As a natural light photographer living in a Scandinavian country, capturing bright and airy photos can sometimes be a huge challenge!
During fall and winter the light is VERY limited and many of my indoor photos come out of the camera looking like the “before” photo you see above.
Yep, it´s called REAL life!
As a photographer working with just the available light, the conditions are not always perfect enough to achieve beautiful images straight out of camera.
Here’s the good news. With the right skills, you can create stunning images that wow your clients, blog readers and Instagram followers.
And by knowing exactly HOW you can do it quicker and easier!
In my upcoming photography courseI show you my personal workflowfor creating both light and airy photos as well as the more dark and moody styled photos.
I simply LOVE editing photos. It´s my meditation.
And it´s such a HUGE part of my creative style.
I dare say that image editing is almost 50% of the process to achieving a signature style.
Here´s What You Need To IMPROVE Your Photo Editing Skills:
#1. Photo Editing Software
You need a photo editing software program like Lightroom or Photoshop. I actually recommend subscribing for a monthly membership for both programs via Adobe CC. I use Lightroom for ALL my basic editing – because it´s super efficient and fast. And I use Photoshop for fine-tuning and giving my photos that editorial look.
#2. Shoot in RAW mode
THIS is KEY! Jpeg files are great for everyday photos of family and friends, but to achieve a professional looking imagery you must turn to RAW files. Raw files are simply unfinished photos. When you take a photo with your camera set to shoot RAW files, you´ll have to finish that photo inside Lightroom or Photoshop. This gives you enormous creative power – which is fantastic when you shoot in low light conditions, which I often do.
#3. Focus On The Basic
Be careful not to rely too much on presets and actions. With a basic understanding of editing you can easily create beautiful images inside Lightroom or Photoshop. AND you´ll save a bunch of money buying expensive presets. You can get a long way with just mastering the curve tool and the white balance.
#4. Don’t Over Edit Your Photos
When you first get into editing it can be a real challenge finding the balance between over-doing it and not doing enough. I really struggled with this myself when I started out. At first I didn´t do enough, and then I had a loooong phase of over-processing my photos – especially my portraits! It was all porcelain doll skin and shiny, non-human eyes! Ohh, yes! But hey, it´s a learning curve, right and while learning you are allowed to make mistakes.
The best tip to achieve that balance is to find a photo you like – a photo that has the editing style you like. (look at Pinterest or Instagram). Then use that photo as your reference guide while you practice your editing skills. Have it open in a window and look at it to see if you can match the look. You´ll learn a lot from doing this.
#5. Give It Time
Whilst editing can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s the first time you’re getting into post-processing, with patience and practice, you’ll be creating beautiful images in a matter of minutes. Give it time and don’t rush this process. Make it fun and enjoyable. Put on your favourite music and get to work. Experiment and don´ be afraid to make mistakes. Even after 10 years as a pro, I still manage to create photos that ends up in the trash can…it´s okay…it´s normal. You don´t need to get it perfect every time! It´s called being creative.
If you need help with your editing skills or you are not aware of how to use post-processing software to create stunning photographs, you´ll get ALL the training you need in The Lifestyle Photography Workshop.
IMPROVE YOUR EDITING SKILLS WITH:
My Lightroom course module.
My Photoshop course module – including professional retouching video tutorials.
Workflow steps on how to achieve the most popular editing styles.
Lifetime access so you can practice anytime, anywhere.
My photography workshop contains over 100+ lessons and lifetime access: the lessons are all the pieces you need to complete the puzzle to grow as a photographer and to take your photography to the next level.
I want to empower YOU to succeed and make your dream about capturing stunning photos come true.
Every Summer, I do a half-year LIFE check-up. I investigate every corner of my life to make sure I´m on the right track, moving in a direction that brings me happiness.
I love doing my half-year check-up! I feel like it´s a second chance to make things right. I re-evaluate my decisions, my goals and all my dreams that I planned back in the beginning of the year. I re-consider my business plan. I re-connect with my passion, my WHY and my life purpose.
Taking time to checkin with ourselves is crucial because we sometimes lose sight of what´s most important to us doing the daily grind. We get so caught up in daily chores and to-do´s that it so darn easy to lose sight of what matters most.
