The most important thing I strive for in my photography is consistency. Consistency in your photography helps to define your brand. When clients hire you, they’ll know exactly what to expect which will lead to attracting clients who have full trust in you and your creative vision.
It has always been a goal of mine to have someone recognize my work, without my name attached, and know that it’s mine. For me, putting out consistent work starts long before the editing begins.
BEFORE THE SESSION
Creating a session guide for your clients will not only help your clients feel more prepared for the session, but also help guide them to make choices based on your photographic style. For example, in my guide, they have a choice of a few locations that I offer. These are locations that I know very well and are lit similarly.
In their session guide, I also include detailed information for choosing their outfits. Although I know that creating outfit guidelines isn't for every photographer, this is extremely important for the overall look of my images. Once you have a specific style represented on your website and blog, you will begin to attract clients who are drawn to this style and therefore want the same look.
Pay attention to the time. The time of day you book your sessions plays a large role in the overall look of your images. I always make sure to book my sessions at exactly the same time in correlation with the sunset. This ensures that the direction of light will be the same from session to session.
For me, bright sunshine is crucial in my photographic style. I am fortunate that we get a lot of sunny days in Texas; however, there are quite a few days out of the year that I reschedule sessions due to a high chance of rain or heavy cloud coverage. My clients are aware of this beforehand and understand and appreciate why I have this policy. While I can shoot in cloudy conditions, the resulting images would not portray the same bright sunlit images that my clients booked me for and, therefor, would be a disservice.
Keep just one lens on your camera. This helps keep my photos consistent from session to session. This is such an easy way to start narrowing down your style. Shooting with a 70-200mm for half of your session and a 35mm the other half will give you drastically different images and styles.
Beware what you wear. Being careful what you wear to your sessions is important if you are shooting up close to your subjects (35mm and 50mm). The color of your clothes will reflect back on to your clients and create color casts making it difficult to have consistency in the skin tones. I always make sure to wear white, black, or gray depending on how much light I want to reflect or absorb for the session. This also applies to shooting in green grass that is being hit strongly by the sun, red dirt, an orange wall, etc. as it will reflect that color back into the skin.
When I am culling, I am not just looking for the best images from the session; I am looking for the best images of the session that represent my style. If there is an image with a crazy lens flare or the sun was behind the clouds and caused a diffused light, or any other situation that would cause the image to look different from the others, it won't pass through to be edited, no matter how great of an image it may be.
One of the most important things I look to do when editing is to match skin tones across all images. After editing all of the photos, I pull up 5-10 random images throughout the session and make sure the skin tones are the same from the beginning of the session all the way through the end.
So in conclusion, consistency is key. This may seem obvious to a seasoned photographer, but we all need reminders from time to time, even of the most obvious things. Be the best photographer you can be and achieve recognition by finding consistency in your work.
Katie Lamb is a photographer based out of Houston, Texas. She has been in business since 2008 when she graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Fine Art Photography. Katie originally pursued photography in order to document international missions and the orphan crisis around the world, and this still remains her greatest passion. As for her portrait business, she specializes in seniors, families, and has a separate brand for beauty & boudoir.
Over the past seven years, she has fallen in love with the business aspect of what photographers do and has since co-created the Develop Retreat - a workshop focused on the business side of the craft.