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5 Photo Editing Styles To Elevate Your Photography

Alexa Galore

In today's digitally-driven era, photography serves as a medium for social sharing, memory preservation, and artistic endeavor. Photo editing is an essential part of this process, offering photographers a way to enhance their imagery and establish unique signature styles. 


Here, we’re discussing the variety of photo editing styles and techniques both seasoned photographers and enthusiastic beginners can use to level up their photos. From subtle adjustments to advanced types of photo editing, we’ll provide comprehensive insight into the rich tapestry of editing styles aimed at elevating your photographs.

WHAT IS COLOR CORRECTION?


A photo editing style encapsulates a precise set of adjustments or effects employed to achieve a specific aesthetic or mood in a photograph. This can range from subtle modifications to profound transformations that substantially alter an image's appearance. Different editing styles are instrumental for photographers and designers, aiding in the creation of unique and engaging visuals.


Post capture, the editing phase begins. This is where a photographer's editing style significantly influences the final presentation of images. Photo editing styles predominantly hinge on three broad categories of adjustments:


Tonal adjustments: These involve modulating the lighting aspects of a photo to enhance or subdue certain details, thereby influencing the image's mood and focal points.


Color adjustments: Altering the color palette can change an image's vibrancy, temperature, and overall emotional resonance.


Special effects: Incorporating elements like grain, blur, and other effects can add depth, texture, or a surreal quality, enriching the visual narrative.


By varying the mix of tonal, color, and special effects adjustments, photographers can craft images with unique appearances, showcasing their unique artistic signature. And using Refined Co's professional presets, we aim to equip you with the tools you need to elevate your photo editing style, fostering a community of informed and inspired photographers.

HOW DO I FIND MY EDITING STYLE?


Embarking on the journey to discover your unique photo editing style is a blend of experimentation and feedback from your audience. It's through the iterative process of trialing different edits, gauging audience response, and refining your technique that a distinct editing style begins to emerge. 


While every seasoned photographer tends to have a signature editing style—ranging from naturalistic to grungy—it's the exploration across various processing approaches, especially in the early stages, that lays the foundation for this development. As you mature in your photographic journey, focusing on one of the types of photography editing can lend a cohesive signature look to your portfolio. While crafting entirely original techniques may pose a challenge, leveraging established approaches as a springboard can significantly aid in honing a photo editing style that resonates with your work and audience. 

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT STYLES OF PHOTO EDITING?


Discovering the nuances among different photography editing styles can markedly enhance the storytelling potential of your photography. These styles, often encapsulated in presets for desktop, mobile, and video provided by platforms like Refined Co, serve as starting points from which photographers can refine their edits. Each style has its own set of adjustments in tone, color, and special effects that lend a distinctive aesthetic to the images. Let's delve into some common types of editing styles and understand the modifications they entail:

Light and Airy: This style is characterized by its bright, soft, and ethereal appearance. Achieving this involves elevating the exposure, reducing contrast, and often boosting shadows to bring out details. The color palette leans towards pastel tones, with a modest saturation to maintain a soft, delicate look. Light and airy presets like REFINED I often have a gentle lift in the shadows and a subtle warmth in the tones to evoke a fresh, optimistic ambiance.

Carly Matthews light and airy photo editing style

Carly Matthews


Dark and Moody: Contrast is a hallmark of dark and moody photography editing styles, with a tendency towards lower exposure and higher contrast to create a dramatic, intense feel. The color grading often involves desaturating certain colors or shifting them towards cooler tones, and shadows are deepened to add a sense of mystery or melancholy. This style can encapsulate a wide range of emotional narratives, from somber to introspective, and is encapsulated in our versatile REFINED III preset.

Carly Matthews light and airy photo editing style


True to Color: As the name suggests, this style aims to retain and enhance the natural colors present in the photograph. The adjustments are generally modest, with a balanced approach to exposure, contrast, and saturation to ensure colors are represented accurately and vibrantly. Of the different editing styles, this is favored by photographers looking to maintain the authenticity and realism of the scene captured, such as with interior photography. Our REFINED x Ali Harper and Refined II presets are great examples of this photo editing style, with crisp and accurate colors. 