I ask myself; are you where you want to be now? And are you on track to be where you want to be at the end of this year?
Rarely, will our dream life magically appear. If you genuinely want to live your dream life, you got to get out of your comfort zone and ask yourself some hard questions. You got to get comfortable with the uncomfortable questions, and you got to challenge yourself to answer truthfully.
Not always easy…but very effective!
Without being MINDFUL about your direction in life, chances are someone else will take over your agenda. And without the clarity and purpose from choosing your steps mindfully, you´ll never truly experience and express your highest potential.
You owe it to yourself to live a life that is extraordinary to you. A life that makes you happy and fulfilled.
Doing a half-year review is an act of self-love. It´s NOT an excuse to beat yourself up for not reaching your New Years´ resolutions.
I want you to do this exercise with kindness. Being hard on yourself NEVER works – it only results in lack of motivation, depression and low self-esteem.
At the end of the day, your personal goals should be serving you. They are YOUR goals, and you get to set them so that where you end up is exactly where you want to be.
So as you enter the second half of the year, I want you to set time aside – maybe a few hours, perhaps a full day or a weekend and do a half-year check-up.
Use this time to reflect back on the first six months of the year and make adjustments to your goals for the rest of the year.
I created the following questions to help you be fully mindful of the way you live and to look at your life with open eyes. These questions are asked with love, and the intention is to guide you to stay on track with your life purpose.
Are you ready?
Okay, here we go…
Half-Year Check-Up: 10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself To Make Sure You Are On Track
1. WHAT do you need to let go of?
There´s a big difference between giving up and letting go. Letting go means freeing yourself from something that is no longer serving you. It involves removing toxic people and negative belief systems from your life so you can make space for wellbeing and happiness. Giving up reduces your life. Letting go expands it. Giving up is self-defeat. Letting go is self-care. What do you need to let go of, so you can make space for the things that really matter?
2. WHO do you need to let go of?
Is there someone in your life that is blocking your happiness and growth? Perhaps a person that is close to you? Or maybe someone you interact with online? A person that is always negative, putting you down, pointing out your weakness and accusing you of not being good enough? Is it time to let go of that person?
Remind yourself that you don´t need anyone´s permission or approval to live your life the way that feels right. No one has the authority to tell you who to be or how to live.
3. What do you need more of in your life?
Focus on the exciting feelings, relationships, events and habits that will improve your life. What makes you feel full of joy? What makes you feel completely at peace? What makes you feel confident and happy with yourself? How can you get more of that in your life?
4. What´s your biggest struggle and how can you deal with it?
Everyone has a difficult time coping. So if you feel like life is a struggle you are not alone. Life is a rollercoaster, and sometimes we all fall apart. During these times, we aren´t always easy to be around. No one is easy to be around 100% of the time. It´s called being human. So when that happens, remind yourself that it´s okay, to not be okay. You are not Superman or Superwomen.
Acknowledge that you struggle and turn your attention and focus to the things in your life you are grateful for. What in your life do you truly appreciate? What and who are you sincerely thankful for?
And remember, you are better today because you have learnt from your setbacks. You are stronger today because of the pain you overcame. You can love today because you understand that nobody is perfect and everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have. You can overcome your struggles because you are not what happens to you, you choose to be who you are.
5. What areas of your life do you need to simplify?
I can never say this enough; simplify the heck out of your life, and you´ll be a much happier person! Think about it; where in your life do you need less drama and less pressure? The best way to quiet your mind is to simplify your life. When your mind is quiet, you can work on the big things. Focus on things that really matter, like your goals, health, giving back, your passions, hobbies, and quality relationships with your loved ones. To simplify, ask yourself what in your life you can delete, delegate, remove, say no to or take immediate action on. Remember, it´ s always better to keep things simple and flexible rather than chase perfection.
6. How can you bring more self-compassion into your life?
We, humans, tend to strive for perfection. We want to be perfect. Look perfect. Act perfect. We hide our insecurities behind flawless social media images. And we protect ourselves when we don´t feel complete. The truth is we are just HUMANS…and no human is perfect. We fail. We disappoint ourselves. We disappoint people. We judge others – and judge ourselves even harder. So instead of striving for perfection – strive to do things with love.
