An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another

by Mickie DeVries and Vironica Golden

Vironica and I met while taking the Fine Art and Visual Expression workshop in April of 2013.  I admired her style from the moment I saw it.  Our FAVE group of full participation ladies was quite active during our run, and many of us have kept in touch and supported each other since finishing the class.  Vironica and I have talked through Facebook almost daily since shortly after FAVE ended.  Our conversations started with photography, but we have pretty much talked about most anything throughout the past year.  We’ve shared our struggles, accomplishments, joys, and concerns with each other which has led to an awesome friendship that extends well beyond photography, and was all made possible by Clickin Moms!

During one of our many conversations we were discussing how shooting style influences the way we edit.  Vironica came up with the idea of swapping photos to edit to see if we would change the way we edit based on how the other shoots.  We thought that we would write about our personal findings from this exercise.

Mickie’s experience:

Vironica shoots with a Canon 5D mark III and I shoot with a Nikon D700, so I was curious if this in itself would change how I edit.  I was pleasantly surprised that I did not feel this made a difference in how I normally color correct or edit.  The presets and actions that I typically use in my workflow worked well with her camera and lens choice.

The biggest obstacle for me was that I’ve gotten pretty used to knowing how I will process an image before I actually take the photo.  I also know what my story for the photo is when I’m shooting, which lends itself well to determining how I want to use editing to highlight my story in post processing.  Because I didn’t actually shoot the photos, I floundered a bit trying to determine what I wanted to highlight in her photos.  I especially took a long time to decide whether I would edit the beach photos I selected in black and white or color.  I ultimately chose black and white because I really wanted to highlight the texture of the sand her son was playing with.

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

I had an easier time deciding how to edit the gorgeous field photos she shot because the lighting was so divine I just had to edit them in color.  They screamed color to me!  In these I wondered if I would have an issue with skin tones as my children have fairer skin than her son, but her white balance was very good in her sooc’s and this left me with very little color correction to do.  I edited these the same way I would edit my children in a similar setting, and was very happy that my editing workflow still worked with Vironica’s shooting style!

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

Vironica’s experience:

Mickie is a Nikon shooter and I’m a Canon girl. I’ve been hearing that Nikon color is different than Canon so I was curious to see if that would have any effect on my editing.  I don’t normally use actions or presets, and I was glad to find out that my normal workflow worked well on her images as well.

Mickie’s white balance and in camera crop was very good on the beach photos, which left me with very little color correction and cropping to do. I found out that we both like to underexpose a tad to try to preserve the sky. I decided to leave the first 2 images in color because I love the bright summery color of the flip-flops against the sand, and the striped bathing suit that her daughter was wearing against the blue sky. I converted the third beach photo into black and white because I wanted to highlight the sibling connection as they raced towards the beach without having the colors from their bathing suits competing.

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

I had to edit her field photos of her daughter and friend in color as well because their outfits and giggles just screamed happiness to me. Not to mention the gorgeous location with the spring bloom. I usually have a hard time editing images with green fields but I was glad that Mickie’s white balance was very good on these, I even asked her if she used her ExpoDisc.  In Lightroom I warmed them up a bit and played with the crop, then in Photoshop I cleaned up a few stray branches and ran my normal workflow.

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

At the start of this challenge we were both somewhat doubtful that we could maintain our style without shooting the actual picture, as style is much more than just post processing.  We both feel confident that we were true to ourselves in the editing process, and we can both see each other’s style in the edited photographs.  Although we both went into this wondering about Nikon versus Canon and other details, we do have similar shooting styles with lens and location choices.   Our similar shooting styles made this exercise a bit smoother than it might have been if we had vastly different shooting styles.  I joked at the beginning of this project that I was going to give Vironica snow pictures to edit, being that she has always lived in a warm climate, she did not share my enthusiasm for that much of a challenge!  Ultimately we both agreed that while there were obstacles to work through in editing each other’s work,  we both were able to maintain our voice in the resulting photos.

An Editing Experiment: 2 photographers challenge one another photo

Thank you Mickie and Vironica for the fun article!  Make sure to check out Mickie DeVries’ website here and Vironica Golden’s website here.

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