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Styles go out of Style

Well.. Sort of. Here’s an interesting marketing lesson from my University days: A “style” is a specific category in the “Product Life Cycle” – a cycle in which can be demonstrated with a simple graph. Let’s say a product is launched and is considered to be in the “introduction” stage. Costs are high, profits are low, and operation is almost always at a loss. Once the introduction stage is over, the growth stage comes next – costs start to decrease, revenue rapidly increases, and profit starts to build. If the product succeeds, it will enter the maturity stage where profits continue to grow, and revenue remains constant. Costs are still declining, meaning this stage is where a business typically generates the most cash from the product. Then, after some time, the product enters the decline stage, at this point costs are actually increasing again, while profit and revenue decrease at a steady rate. 

So that explains the life and inevitable death of a typical product. What about a style though, and how does this relate to photography you’re probably wondering?

A style starts out like a product. It emerges, it grows in popularity, but just like a product it will inevitably decline. The only difference is, it will come back. It almost always, always comes back. Do you ever see a photograph and think “too much editing, that doesn’t look natural at all”… Guess what, that was a style that went out of style. It might come back one day though, who knows. 

You only get Married once!

So let’s say you pick your photographer. He or she has this amazing Instagram grid where even the thumbnails collectively have a unique look, or feel even (this is called flow, by the way). “Perfect,” you say, “I love the way this flow looks. I want my pictures to look like this!”

Do you though…?

What if that style goes out of style? What if some time passes, and there’s a new trend or a different style that you like better? These are things you should seriously, seriously consider.

STRAIGHT OUT OF CAMERA

Take a look at this image, for example. This is exactly how it looks straight out of the camera (SOOC). This is what we – and mostly all other photographers – start with. 

Here are two examples of a “stylistic” edit. Typically this is accomplished with an edit preset – where colours, split toning, highlights/shadows and other tonal values are adjusted to achieve a specific look with one simple click. Here, I adjusted the overall brightness of the image, and chose two, one-click presets and applied them.  That’s it. These were the results:

NOT BAD!

Honestly, this looks pretty decent. Sometimes, for a certain scenario, a preset can turn out pretty well with no other user made adjustments. We see some very intense greens in this photo, and you’ll notice on the first image they are “cooled” down quite a bit to an almost emerald-like colour. On the next image, you can see just how intense that green is in comparison. You’ll also notice a “matte” look that you’ve probably seen and probably enjoyed before (hint: it’s the “fade” slider on Instagram!)- this is an editing technique called “cutting black”, which gives it a unique, soft look. 

This is how we would go about editing this photo. As you can see, it’s a bit of a subtle mix between the two styles above. There is a hint of the matte look, and the green hue/saturation has been very slightly changed to soften up that overpowering, intense green in the background. Finally, once we are happy with the levels and tones, we adjust the temperature and tint to make sure the skin tones are accurate. That’s it! On to the next one. 

 


 

Our Edit

This is how we would go about editing this photo. As you can see, it’s a bit of a subtle mix between the two styles above. There is a hint of the matte look, and the green hue/saturation has been very slightly changed to soften up that overpowering, intense green in the background. Finally, once we are happy with the levels and tones, we adjust the temperature and tint to make sure the skin tones are accurate. That’s it! On to the next one. 

Before I wrap this up, I do want to make one thing perfectly clear.

There’s an almost infinite number of implementable styles when it comes to not only wedding photography, but all other forms as well – and they all have their place with the artist. Photographers use their shooting and editing styles to convey not only the style itself, but the brand, personality, and creative ability they are trying to put out into the world. Just because one artist edits one way or another doesn’t mean another one has to do the same, or even something different for that matter – it’s an individual expression.

At the end of the day, every wedding photographer out there wants – and arguably needs – this desire to be unique and creative. As a couple looking for a photographer, it’s your responsibility to find one with a creative language that speaks to you, and a visual that you think you will enjoy forever. We might take a few images here and there and really get creative with them; sky swap, object removal, textures, colours, etc. – this is us getting the chance to be truly unique and give you something more along the lines of artwork – however the bulk of our images will maintain the classic wedding photography style. 

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