You probably already know that consistency in your portrait sessions matters to your clients, but you may be wondering why that is and how the hell to make it happen. Here’s some helpful info on why consistency can help your business be successful and stand out and 4 tips to making it work in your photography.
Consistency in your work proves to your potential clients that they can trust you
Odds are, your portrait client hired you because they like the work you do. They could always have their nephew who got a Rebel for his birthday do it for free or “portfolio building”, but the chances are that they hired you because they like the work you produce for your clients.
If you are always editing your portrait sessions like a dark and moody photographer, delivering gorgeously romantic photos that have a cloudy feeling then that’s what your next or potential clients will expect (and hope) to receive from you. So if you show up weeks after you did their dark and moody session and the photos are edited light and airy with the sky blown out and no shadows in your images - they’re going to be confused, angry, feel like they didn’t get what they paid for, and ultimately disappointed.
What you show online is what your clients expect from you, so give the people what they want and stick to a consistent style.
Continuing to use the same style in your portrait sessions will help you define your brand
Running a photography business is an interesting beast - yes, we’re business owners so we’re savvy and care about our bottom line - but before that, we’re artist and creators.We went into our creative business because we love the art that we create and we love to share that with our clients, so of course we want to be recognized for having a unique and interesting style that others admire.
When you hone in on a consistent style you’re claiming your own brand - saying “yes! I am the best dark and moody photographer! Come to me for your romantic portraits!”
When you bounce back and forth between different editing styles, you aren’t placing a claim on any one thing and your work could be any of the thousands of photographers out there. Portrait clients want to work with the best, someone specializing in the style they want and who they can trust will deliver that beautiful moody edit without making their photos muddy.
Tips on How to Keep Consistency in Your Portrait Sessions
You may be thinking, “yeah, consistency is cool and I get why it’s important, but how the hell do you keep things looking the same between portrait sessions?”
No worries, bud - here’s some helpful tips to keeping your work consistent and cohesive.
1. Figure out what you like first
Before you start working with clients regularly, take the time you need as an artist to figure out what you like creatively. Try out different and varying styles. Do weird portraits. Do dog portraits. Do nighttime portraits. See where I’m going here? Basically you just want to experiment as much as possible so that you can find what you like which will make it easier to keep your work consistent when you’re busy later. If you want more help finding your photography style, you can check out this whole blog post about it.
2. Photograph at a similar time of day
As a photographer, light is your bff - you probably already know that the light looks drastically different throughout the day and can change the mood and style of your images. Find the time of day you like to shoot (early morning, late afternoon, etc.) and stick to it. You’ll see how consistent your client galleries become with just this one adjustment.
3. Use the same editing presets or a collection of presets that work together
Using the same Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW presets on your galleries will help keep consistency between your images because you’re literally using the same settings for them all. You can do the tweaking and adjusting necessary to make each image pop, but using the same preset collections throughout your portrait galleries will save you time and emotional turmoil when you’re trying to remember how vibrant you want the grass to be.
P.S. If you want some real life advice on how to use Lightroom to your advantage + my exact editing workflow, you can watch that here.
4. If you want to change your style a bit, you can - but do it gradually
If anyone gets it, I sure as hell do - we’re photographers, artists and creators and sticking to the same editing style for the rest of our lives can seem like a total drag. So if you feel the urge to change up your editing game (and yes, I’ve been there a few times so you aren’t alone and it won’t kill your business) - you totally can. Just make sure that you do it gradually.
Maybe start by using a darker exposure on your sessions, then slowly reduce the saturation in the greens - see where I’m going? You have the authority to change your art as you go, but just make sure it’s a gradual shift so that you don’t totally confuse everyone.