Having a unique photo editing style can help photographers differentiate themselves from other photographers. This also tells much about the photographer and his vision as an artist.
With the emergence of powerful editing tools, presets, or filters available in the market, beginner photographers can now experiment and learn various photo editing techniques that can help them decide on their signature editing style.
Keeping a consistent editing style makes it easier for clients to visualize what to expect from their photographer on a wedding day or a special maternity shoot.
For photographers, we have listed out these 9 popular photo editing styles that they can take inspiration from. Trying and experimenting with editing photos into these styles can be the first step to discovering a signature editing style.
Photo editing styles for photographers
- Dark and Moody
- Matte effect
- Clean editing
- Damaged Film look
- Cross processed
HDR is the abbreviation for High Dynamic Range. This simply means that the highlights and shadows in your photos will have a long-range between them. This editing style is mainly used by landscape or nature photographers that don’t want to miss out on any details present in the photos.
Photo by Joran Quinten
The shadows are brightened and highlights are darkened. This brings out more details from shadows but it also increases the noise around dark areas that can be easily fixed in Lightroom in the ‘details’ panel in the develop module.
Photos edited using an HDR preset can bring out some excellent results on some landscape photos where it is sunny and bright but also some dark elements present such as shades under forest trees.
Be careful not to have the dynamic range too high or it will give out a halo effect around the edges of the elements of the photo.
Vintage or retro editing style makes the photo look like it was taken around the 1970s or 80s using a 35 mm SLR camera. (Single-lens reflex)
Such cameras are no longer in the market but thankfully photo editing software makes it easier for photographers to still get the same effect in their photos shot using their modern cameras.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels
This style gives a sense of nostalgia to the viewer and it can be easily achieved using a vintage filter or a preset online.
This works best for photos taken outside or in portraits taken in an environment that don’t give out the year of capturing it.
In such vintage photos, the colors are a bit muted and a lot of grain is involved.
Dark and Moody
Recently a lot of photographers have been coming up with this unique editing style It involves giving photos a dark and moody style of editing. This is mostly used for still-life photography or for certain artistic portraitures.
Photo by мария кашина on Pexels
Whites and highlights are decreased to the point that they seem flatter in the photos than the shadows which are highly prioritized in this editing style.
Editing photos in a cinematic manner is one of the hottest editing techniques right now. In this technique, photographers use the same colors, contrast, lighting, and mood of a particular movie in their photos.
Photo by Cottonbro
Photographers can take inspiration from a shot from their favorite movies and edit their photos accordingly. Obviously, the subject of the image needs to match the movie shot.
This editing process involves a lot of variations in the colors, temperature, and HSL as different movies are edited differently. Hence, one needs a lot of practice to edit the photos perfectly that match the movie shot.
The matte effect editing style makes the photo achieve a timeless look- especially for portrait photography. However, it can also be applied to lifestyle or food photography.
Photo by Ron Lach
Using a matte effect helps in softening the contrast of shadow and light of an image which in return reduces the sharpness and brings out the textures of a photo that the photographer can use to suit the moment.
Clean editing simply means editing the photo to a point where it hardly looks edited.
This natural editing style is done with little to no adjustments. Mostly such adjustments include changes in clarity, sharpness, temperature, and color correction.
This technique can be used by any photographer that wants to achieve the most natural look in their photos and not have any dramatic or fancy changes in their photos.
Creating beautiful and timeless black and white photos is an art form. A lot of photographers stick to a black-and-white editing style which doesn’t give them a lot of colors but a lot of greyscales to play with.
Photo by Emma li
As a starting point, photographers can shoot in color and later apply a black-and-white filter or a preset while editing in Lightroom.
After that, photographers can play around with HSL values to alter different colors and shades to achieve striking contrast in their grayscales.
Damaged Film Look
Photographers that liked the vintage photo editing style can try and experiment with the damaged film look technique as well.
This involves making the photo like it has been damaged in the same manner as the photos from the 1970s used to get damaged, because of some film issue in the camera or heat damage.
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexel
To achieve this editing style, add texture to your photo and blend the photo and texture to the point it looks crisped and damaged, but not too much that it affects the subject in the photo.
Cross-processed editing style is perfect for photographers that love experimenting with colors and would not mind having weird and funky-looking colors in their photos. This can create beautiful results when done right by almost any type of photo- be it a portrait, landscape, or street photo.
Photo by Wilddogdingo on Pexels
Cross-processing was originally used by photographers to develop photographic films using chemicals intended for a certain film type. This used to give them weird results in the color. For example, turning the blue sky into pink.
Such results can be easily achieved in lightroom, photoshop, or any other photo editing software by deliberately changing the colors of a photo. Photographers can use a preset or a filter or use a split tone section of the Develop module of Lightroom.
Photographers can pick their favorite editing style out of this list to try and experiment with their photos in Lightroom. Sticking to a style can become boring soon and one can always try and jump to a new one present in the list.
Maybe the new editing style photographer is a combination of more than one editing style present in the list. Nobody really knows unless they try it. The whole idea is to experiment and learn to discover one’s signature editing style.
If you are interested in a black-and-white portrait photography editing style, check out our blog on creating timeless black and white portraits.