No one cares about you being perfect….the only thing people care about is how you make them FEEL. Nothing is more attractive than a person who is comfortable in her own skin and who has compassion for others as well as for herself.
Self-compassion makes life very simple. It’s us that complicates things with our expectations. The biggest mistake is thinking that you have to change something before you can love yourself. The truth is that love is the ONLY thing that needs to be changed. You don’t have to get better before you can love yourself. And if you don’t know how to love yourself start with kindness and compassion. Treat yourself as a loving mother would care for a child. Treat yourself as you would treat your best friend.
7. Are your “shoulds” getting in the way of your “wants”?
I delete about half of my emails every day! Why? Because my time is my most valuable asset and I want to be in full control of how I spend it. Now, don´t get me wrong here…I do love all the emails from you, my dear readers, subscribers and students – those emails are always my favourite emails. I´m talking about all the emails offering web service, SEO, unpaid work, collaborations with no rewards, ad requests, guest blogging requests, unpaid speaking gigs and I could keep going…. I don´t want anyone else´s agenda taking over my time! I know so many business owners who answer all emails as fast as they can, just because they feel they “should”. And it´s keeping them from spending time on their most important projects – or even worse it´s keeping them from valuable time with their family.
“Should” is how other people want us to live our lives. It’s all of the expectations and obligations that others lay upon us. But here´s the truth; you don´t have to answer all emails, you don´t have to reply to all Instagram comments, and you don´ have to say yes, to things, jobs or events you don´t wanna do.
If “shoulds” have overpowered you in the past, how can you make a shift and focus on “wants”? These are the things that are super important to you. “Wants” is who you are, what you believe, and what you do when you are alone with your truest, most authentic self. It’s your instincts, your desires, the things, places and ideas you are passionate about.
Every day you are being presented with two choices: evolve or repeat. Will you step away from “shoulds” and evolve or will you keep repeating things you really don´t want to do? How can you reduce “shoulds” and make space for “wants”?
8. What important goal or decision are you procrastinating?
The costs of procrastinating can be enormous. When we procrastinate our goals, we are basically putting off our lives. Think about it; what in your life are you currently procrastinating? Do you delay making an important decision you know you need to make? Do you need to take care of something, but keep postponing it? Look into areas such as happiness, stress, health, finances, relationships and work.
A recent study shows that 47% of people’s time online is spent procrastinating. Social media can be fun and bring loads of good things like new friends and creative inspiration – but potentially social media is also one of our greatest time wasters. How can you help yourself to take action and break free of procrastination? Think about how great you´ll feel on the other side of procrastination.
9. What BIG DREAM do you need to go after?
What big dream are you putting off, because you are waiting for: ⠀⠀ 1. the perfect time? 2. the perfect conditions? 3. more confidence? ⠀⠀ . . Let me just say this; there are people less qualified than you doing the things you want to do, simply because they decided to go for it. So stop waiting. Go after it.
You will be surprised at the things you can accomplish with a little belief and action. There will never be a perfect time anyway, so you might as well just start. And confidence….it will grow as you take action. Confidence comes from taking action – not from waiting.
Forgive yourself for accepting less than you deserve. Re-adjust. Re-start. Re-focus. And then set a step by step plan to reach your goal. You don´t need to have it all figured out before you start something. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the most significant step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take the step.
10. How well do you celebrate your life?
On a scale from 1-10, how good are you at celebrating? Unless it´s a big fat 10, you need to start throwing more confetti NOW! Listen, YOU are the only cheerleader you got, so you better show up cheering on yourself and throw a happy dance whenever you get the chance. Life is serious enough, as it is, so spice it up with some fun. Growing up my dad always said to me, life is as fun as YOU make it; meaning YOU are responsible for bringing joy into your life.
Don´t wait for someone to come and entertain you. Don´t wait for people to cheer on you. Don´t do things just to please others. Be pro-active and create small everyday celebrations. You don´t have to buy yourself a fancy new car or eat at the finest restaurant in town to celebrate. It can be little moments of joy that you create to make you happy. Like serving champagne for breakfast on a Monday morning. Enjoying a long warm bath while listening to your favourite podcast or a phone call to a long lost friend. The key is to fill your life with celebration – and not just fill it with chores.