Carly Matthews light and airy photo editing style

Danielle Hobbs


Film Inspired: Film-inspired photo editing styles evoke the nostalgic charm and characteristic aesthetics of traditional film photography. Kodak, Portra, and Fuji presets emulate the color grading and grain structure of their analog counterparts. Presets like REFINED III that’s inspired by Fuji 400H film and REFINED Ektar that’s based off of Kodak Ektar film often include adjustments like adding a slight grain, reducing contrast, and shifting color hues to mimic the signature looks of these classic film stocks. Additionally, presets like REFINED X KT Merry evoke a painterly and luminous aesthetic that seamlessly blend film with KT’s go-to workflow tools. Meanwhile, REFINED x Tec Petaja, with its Portra-inspired presets, carries a timeless film-influenced touch into travel, lifestyle, and wedding photography.

Carly Matthews light and airy photo editing style

Alexa Galore


Black and White: Stripping color to unveil a spectrum of grays, black and white photography editing styles direct the focus towards the textures, shapes, and emotional essence of the image. Adjustments in contrast, shadow, and highlight are crucial in defining the depth and drama inherent in black and white imagery. This style often evokes a timeless, classic feel, and is particularly effective in emphasizing the narrative or emotional core of a photograph. REFINED x KT Merry BW bring textures, shadows, and light to life in shades of gray.

Black and White: Stripping color to unveil a spectrum of grays, black and white photography editing styles direct the focus towards the textures, shapes, and emotional essence of the image. Adjustments in contrast, shadow, and highlight are crucial in defining the depth and drama inherent in black and white imagery. This style often evokes a timeless, classic feel, and is particularly effective in emphasizing the narrative or emotional core of a photograph. REFINED x KT Merry BW bring textures, shadows, and light to life in shades of gray.

WHAT TYPE OF EDITS ARE TRENDING?


The exploration into the trending types of photo editing reveals a blend of technical advancements and creative experimentation that are reshaping the industry. Here are some notable trends and where you might look to find them:


AI-Powered Editing Tools: In an extreme example of this trend, you have the AI Yearbook Photos taking over social media. But all types of photographers can utilize the machine learning algorithms of these tools to auto-adjust parameters like exposure, color balance, and composition, considerably reducing the manual effort required in photo editing​​.


Advanced Retouching Techniques: Technologies have enabled more precise retouching, allowing for the seamless removal of imperfections and even reshaping body contours. However, keep in mind ethical considerations to avoid unrealistic portrayals​​.


Creative Filters and Effects: The trend of experimenting with creative filters in different editing styles, including vintage film-inspired presets and futuristic glitch effects, has surged. These filters allow photographers to evoke distinct moods and enhance the narrative of their photographs​.


Subtle Filters: Influenced by social media, subtle filters, especially those softening the light to create a light color cast, have become popular, offering an almost-muted tone that gives a distinct feel to images​​.


To stay updated on the latest trends and different editing styles, you should explore various photography blogs, forums, and social media platforms where industry experts and communities share insights and new techniques. Websites like Fstoppers often publish articles discussing current trends. Additionally, Instagram and other image-centric social media platforms often reflect the latest trends in photo editing styles, as do communities on Reddit or photography-focused channels on YouTube. Lastly, following reputable photographers and industry leaders on social media or their personal blogs can also provide a glimpse into the evolving trends in photo editing. Personally, we’re big fans KT Merry, Tec Petaja, Ali Harper, and Caroline Tran.

MAKE THE MOST OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF EDITING STYLES


The exploration into the trending types of photo editing reveals a blend of technical advancements and creative experimentation that are reshaping the industry. Here are some notable trends and where you might look to find them:


AI-Powered Editing Tools: In an extreme example of this trend, you have the AI Yearbook Photos taking over social media. But all types of photographers can utilize the machine learning algorithms of these tools to auto-adjust parameters like exposure, color balance, and composition, considerably reducing the manual effort required in photo editing​​.


Advanced Retouching Techniques: Technologies have enabled more precise retouching, allowing for the seamless removal of imperfections and even reshaping body contours. However, keep in mind ethical consideratio

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