Before & After: What is style?

Posted by Studio222 Photography | 2:22 AM | | 8 comments » | Share on Facebook

I recently read an inspiring quote by Cheryl Jacobs, an amazing fine art portrait photographer. She said, "Style is a voice, not a prop or action. If you can buy it, borrow it, download it, or steal it, it's not a style. Don't look outward for style; look inward." I thought that was such a wise statement. There are so many wonderful tools our there for photographers right now. There are amazing action sets from talented artists like Jesh De Rox, the Boutwells, and Kevin Kubota, among many others. And I think that a lot of the time, it's easy to purchase those things thinking that they will define your style and take your images to the next level. But unless you can define your style in your camera first, you will never find it in Photoshop. I love doing these before and after shots and sharing how we create our images but I never want anyone to think that it's all about a process, or an action set. Those things are tools. Real style comes from inside. It comes from vision, connection and from the imagination of the artist. Everything else is just accenting.

I chose this image for a reason. This image is a perfect example of how you don't need to go photoshop crazy to create a style. If any of you reading this know me personally, you know how much I LOVE editing images and how much I think that the post processing is just as much a part of the artistic process as taking the picture. I just want to be clear, photoshop should never be a crutch.

This one was shot by Nate and as you can see, this image looks pretty great straight out of the camera. I did not have to do much editing to it. Just a few tiny corrections and a bit of toning and sharpening. (I pretty much sharpen everything, we just like how it looks.) The actions we used were from the TRA set and are our favorite action set to use. We also used Nate's newest toy, a neutral density filter, to help during this shoot as we were pretty much shooting straight into the sun for most of it. Nate nailed the shot in the camera, I enhanced it and voila! How's that for teamwork? ;)


  1. greta, smitten // March 13, 2009 at 11:29 AM  

    lovely lovely image! and i couldn't agree with you more!

  2. Anonymous // March 13, 2009 at 12:37 PM  

    awesome! It's so neat to see how it originally came out and then how you tweaked it to perfection!

  3. Stefanie Warren // March 13, 2009 at 2:14 PM  

    Nate- this image is incredible. And as Zack Arias says, "If you take a picture and say to yourself, 'oh I can fix that later in Photoshop', then just go ahead and slap yourself in the face."

  4. Brandi // March 13, 2009 at 3:22 PM  

    Hotness! Great shot. I agree.. I really feel like MOST of my style is in my shooting, and very little of it is in my processing, because in general I am pretty clean in my post-processing.

  5. Grant and Leandra // March 13, 2009 at 9:00 PM  

    Nice! I completely agree on making your style more about how you see and shoot, not how you process.

  6. Lauren Kinsey // March 14, 2009 at 4:20 PM  

    ahhh you guys are amazing! Love that you shared this! :D

  7. Jamie Burnett // March 14, 2009 at 6:07 PM  

    Excellent advice! I want to see more before and afters! I love seeing how everyone else does it!

  8. Jackie Beale // March 16, 2009 at 2:12 PM  

    Great tip! thank you! I agree with you about not going to crazy in photoshop, unless that's the look you're going for a specific image. I like how you added the subtle change but it made a nice difference :)