Experimenting with processing

Posted on by Jason

Chester Kids Portrait Photography

Trying to define your own style seems to be an ongoing process with no particular goal and no definite end. At first you are overwhelmed with the possible options and go mad trying everything, then decide after hours of messing around that although many look good individually, overall they look crap. Hey – the first time I did selective colour I thought it was cool, but now I wince every time I see it. You can spot a new photographer a mile off by the number of different effects they are using on their website – no consistency and no ‘style’ to call their own.

Who wants photos that are going to look really dated as 2011’s effect? There is certainly a need to be ‘of the time’, but nothing too garish that will be consigned to the back of the wardrobe in 12 months time.

For our wedding photography, we have finally got to a point where we know exactly how we want to process and exactly how to get the look we want. There are still times when you do something because it’s ‘arty’, but overall every client gets delivered a consistent set of images tuned to our style. Having said that, I still am pulled between 2 or 3 different ways of doing black and white conversions and am working on a duotoning style which is subtle enough to add more than a simple B&W conversion.

Portrait photography seems to be a little different and I’ve experimented to push some a lot further than I normally would, but I think it works for these. The one above and the one below have a stronger version of our wedding photography processing.

Chester Kids Portrait Photography

And these are three I loved just for the fun expressions on Hayden’s face! I’ve overexposed on purpose to smooth out skin imperfections which is a popular current technique (girls obviously appreciate this one!!) and done a B&W which lifts the black point to give a slightly washed out look to it. It works well for this picture, but may be a little grey for a wedding photograph.

Kids cross processed and duotoned

One final one – I have also been trying out shooting in to the sun for this effect, which if we ever see the sun much during summer I’ll use in a wedding. It combines a nice effect with a good negative space composition.

Wedding Photograph with Starburst Effect