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One of the main things anyone interested in photography as a business hears is to find your style. This is something very difficult to do, because creative people can be scared to have all their images look stylistically similar. So for a long time I struggled with how to do that.

The process started with going to an ASMP event called Portfolio Perfect. I paid close attention to the response of my reviewer. He certainly had a bigger response to my edgy, in your face, exaggerated detail, and exaggerated perspective photos. He even made mention that the other photos I showed him look like they were done by someone else.

Next, I looked at what I like. I certainly do tend to like photos with that edgy, larger than life Hollywood movie hero look.

Finally, I looked at what other photographers I know, shooting in the same areas and genres are doing. I looked at what I like about their images, what others like about their images, and finally what I don’t like about their images.

Finally, I decided on a style that would define most of what I do. Not every photo I shoot fits this mold, but the majority does.  This style starts by shooting in tight to my subjects with a wide angle lens when possible. I am also drawn to dramatic skies and backlighting as part of this style.

In post processing I will tend towards a wide dynamic range as well as high local contrast, while still maintaining a photographic look.

To this end, in Lightroom I developed two presets for my work. Both have high contrast, the highlights are brought down to around -80 and shadows up to around +80. Clarity is high with a setting around +40 on one preset and +60 on the other. The big difference between the two presets is saturation levels, one is very desaturated and the other I increased Vibrance to +30, with the high contrast that makes the colors pop. I prefer to use the low saturation preset with things like military vehicles or silver vehicles where I want to minimize color contamination and use the vibrant preset for everything else.

When desired this style can be further augmented in Photoshop and Color Efex Pro4. One way I do this is apply a glow to most of the photo, but Tonal Contrast to my subject.

To see my new style in action, take a look at the Shuffle and Boeing 40 departure gallery, the Wings and Wheels gallery, my Aviation Portfolio, or my Automotive Portfolio.