I can sometimes sense that the photographer is hoping for a quick solution. They’re staring at me with a look of desperation, almost asking me to make that decision for them.
The truth is – I can’t tell someone what they’re editing style SHOULD be. And that’s because the solution is not a fast fix, but rather a process comprised of soul-searching and unraveling your creative goals, understanding your ideal client, and strategically aligning your work with forward-thinking.
So, how do you begin to make this decision on your own? Below is a list of steps to help you through the editing style weeds and pick you up from this place of complete confusion. By understanding yourself, your ideal client and your goals, you can choose a style to honestly represent your art, while also launching your business in the direction of your dreams…
Our clients hire us not only because they trust we’ll deliver great quality and feel that we’ll work well together, but also because they believe in us. They believe in our ability to tell their story in a beautiful, honest and unique way. They’re inviting us into their world and they’re trusting us to use our talents to celebrate this time in their lives.
This means that clients are paying close attention to the aesthetic and vibe of our photography. They look at our images and they begin to envision themselves and their lives captured in that way. With a quick scroll on our blogs or social media accounts, they decide whether they like what they’re envisioning, or if it’s a no go.
What does this have to do with the editing style we choose? Well, if we want to attract our ideal client, isn’t it important that our work speaks to them? Doesn’t it make sense to align ourselves with their style to ensure that they will consider working with us? Because at the end of the day if more of our ideal client books us, suddenly we’re only working with our ideal client. And we definitely don’t hate that.
It’s time to fully outline who your ideal client is and analyze what style they gravitate towards. Take note on the tones, coloring, and moods they admire. Take that collected data into consideration as you try to establish a consistent editing style. Is your ideal client someone who loves bright, vibrant tones? Is this someone who might decorate their lives with pastels and finds comfort when surrounded by light and airy decor? Is your client’s style darker, moodier? Do they wear mostly blacks/neutrals and prefer an edgier look? Which editing style speaks to these different client profiles? Which profile speaks to who YOU desire to work with?
We are artists. We feel most inspired when we are holding our cameras, and we feel most fulfilled when we are creating and using our talents to bring others joy. Although we are building a business and a means to support our lives, we can’t lose sight of the passion that this career choice stems from. If we only aim to make others happy with our work or follow the popular crowd, we jeopardize our own happiness with what we’re sharing with the world. And that’s a dangerous place to be as a creative – lost in the shuffle and no longer proud of what we create.
So instead of looking outwards at what other photographers are doing, try looking inwards. Take a break from the online world and re-connect with what excites YOU to photograph. What fuels YOUR creativity, and what do YOU want your work to stand for? By asking ourselves these difficult questions, we’re able to define the heart in our work. And that heart, that passion, that’s your constant. It’s something that if taken care of, will continue to grow and live within your business. So take the time to recognize and understand that passion so that you can choose a style that not only connects to your ideal client, but that keeps you proud and inspired to continue creating and sharing.
As entrepreneurs, we regularly feel as though we are totally drowning in work on the day to day. We strive to do it all; to master all the hats of our business from marketing and client management to finance and public relations. The list goes on and on. All of these responsibilities cause us to concentrate on doing well with the NOW, which can cause us to ignore the future. This can leave business owners in a plateau as they focus on treading water instead of growth and development in the direction of reaching their goals.
What does this have to do with how our images look? Well, a lot actually. Once we know who we want to attract as clients, and we’ve taken the time to understand what kind of look we as artists will be proud of, we then need to think about the future of our business and ask ourselves…
Does this style match up with the kind of weddings and/or portrait sessions that I want to photograph more of in the future?
Is this a style that I’m confident I can evolve from as I grow as a photographer?
Am I simply following a popular trend that might fade out, or does this style look like something that will continue speaking to me and the direction I want to go in?
Can I establish consistency throughout my future portfolio if I incorporate this style?
Bringing these three pieces of the puzzle together will provide a solid base that will help you decide which editing style feels right for your work as both a creative and business owner. It’s a process but well worth it as you reach a confident decision!