Courtney Malone

Here you'll find some of our most recent family stories, as well as tips and tricks for aspiring lifestyle photographers.

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My Three Secret Weapons for Creating Consistency in My Photos

What I’m about to say might sound a little crazy, but in the first year of my business, I had never really considered CONSISTENCY in my imagery. After my very awkward experimentation phase (would you believe I used to edit VERY dark and moody), I had finally discovered that I really love light, bright, film inspired images. I started using Mastin Labs presets at that time, and I didn’t look back.

What I DIDN’T consider, however, is that consistency is SO MUCH MORE than deciding what presets you want to use. Among the factors that also contribute to consistency are your white balance, the light you choose, the colors your clients wear, and the environments you shoot in. I truly didn’t consider these things in the early days, but once I did, my ability to create consistent imagery in any situation was solidified.

Today I’m sharing my three secret weapons when it comes to consistency!

Preparing my Clients

This might be the most important thing I do for consistency in my work! Most clients hire you because they love the look and feel of your photos. For me personally, my clients are attracted to my light and bright, yet crisp imagery. They love the softness of the colors, but the sharpness of the images.

A key component to getting that same look for them is in what they choose to wear! My client prep process is detailed and thorough, and I guide my clients through the exact colors and types of clothing I recommend – and why! The truth is that you can’t expect to get light and bright results if you wear cobalt blue, kelly green or all black clothing, but if you aren’t familiar with photography, it can be tough to connect the dots! Honestly, I didn’t even consider making recommendations on clothing until a year or two into business, and it has made a huge difference not only in the consistency of my work, but in how happy my clients are in working with me! I make sure to let them know what they can do on their part to achieve a nice light and airy look, so that I can handle the rest!

Expodisc

Ooooh the Expodisc. The funny thing is I actually purchased my Expodisc about a year before I consistently started using it. After a few uses when I first purchased it I absolutely HATED IT! I gave it another go last Summer, and haven’t looked back since, especially since opening my little all white studio space and felt the pressure for getting consistent whites as best I could! Even though the presets I love to use alter my white balance a little bit, I am able to easily refer to my SOOC (Straight out of camera) image to remember what the light actually looked like in a specific space or on a certain day so that I can edit accordingly. I feel strongly that the Expodisc has upped my consistency game in a big way, and see huge strides in my work over the last year since I started consistently (see what I did there…) using it.

Off Camera Flash

My third and final secret weapon – off camera flash! I was so scared to start using flash – figuring out flash power, my angles, sync speeds, etc. literally made my head spin just over a year ago. But after a few newborn sessions that sent me into a mild panic because there just simply wasn’t enough light in a space, I knew I needed to commit to learning. I wish I had made the leap to learn so much sooner, because it has saved me so many times over the past year as my booking volume has increased. No matter the space I’m in, I’m able to create enough light to get consistent results for everyone that hires me, and delivering a quality final product is a huge mission for me! I don’t ever want anyone to feel like they didn’t get the “CMP” look, and now I know that no matter where I am or what the lighting is like, I can deliver. I’ve used OCF in hospitals, nurseries, master bedrooms, etc. Some photographers will recommend you simply move to where the light is, but I’m known for my lifestyle sessions that typically have the nursery as the backdrop, and that’s what most clients expect. OCF makes that possible every single time.

Fresh 48 Session with OCF
Lifestyle Newborn shot with OCF

Here’s a peak at my flash gear! This is what I take to every single session – and not a single thing more!

  • Canon 580 EXII Flash – Mastering flash has been such a game changer in my business. I never go to a session without it since I don’t know what my lighting conditions will be like. The model I have is no longer manufactured, but here is the version it’s been replaced with.
  • CowboyStudio Light Stand – this stand is small and portable, making it easy to transport from shoot to shoot.
  • Yongnuo Remote Triggers – these are super cheap, but have been far more reliable than the expensive triggers I bought around the same time. Go figure!

Other consistency tips

Creating consistency in your work takes practice and a deep understanding of what you like and what you don’t like! Over the years, I’ve continued to audit my own work, making sure I’m constantly capturing in a way that is line with my overall vision, and knowing what to avoid to get results that aren’t quite what I had in mind. Here are a few more tips for creating consistency in your work:

  • Know your style. What do you like? Choose three words to describe your shooting and editing style, and make sure you can check the boxes on each session as you shoot and edit for those three attributes.
  • Make sure you are choosing the same type of light at each shoot! It will be tough to create consistency in your work if you are choosing a different type of light or aren’t sure what to look for when you’re on location. Become a master of light, and know exactly what you want to work with!
  • Make recommendations for what your clients should wear. Don’t be shy about it – they’re looking to you for guidance and expertise in an area they aren’t familiar with! Take charge and guide them through what you think is best – that’s why they hired you!

* Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission should you purchase a recommended item. I only recommend products and services that I know or trust to be of high quality, whether an affiliate relationship is in place or not. Thank you for supporting this free content!

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