Photo editing is an essential part of the photography process that involves adjusting, stylizing, enhancing, and retouching images to make them look their best and match a consistent style. There are many different approaches to photo editing, each with its unique techniques and approaches. Furthermore, an editing style is a part of a photographer’s identity and shapes his or her compositions, approach to shooting, the type of gear used, and overall branding. In a previous article, we outlined popular photography styles, and in this article, we will take an in-depth look at the most popular photo editing styles and explore the techniques and approaches that define them.
Common Photo Editing Styles
Let’s discuss the common editing styles that photograph apply to their images. Most photographers mix and match these general styles to create their own.
Natural Photo Editing Style
The editing style involves subtle adjustments that emphasize the inherent beauty of the image. This approach to wedding and portrait photography produces an authentic, true-to-life feel that accurately captures the moment. This style is particularly effective for editorial portraits where simplicity in editing is favored, allowing the subject’s pose and expression to take center stage and speak directly to the viewer. You can achieve this style with manual adjustments in Lightroom or with with Lightroom Presets like the Pure Presets.
Bold and Vibrant Photo Editing Style
The unique editing style in is known for its warm, lively, and bold colors. By utilizing the camera’s entire dynamic range and image quality, this editing approach showcases the stunning hues in images that capture breathtaking moments such as fiery sunsets, tropical blue waters, or vibrant wedding florals. You can achieve this style with manual adjustments in Lightroom or with with Lightroom Presets like the Crush Presets.
Light and Airy Photo Editing Style
The light and airy style of photography has a distinct charm that is recognized by its soft, pastel colors and dreamy, ethereal ambiance. This popular approach to wedding and portrait photography is often compared to filmic or fine art styles and exudes a romantic and whimsical vibe that is often captured in natural light. You can achieve this style with manual adjustments in Lightroom or with with Lightroom Presets like the Pastel Presets.
Dark and Moody Photo Editing Style
The editing style is recognized by its deep, rich colors, and a dramatic, moody aura. Often referred to as boho or earthy, this trendy approach isn’t hesitant to explore the shadows and resides predominantly in the left side of the histogram. You can achieve this style with manual adjustments in Lightroom or with with Lightroom Presets like the Mood Presets.
Film Emulation Photo Editing Style
The Film Emulation Photo Editing Style is an approach that involves mimicking the visual characteristics of traditional film photography film stocks such as Fuji 400, Kodak Portra 400 and others. This editing style is popular in wedding and portrait photography, as it provides a classic and timeless aesthetic to images. The editing process involves adding grain, altering color hues, and adjusting contrast to create a look that resembles different types of film. By emulating the look and feel of traditional film, this editing style creates a sense of nostalgia and timelessness in the images, lending them a unique and distinctive quality.
Black and White Photo Editing Style
The editing style is known for its monochromatic and timeless feel, relying solely on contrast and tonal range to create a striking image. This style is commonly utilized in wedding and portrait photography, lending a classic and elegant aesthetic to the images. Additionally, this approach can eliminate distracting colors and minimize the impact of unsightly elements within the frame, resulting in a cleaner and more polished final image. You can achieve this style with manual adjustments in Lightroom or with with Lightroom Presets like the Black and White Mixer.
Painterly Photo Editing Style
The Painterly Photo Editing Style is an approach to photo editing that is characterized by its resemblance to traditional painting techniques. This style involves using digital tools to manipulate images to resemble a painting, incorporating elements such as brushstrokes, textures, and color blending. This style is often used in fine art photography and portraiture, as it allows photographers to add a creative and distinctive touch to their work.
Cross-Processed photo editing style
The Cross-Processed (or cross processing) Photo Editing Style is an approach to photo editing that emulates the look of film that has been processed using the wrong chemicals. The original technique involves developing color film in chemicals that are meant for another type of film, resulting in unusual and striking color shifts. In digital photography, this effect is achieved by manipulating the color balance and saturation to create a similar look. Cross-processing can create images with bold and unexpected color combinations, high contrast, and a distinctive vintage or retro aesthetic.
HDR Photo Editing Style
The HDR (High Dynamic Range) Photo Editing Style is an approach that involves combining multiple images of the same scene taken at different exposures to produce a final image with a greater range of brightness and detail than is possible with a single exposure. The HDR technique is often used in landscape and architectural photography, where it allows for greater detail in both the bright and dark areas of the image. In the editing process, multiple images are merged and adjusted to create a final image with a high dynamic range, resulting in a photograph that appears more vivid and realistic. The HDR Photo Editing Style is often used in travel and outdoor photography, as it allows photographers to capture and share the beauty of a scene in a more compelling way.
Essential Photo Editing Terminology
Basic Photo Editing or Corrective Photo Editing – Basic photo editing involves the essential adjustments that are necessary to improve an image’s overall appearance. It includes techniques like cropping, resizing, and adjusting exposure, contrast and color temperature, and other basic functions.
Retouching – Retouching involves correcting any imperfections or blemishes in an image, reshaping and liquifying subjects, and other advanced techniques. This is typically done in Photoshop and other retouching software like Portrait Pro.
Color Grading – Color grading is the process of adjusting and enhancing the colors and tones of a video or image to achieve a desired look or mood. It involves adjusting the brightness, contrast, saturation, and hue of different color channels, as well as applying creative color effects and stylizations. Color grading can be used to correct color imbalances, create a consistent look across a series of shots, or add a cinematic feel.
Advanced Photo Editing Styles – Advanced photo editing involves more complex techniques like compositing, HDR, and frequency separation. These techniques are used to create unique and visually stunning images.
Understanding the different photo editing styles is essential to improve your photo editing skills. From basic styles like cropping and adjusting brightness and contrast to more advanced styles like compositing and HDR, there are countless approaches to photo editing. By exploring the techniques and approaches that define each style, you can develop your own unique style and approach to photo editing. So get out there and start experimenting! Who knows, you may just discover a new photo editing style that defines your work.