Earlier this year a college friend of mine shared on Facebook that she was getting rid of some nice outdoorsy sandals. Trust me... I'm going somewhere with this! I'd actually had my eye on some of those and suddenly it hit me, "Ah! I could trade her!". Now listen, doing trades and promotions and giveaways and discounts is something I've been steering far far away from as I am convinced I deserve to be paid my full worth. However, this was a unique situation! So I proposed my trade - a photoshoot for the sandals. Sold!
Julianne and I were in the same sorority in college and, as it turned out, she had a less-than-satisfactory experience just a few months prior with a different photographer. She had actually won a giveaway with this other photographer and, after weeks of wondering where her photos were and when they'd be delivered, she realized she was being ghosted! That broke my heart. Her partner already took some convincing to be open to doing a photoshoot so losing the photos after all that hard work obviously left a bad taste in their mouth. She said, "If I can convince Avery to try it again, we're in!". It goes without saying Avery is a freaking champ and stepped up to the plate for doing a second photoshoot.
For months we went back and forth planning their session. The timing had to be perfect since they were coming up from Phoenix to Flagstaff. We talked about the edit style she preferred, sent poses back and forth that we liked and wanted to try and basically built up a ton of excitement for our time together. I was extra excited for this session when I noticed a lot of the sample photos she sent me were a totally different edit style than I typically did. As opposed to my natural and true-tone editing with high contrast and bright colors, Julianne seemed to lean toward an edit style that was a little lower in saturation and warmer overall tones which, combined, I like to call "warm + neutral". At this point in my business, I default to my true-tone edits because people know what to expect. But I love the opportunity to do something different that challenges my creative process.
Another thing that had me fired up for their session was my brand new gear! As a birthday gift / business gift to myself in August I invested in a massive camera upgrade from my Canon 6D to the holy-mother-f*ck mirrorless Canon R5. The Canon R5 is one of the best in Canon's lineup for professional photographers. One of my mentors, Alexx Acor, actually recommended upgrading to one of the R-series cameras after one of our mentorship sessions. The switch gears (literally) was largely based on my ever-faltering eyesight. Even with my diopter dial adjusted accordingly and careful shooting, I’d be devastated at how many photos I couldn’t use due to them being soft. With my new camera, we sharp every time + all the time!! (thanks to eye-tracking autofocus and overall advanced autofocus capabilities). This has been a HUGE weight off my shoulders that’s helping me stay focused on my clients and making our time together an awesome experience. Not worrying or stressing that I’ll get home and have my favorite shots out-of-focus is the peace of mind I live for. Julianne and Avery's session was the first that I actually got to use this camera for!
So anyway-- finally, the day came... And it was rainy. AHH. I knew they'd come up from Phoenix and the sudden weather shift threw me off for sure. We re-confirmed that we would wait it out and keep an eye on the weather to do everything possible to make it happen. Fortunately it calmed down enough by the time their session was set for that we had no issues! We did their session up on the mountain and totally went off the trail (as I love to do) to get some privacy. I knew based on what Julianne told me about Avery not being in his comfort zone that the extra efforts to get off the trail would be welcome. Sure enough we were laughing, relaxed and making magic in no time! I was actually surprised at how genuine Avery's smiles were considering his resistance to the process. Referencing Julianne's sample photos throughout the session was an awesome opportunity to try new poses and prompts out so all of us were on the same page of working together to achieve certain looks and feelings in their session.
From start to finish, this experience was a treat. I got to spend awesome quality time with a friend, meet her partner, experiment with top-of-the-line gear, explore new places, try new things and ultimately do something completely unique to my regular workflow. After delivering the final results and seeing how the album looked I am definitely experiencing a little bit of an identity crisis and wanting to play more and more with my warm + neutral edit style. I struggle because, although the feeling it conveys it super unique it feels like high school me... in the sense of, "IT'S NOT A PHASE, MOM!". Neutral + warm edits are very aesthetically pleasing and vibe-y right now, but knowing how they'll translate over the next 10-40 years and into future generations is tough to know. With true-tone I know that my clients kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, etc will see them exactly as they were. More creative edits might feel like try-hards down the road and I'm just not sure how I feel about that at this point!
What do you think? Do you like this creative edit style or do you lean toward true-tone, timeless edits?