Photography Tips | Editing, Lighting & Why It’s Okay to be Inconsistent

Now a days it seems all the Photographers and Photography Workshops want to teach consistent editing as a major rule. While I see the benefits in this, I for one just can’t hold to it. So, this is for all you photographers out there who aren’t beholden to one style, and don’t want to be.

Come behind the scenes with me on a photo shoot of Pure Kismet and many different moods.

backlit image of woman model learn photography editing tips natural posing prompts

Recently, my facebook photography page had been invited to like the FB page for Reclamation Design Company . They offer unique handmade dresses, and as a photographer I Love This Stuff. These vintage dresses were gorgeous and I immediately followed them and spent the next week stalking there posts and Instagram absolutely in Awe of the dresses.

The universe must have been listening because it wasn’t but a few days later that I had the offer to shoot with Kelly @followfearfindbeauty . And she just happened to be in possession of one of these magnificent dresses.

We decided a sunset photo shoot at Kaena Point (in North Shore, Oahu) would be perfect for the dress and concept. The shoot was loosely based around the concept of wild and free beauty, in a gypsy soul style.

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Since the dress already embodied the bohemian style of a gypsy soul it was pretty easy to capture the original photo shoot concept we were after. But while we were shooting the mood shape-shifted… many times.

First Kelly was a fashion model straight out of a magazine editorial.

moody image of woman model learn photography editing and posing tips fashion

Though I may have read too many western romances in my young adult life, because she looked like a heroin right off a romance book cover. I couldn’t help but continue in that direction with these edits.

Then she morphed into a woman of mood and mystery.

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Here the mood was dark and dreamy. I felt a yearning for some unknown and I allowed this feeling to take over in my edits.

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The moody edits showed the ethereal beauty of the dress and the deep + sometimes dark mysteries of a woman.

moody image of high fashion model  photography editing tips
She wears strength and darkness equally well

The last 4 shots were all in the same instance of Kelly laying on a rock with the wind blowing the dress.

By using different edits and cropping at an angle you get a completely different feel.

before and after images sooc learn photography editing tips
The SOOC of the First of the Moody Edits and the layout of the others.
moody image of high fashion model outdoors in harsh light photography editing tips
The Edit

You can see how the straight out of camera image has a moody feel to it already. This prompted me to make these edits dark and emotional. By cropping at different angles you are able to get a multitude of different styles and looks out of one set of images.

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Just a few changes to posture and brightening up the image will give you a whole different feel. As a photographer, I love harsh light and way it gives such drama to a look.

moody image of high fashion model outdoors in harsh light photography editing tips

This goes against a few other photography rules I am constantly hearing and reading. Like avoid harsh light and be consistent in your lighting.

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It is true harsh light is difficult to shoot in. But by playing with it in your photography, you can bring out marvelous shots and expand your capabilities as a photographer.

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An Example of how shooting in shadow will give even consistent light… BUT

Photography skills come from constant practice and working out of your comfort zone.

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Here we decided to keep her backpack on to create a candid feel of a true wandering soul.

The hat shadows out her eyes giving a bit of mystery and the harsh light of pre golden hour enhances the feeling of a natural happening.


Once golden hour hit and the sun moved behind the mountain a bit I started shooting into the sun. The backlight causes such a contrasty dreamy effect that I particularly love in photography.

I shoot backlit whenever I can.

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We decided to take advantage of the lighting and play with some of her accessories to create an in the moment, natural mood.

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Kelly putting on her earrings

By having Kelly put on her earrings and swinging her necklace into the sun, we created different and unique images to go with our candid photography concept.

One of the biggest goals I had for the shoot was Movement! I wanted to see that dress moving and Kelly’s hair flowing in the wind. We created this by running!

candid pose of model running in natural light outdoors posing guide learn photography

Kelly was a bit unsure of these after seeing them on camera but I assured her they would be amazing. They ended up being some of my favorites. And I kept way too many because I couldn’t bear to delete them.

candid pose of model in natural light outdoors posing guide learn photography
candid pose of model in natural light outdoors posing guide learn photography
candid pose of model in natural light outdoors posing guide learn photography

After the flood of adrenaline we were a little amped up and things got a little weird. But thats the fun of being a creative. The weird stuff is the good stuff.

Apparently models chomping on flowers will get the creative juices flowing.

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I created this image by holding the tail of the skirt up to the camera and letting the wind do the rest.
unique pose of model in natural light outdoors posing guide learn photography
creative fashion photo shoot outdoors posing guide learn photography
Gypsy Heart full of Wanderlust

With the sun setting and the cotton candy skies arriving we finally wound down. This time is the best for close up portraits as you get a good clean light that makes your model or client absolutely glow.

candid portrait of model in natural light outdoors posing guide learn photography

Though Kelly needed no help with that.

candid portrait of model in natural light outdoors posing guide learn photography

Do you see why I throw all consistency to the wind? For me each image portrays a mood and to go against that natural captured feeling just won’t do the picture justice.

I don’t want to be consistent in the same colors. And I certainly don’t want to be held to only edit “light and airy” or “moody” or “candid”.

Being consistent in high quality images that convey an emotion is how I want to be known. Having the viewer to feel something when they look at one of my images is what I strive for.

Get out there and get out of your comfort zone and Shoot for The Mood!

How do you feel? Ready for an epic photo shoot?