Finding one’s artistic style is a lifelong journey, as well as quite personal.
After picking the camera back up a few years ago I struggled a bit with a few different styles. I hadn’t used photoshop or Lightroom before and experimented a lot with how to edit images. I’ve finally settled into a style I really feel is me. At least the current version of me. As I learn and grow I expect my style to change with me.
I first started editing my photos with some basic editing, trying to keep it clean and bright. But it just wasn’t me. I love other people’s photos that are edited this way but I wanted something a little darker, a little moodier. I tried going dark and moody but I couldn’t get my images to look quite right. My photos always looked “muddy”.
Then I stumbled on Mastin Labs.
Mastin Labs makes presets that emulates film and what first drew me in was the Ilford pack. Ilford was the film I used in high school when I first learned photography. I decided to give it a try along with the Potra pack. I later added the Fuji packs as well. It’s hard to pick a favorite but I mostly use Portra pushed. I just learned they are working on an Ektar pack and am looking forward to trying that one too! I like having a few choices, as it really depends on my mood and what I am trying to get out of the image.
Despite being initially drawn in by the Ilford pack, I started doing most of my photos in color with Portra and just a few black and white. The more I edited in color the more I realized I was being drawn to black and white. I am still doing most in color but am making sure to do a good chunk in black and white. I am also going back and redoing some old landscape images in black and white. When I edited my latest New York images, the majority ended up in black and white. The images just screamed for it.
Someday I plan to do 90% black and white and only 10% color.
I plan to do this for both landscape and documentary sessions this way. I feel black and white is classic and will never go out of style. I also think it makes people have more of an emotional reaction when a photo is in black and white. You have to really look at it and see the image. I’m sure as I learn and grow my style will too.
I have also started shooting actual film again. I bought a bunch lately, mostly black and white, but a few color rolls to test out as well. I hope to eventually offer products and services from film. I am becoming a bit of a film nerd. I love my Ilford film but want to try out several different rolls. I have a variety and can’t wait to compare the results!
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