We’ve all heard and most likely even asked this question before! How can our images be more consistent? It is kind of like the holy grail in photography. We all follow those photographers who nail it. Their portfolio, their Instagram grid, it all flows together and looks awesome! And we want that too.
Today I’m going to share my top 3 tips for achieving editing consistency.
Here is the secret though. It has very little to do with editing and everything to do with shooting technique.
I’ve worked with over 20 photographers and have edited over 200,000 images as a private editor. I’ve seen it all, but there is one simple step that has helped my most successful clients nail consistency time and time again.
They keep their photography set-up and process as simple as possible.
You see, the more variables you introduce onto a shoot, the more you open yourself up to inconsistencies that are really hard to correct in post-production.
Get it right in-camera and editing won’t be such a drag.
When chatting with photographers who are struggling with consistency, I will always tell them to use the classic KISS method – Keep It Simple Stupid.
And here we are.
1) Shoot with a limited number of prime lenses
The easiest way to achieve consistency is to shoot with prime lenses only. When you shoot with a zoom lens, your WB, tones, and exposure change every time you adjust your focal length. It then becomes very difficult and time-consuming to bring everything together in post. Shoot with a prime and remove the focal length variables.
And while I love prime lenses, only use your favorites. Remember – every variable you add to a shoot opens you up to increased inconsistency in the final product. Every lens has a different color profile and a different tone. This is especially true if they aren’t the same make/brand. Don’t believe me? Check out the blues on a Nikon and a Sigma!
So for each shoot, choose a limited number of prime lenses wisely to keep your set up minimal and ready for consistency success.
2) Stop fiddling with the settings
Once you’ve dialed in your camera settings for a particular scene, don’t change them unless you absolutely have to (a.k.a. the lighting really has changed). When you keep changing your settings image-to-image, you end up with everything looking slightly different and it is very hard to edit for consistency. This is especially true if you keep messing with your aperture. Pick a setting and commit to it. Don’t overthink.
3) Manually set your white balance
My most consistent clients always custom set their white balance for any given shoot. They typically set the Kelvin to anything between 5200k – 6000k for daylight and leave it for the entire day. By keeping the white balance settings consistent, it is much easier to accurately correct the white balance in post across a series of images – even if the WB looks terrible straight out of the camera. When you use auto WB, you are letting your camera constantly change your white balance. A fluctuating WB means more variables which means more inconsistency. You’d think it would be easy to correct, but trust me, it isn’t!
Manually set your white balance and forget about it. The tones of your images may look strange straight out of the camera, but it will be much easier to edit for consistency later.
The easiest way to achieve a more consistent portfolio is to keep your camera set-up and process as minimal as possible. Avoid adding too many variables like extra lenses and fluctuating settings. By always aiming for consistency in-camera (even if it looks a little funny), you will have a way easier time editing for consistency and giving your clients a truly magical collection of photographs.
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I’m a Lightroom ninja who loves helping busy professional hybrid and fine-art photographers reclaim their time. I specialize in hybrid photography editing and film emulation for digital photographers.