographer Susan Stripling to find out how her editing style has evolved over time, and it was definitely a process! When digital photography was introduced, she began to follow some of the popular styles of the time, but none of them were working for her.

As a previous theater student, she was drawn to dramatic lighting, shadows, and storytelling. Susan realized it was the shoot itself where the magic took place, and her edits should be truthful to what she was creating.

Unsurprisingly Susan’s Talent AI Profile with Imagen is called ‘Clean & Crisp’ because whatever your shooting style happens to be, it will be reflected in the final frame with just an additional crisp pop.

Watch more to find out which adjustments in Lightroom she rarely touches and why.

Try Clean & Crisp

John Branch IV Explains How He Achieves Such a Distinctive Photo Editing Style

John Branch IV is a wedding photographer and YouTube content creator. It took John about 5 years to hone in on his editing style and it was the focus on the colors and highlights which is what got him to that point.

De-saturated greens and pastel blues pair harmoniously with richer reds. The cool overtones also help to mute the yellows. These colors, along with pulled down highlights, work to create an almost blanket flat look and yet he still manages bright whites.

Watch our video to find out how John achieves this and why his profile with Imagen is called ‘Natural Feels.’

Try Natural Feels

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