aircraft, airplane, automobile, aviation, Color Efex Pro, history, Lightroom, Nik, Nik Software, OAHS, Oregon, Oregon Aviation Historical Society, photo, photograph, photography, Photoshop, plane, Post processing, style, WAAAM, Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum
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.