That´s it…now it´s time to….
Perhaps you are on vacation while reading this, enjoying a refreshing GT or a big scoop of chocolate ice cream, laying on the beach or by the pool? If so, there really is NO excuse to not find a moment to yourself, to ponder on the above questions.
Get a notebook, a hotel napkin or use the Notes app on your phone and make sure to answer each question as truthfully as you can. Enjoy the process and remember to do it with kindness. Harsh self-critique will get you nowhere.
Like this article? Share it with your friends or post it to Pinterest – perhaps you´ll help someone get unstuck!
Got an aha-moment? Come on over to my Instagram account and share it with me. Your feedback always inspire me so much.
If you´ve ever wondered how you can uncover your personal photography style, this article will help you get started. It´s a super fun and creative process, so let´s jump into it.
When you are new to photography, its normal to feel that finding a personal style is a mystery – that it´s something unreachable. You might even think that personal style is only for those who have “made it” and already have a thriving photography career.
The truth is, all photographers struggle with the concept of personal style throughout their career. Why? Because personal style is less about photography technique and camera settings, and more about YOU; your personality and your life story.
And we humans change all the time – therefore your style will also change with you. When I think back at times and phases in my photography career, I feel like laughing. Yes, I did have a personal style back then – but it´s not the same as the one I have now. I have changed, and my style has changed with me. And it will change for you too, as you embark on your journey into the world of photography.
It´s a process getting to know yourself and developing your personal style. And once you find it, you will enjoy it for a period of time, and then suddenly one day, you will feel a need to change it or tweak it – because you have changed. It´s normal. It´s part of the growth process.
Change is constant. Change is life. We are constantly evolving, and life is always moving in a new direction (change can move slow or fast – but its moving and nothing ever stays the same). And that´s why photography is so exciting. You really get to express yourself and be super creative. Your photography will be the evidence of your personal development. It´s just a fantastic feeling!
When it comes to developing a personal style what matters most is finding out who you are, what you like and dislike and what you want to do with the time you can devote to your photography practice. In other words, it´s you becoming an artist and not just a photographer, and your style is an extension of that.
3 Steps To Uncover Your Personal Photography Style
No matter what level you’re at in photography you can always use the following steps to develop your style, tweak it or change it. These are steps I still work with to improve my style, and if you´re up for the challenge, I´m sure you´ll get some excellent results.
STEP #1. MAKE A MOODBOARD
When you embark on the journey to find your personal photography style, an excellent place to start is by creating a mood board. But here´s the critical step; it´s not just about collecting photos you love. You got to curate what you include. Meaning that you carefully handpick a small collection out of all those images you like. You pick those images that are most important to you and that represents a style you wish to experiment with.
When putting together a mood board, think of yourself as a curator rather than a collector, and try to introduce meaning and threads from one image to the next. It makes for a more natural interpretation when you will start creating your own photos.
If you pick too many photos for your mood board chances are you will get paralyzed with overwhelm. Being inspired by many things and styles isn’t a bad thing, but it is if you get overwhelmed. Just make a small board with 6-10 images that look beautiful together and have some kind of red thread. Then use that board for inspiration for your next 2-3 photoshoots or until you finally get something that you like.
The trick when trying to find your photography style is to focus on the one thing that inspires you the most. If you’re not sure what that is, listen to your heart. No doubt it will tell you right away. Pick the one thing that really moves you and focus on putting that into practice.
And keep in mind that you are not making a mood board to copy the images, you make a mood board to remind yourself of the creative direction you wish to practice. Let yourself be inspired by the colours, the tones, the light, the props, the shooting angle and the composition – but never try to copy an entire photo that you´ve found on Pinterest or Instagram.
There is a difference between making a copy as part of the learning process and making a career out of imitating another photographer’s work. I believe that personal style is the extension of your personality. Your personality is presented through the photographs that you take. If you copy someone else’s style, you´ll never become a happy, fulfilled and fully booked photographer.
