How We Create Amazing Images WITHOUT Presets || Northwest Arkansas Wedding Photographers

We often have clients and photographers ask us what presets we use for our photos and we are finally giving you our secret to creating AMAZING images WITHOUT using presets! Is it hours and hours of editing? NOPE. Is it sheer luck?? NOPE. Is it spending thousands of dollars on equipment? Is it outsourcing and paying photoshop experts to edit our photos for us? NOPE!

For those of you who don’t know what a preset is, it’s a setting that photographers use and can purchase to apply to their photos.

How often do you get home from a photo session feeling completely bummed because your photos didn’t turn out the way you see them on Pinterest? What if we told you that you didn’t have to feel this way anymore? How often do you spend hours and HOURS on your laptop editing your photos and still not feeling like you’re achieving that perfect look you dream of delivering to your clients? What if we told you that you can cull, edit and deliver your photos in less than a 24 hours? You’re probably shaking your head right now thinking, these girls are CRAZY, that’s impossible! Well we are here to say, yes. This IS possible and YOU can start taking better photos with a faster turn around without presets, today!

Ready for our big secret? Keep reading for our 3 tips on how to achieve your dream images and spend less time editing and more time watching Gilmore Girls & eating cereal, like us! ;)

1. Shoot in Manual

First things first, we shoot in manual for every photo shoot! Shooting in manual allows you to set your ISO, aperture and shutter speed according to your situation. By shooting in manual you’ll be able to make sure your photos are tack sharp, perfectly exposed, and you’ll be able to achieve that dreamy background you see in all of those wedding magazines! You can achieve AMAZING photos with any camera and lens by simply switching your camera to Manual Mode.

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Because we shot in manual mode, we were able to achieve that dreamy background and draw our focus to a sweet moment shared by this bride and groom! All we had do to was bring up the exposure a little bit in post and we were good to go!

See that dreamy background? And perfect exposure on sweet Eloise’s skin? All achieved because of manual mode!

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2. Reflectors, Reflectors, Reflectors!

Do you ever wonder how successful photographers achieve those perfect skin tones where their clients look FLAWLESS and their skin looks smooth and natural? It’s because they understand and implement reflectors! Because we use natural reflectors, we don’t take time to air brush skin, or brighten eyes or brighten teeth. It saves us SO much time!

The best way to get those amazing skin tones is to implement those natural reflectors during your shoot! Find neutral reflectors like cement on a side walk, or beautiful sand on the beach that will reflect natural light onto your clients skin! To take it another step further, educate your clients on the best colors to wear that won’t reflect orange, red, or green tones! We make it a point to educate our clients beforehand, telling them about wearing lighter neutral colors and staying away from bold or neon colors that may cast those unwanted tones onto their skin.

But, what if you are somewhere where you can’t find any natural reflectors, like being in the middle of a field or underneath a grove of trees? This is when you use handheld reflectors that bounce light onto your client! These are our favorite reflectors that we use at almost every shoot! We love the 5 in 1 reflector kit so you are prepared for any situation whether you need to diffuse harsh light or bounce light onto your client for flawless skin tones!

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3. Shoot in Soft Even Light

If you have been our client or been on a shoot with us, you know that we are kinda lighting nerds! Okay, okay, we are TOTAL lighting nerds! We believe lighting is the most important aspect of photography and the KEY to getting beautiful results! We shoot in the best times of day where the light is even and soft. If you’re ever in a bind and or find yourself shooting a wedding at noon, do your best to look for OPEN SHADE that provides even light from head to toe! The best way we have found is to look for buildings that can block harsh sunlight or stand your client in the shade next to a grove of trees. Stay away from spotty light and facing your client directly towards the sun! Your clients will not only love you because you kept them cool on a hot day, but they will LOVE the results.

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Even light from head to toe!

So there you have it! Those are our top 3 tips on how to create amazing images IN CAMERA without using presets! If you apply these simple yet crucial tips, you can create beautiful photos for your clients that are timeless AND you can cut down time on editing! Less hassle for you, and more smiles from your clients!

Emily Quigley