How styles are made and how they change

My style in photography, which applies more to the edit than anything, I’ve always described it as being “believable”. Almost like you could go and actually see that scene, but… better. I guess. Not that its actually ever looked real, this is just what I wanted it to be.

How to develop a style

My style developed by mimicking my friend Bruce (@threepeakfilms) and the way he edits. I would also look at my other favorite photographers in the climbing industry, portrait industry, and landscapes to figure out what I loved about each of their styes and keeping that in mind as I edited my own photos. It ended at an edit with lots of depth, cool (cyan) highlights, deep shadows that maintained detail, no white skies, and “crisp”.

Mimic your favorite photographers. And edit a lot. And take so many photos. Take a while to play around with your camera and editing software! Use every tool, spend way too much time watching tutorials, do weird stuff. A lot of my editing knowledge actually came from watching portrait edits! You can apply any technique from one type of photography to any other type. Portrait to climbing, landscapes to climbing, it all applies! One weird one was while watching a tutorial on how to make skin look tan I actually noticed a few things they did that I could use on other tools and even tone images using the same basic principles they were teaching! You have to think out of the box. Just because they’re using a technique on a portrait doesn’t mean you can’t use it on a climbing photo, or any other photo!

Todays edit

This morning I was thinking about the trips I met the people Im currently living with near Boulder, CO. It was in Moab Utah, the three people I met separated by a few trips. I first met Antonio and Emily through a mutual friend, Hannah. Three or so Moab trips later we met Will and his dog Nala under the massive Chaos boulder in the Big Bend bouldering area. I took the same photo of both Antonio and Will that trip, and I re edited the photo of Antonio today! This is the reason for todays blog post, noticing how my style hasn’t necessarily changed but how its been refined over the past year! Look at the two photos below to see how it’s changed.

The main differences I noticed is how much less I manipulate the light in an image. My new main focus has been color. Every photo now goes through three different color tools in photoshop: channel mixer, selective color, and finally a color balance.

The old edit definitely catches the views eye more and when compared side to side with the new edit I i’m definitely drawn to the old edit! Click on the photos above and look at them closely one at a time. When viewed this way I definitely prefer the clean look and deep colors of the new edit. No added sunlight, no oddly bright subject. The image was taken just after the sun set behind a cliff behind us with just enough cloud cover to not shine any light on the towering cliffs above us, bummer! So in the old edit I added in that sunlight I wanted, but the new edit I kept it as it was. You also may have noticed I made the entire boulder bigger in the old edit. Just a little, but still. Im not sure why I did that, it wasn’t needed. Its cool and all, but wasn’t needed.

Now, compare the edits to the raw photo. Again, click on the photo to view them one at a time a bit larger.

Looking at both photos beside the raw I greatly prefer the new edit. It’s so much more accurate, more of a photo than digital art. Im stoked with how my style has developed and I cant wait to see how much more Ive progressed next year!