Friday, August 23, 2013

Changing Photography Styles & Updating Your Portfolio

super bright— desaturation — painterly — dark & moody — realistic — fresh — high contrast — low contrast — high saturation color — black and white

My photography style has morphed all over the field in the past two years. I started off over-editing — cringy worthy! I dreamed of a day when I would be able to take a picture that just looked life-like — bright fresh realistic colours. Then I learned the beauty of over-exposing slightly as it create glowy skin and clear detail. Then I moved into my Seattle studio. The light was so dark in the Pacific Northwest winter and I was on earth could I get glowy smooth skin in this dark basement? I was underexposed on so many shots and I learned how to embrace the shadows. My style got a little moodier. Then I started playing around on Photoshop and making my photographs look like paintings. Then I got lazy and stopped editing. I just delivered realistic life-like portraits to my clients. But these bored me. I felt bad and uninspired. Life-like is beautiful BUT it's no longer my style. I've fallen in love with the painterly effects. I want to my portfolio to look less like a photographer's and more like a painters. I want to 'paint with light.' 

As I've watched myself transition through these stages, my website portfolio has gotten sloppier and sloppier — different styles side-by-side. I fear it confuses my potential clients. There are so many different styles there - there's no way they could know what to expect. Sometimes they would request a certain style but I can't always deliver that and sometimes their photographs don't look good with that style. You will end up shooting whatever you show on your website. My clients kept asking me for bright fresh portraits. But what I love are the dark moody images these days. My fear was that nobody would want the dark portraits BUT maybe the people out there who DO like dark portraits don't realize I offer that because they only see the bright photos? See my problemo?

So I've been taking some time to reassess. I've sorted through my portfolio. What do I love? How do I shoot differently to create each of these styles? Which photos are out of date? What am I going to keep? It's a challenging and fun exercise. I dare you to try it!!