To find images for your mood board go to Pinterest, Instagram, Google Images or look at Magazines and Blogs.
STEP #2. MAKE STYLE DECISIONS
Now that you have your inspirational mood board ready, it´s time to set up some creative rules for yourself. These rules will be guidelines for how you style and shoot your photos. If you have never tried to make strategic directions for your creative work before, this will be a new way for you to execute your ideas.
The guidelines or rules, are not there to limit your creativity – they are there to help you narrow down a specific style and mood. I like to call it “making style decisions”.
Making style decisions is an art form – it´s a skill you will develop over time, and it will help you tremendously in creating a signature style. I would go as far as to say that the art of “making style decisions” is the number ONE skill that makes some creatives stand out and become masters at what they do.
It´s about knowing what you LIKE and what you don´t like. What you want and what you don´t want. It´s about experimenting and understanding what works and what doesn´t work (which is a skill that you can only develop from trial and error and a whole lot of practice).
No matter if you´re a florist, an interior designer, a photographer or artist, you need to make style decisions. Doing so will take your creative work from a hot mess to professional mastery.
Okay, so let´s go back to your Moodboard. Look at the photos and study them carefully. Write down what makes all of the images unique, and what you love about them.
Next step is to plan your actual photoshoot. Decide what you will be photographing, based on your Moodboard and by making the following style decisions:
Decide on Mood: What mood are you going for? Romantic, dark and moody, bright and airy, colourful, artistic, rustic, urban, country style, authentic, elegant, dramatic or simplistic? Or perhaps a mixture? A good question to ask yourself is this: what do I want the viewer to SEE and FEEL when they look at my image? For example, If you want a bright and happy style you wanna avoid choosing dark props in muted tones as well as a dark setting. Instead select a white environment, with white walls that will reflect the light and pick props with cheerful colours.
Decide on Light: What type of light you choose to shoot in will affect your style tremendously. If you shoot in the golden hour or bright daylight when the sun is out, your photos will be more fresh, bright and happy than if you shoot on a cloudy/grey day with little sunshine available.
Decide on a Color Palette: I always recommend that you pick a simple colour palette with just a few colours. The more simplistic your colour palette, the more professional your image will look. The colours should complement each other and help you get a sense of balance in the composition. If one colour sticks out and takes too much attention – take it out or put something in the scene that matches that colour to balance it out.
Decide on The Story: Sometimes photographers get so caught up in making a beautiful styled image that they forget to consider the story – the message. It can actually help you a lot if you consider the story you wish to tell. The story doesn’t have to be complicated, it can be straightforward. Like the story of morning coffee in bed or fresh handpicked tomatoes from your garden. Consider how you can make your story authentic. If you pick tomatoes from your garden, you might have some dirt, some fresh leaves or a scissor than you can include. If it´s about morning coffee in the bed, your bed might be messy, and your coffee cup might have left a coffee spot. How you decide to tell the story will be an essential style decision.
There are many, many more style decisions to be made, but for now, I don´t want to overwhelm you. If you start with just these four style decisions, you will end up with a helpful, creative frame to work within.
Stick to your decisions in a number of photos and see if you can create a small series of images based on the same style decisions. This is a great way to practice finding your personal style.
Now, that you have some guidelines to help you begin the journey of developing your personal photography style, it´s time to put it into practice.
Just looking at pretty pictures on Instagram and Pinterest won’t get you into action. You got to plan your shoot. Make time for it. Prioritise it. To really become good at something, you must put many hours into it.
Excellence doesn´t come from just practising an hour once a week. It takes time, effort, passion and determination. But I promise you if you make the time to practice, if you don´t give up and give in you will find your unique photography style.
Are you ready to get started?
Here´s a quick sum up:
1. Make a Moodpboard. Curate and select only a handful of photos that truly inspires you.
2. Make style decisions and set up specific guidelines for your workflow and photoshoot.
3. Practice, practice, practice. Don´t get angry with yourself when you have a bad day…after all, it´s just a bad day. Next time you try, it might be the day when you create your masterpiece. Never give up! Keep going and put learning before perfection.
I wish you all the best with your creative process, and I hope you will tag me on Instagram if you use this process. I would LOVE to see what you create.