As the industry has grown and evolved, the amount of different photography editing styles has vastly expanded. One of the things that truly sets a photographer apart from their peers is the way they choose to edit an image. I would wager to say that personal editing style is one of the top 5 most important factors for clients to consider when choosing a photographer! Styles range from light & airy, to dark & moody, and everything in between.
Below are some of the most popular editing styles and their descriptions. Along with that, a detailed explanation of my own personal editing style! We’ve taken the same photo and will be applying each different edit to it. This is a way to showcase how big of a difference a final edit on a photo can make!
Light & Airy:
This editing style has been around for a few years. It has grown a massive cult following within the photographer community! The concept for this look is basically to mimic the style and feeling of film photography, even though you’re actually shooting with digital equipment. (Although, due to the popular demand of this style, a lot of photographers have begun to go back to shooting film!)
You’ll notice with this style that the greens and reds are typically muted. The photos have an overall pastel color palate. It’s an absolutely beautiful editing style! This style has become a front runner for wedding photography because it has a very romantic vibe to it. Below is a great example of what this edit looks like:
This edit was done by the lovely Kim Thao Pham Photography
Dark & Moody:
The dark and moody editing style has been steadily on the rise, and it’s easy to see why! This look comes with lots of contrast and shadows. It really pulls you in to focus on the main subject matter of the photo. This editing style has a dark, rich vibe that helps to bring out the emotion that is present within the photo. It’s a hard look to pull off, but when done right it’s breathtaking!
With this style of edit, you’ll notice that there is rarely any true white color, the white elements have a tinted hue to them. The shadows are played up, creating a very dramatic contrast between light and dark. Below you can see a perfect example of how to edit with this style:
This edit was done by the lovely Alexandria Salmieri Photography
Clean & Vibrant (my own personal editing style):
Now we come to what I consider to be my own personal editing style, clean and vibrant! This style focuses on the natural look and feel of a photo, with just a little bit of oomph. Photographers who edit with this style want their final image as similar as possible to what the scene looked like in person, with a bit of extra vibrancy for artistic purposes.
You’ll notice that in this edit, that these colors are pretty close to what you would expect to see while shooting in the “golden hour” before sunset, in early fall. The greens are still green, but you can see elements of yellow and brown peeking through also. To add that bit of “oomph” to this photo, I added a very slight vignette, to make the couple stand out a little brighter than the foreground.
This edit was done by myself, Samantha Jean Photography
What matters most is what YOU like:
As you can see below, there is an unlimited number of ways that a photo can be edited. Warm, Cool, Vintage, Artistic, Dark, Light, Bright, Clean, you name it! The three examples listed above are just (in my humble opinion) the most prevalent in today’s current market. Every single photographer has their own personal editing style that helps to reflect who they are as an artist.
When making the decision on what photographer to hire, take a good look at their portfolio. Spend time examining the way that they finalize a photo. If you LOVE the way a photographer composes a photo, but are unhappy with their editing style, it may be worth continuing your search. The perfect photographer is out there for EVERYONE if you take the time to look!
Thank you to the lovely members of Build + Bloom & the HOF Tribe who helped to edit this photo in as many different ways as possible!