______ SENT AN IMAGE. "Do these look consistent?"
I get this question ALL the time! I don't mind, I love being an extra set of eyes! Sometimes my friends send me a whole gallery to make sure they're consistent from beginning to end, sometimes they send a few photos to see if they are consistent with the rest of their portfolio.
Your photography style and editing is SO unique, like a high def fingerprint. Even photographers who say they're light and airy, have a different photography fingerprint than another light and airy photographer. There are SO many things to come into your style (some you're not even aware of!)
Sometimes I get the message, "What is this photo missing?" because to the photographer, it just doesn't *feel* right but they don't know why- they used their preset, they edited the same, but something just doesn't mesh with the rest of their gallery or portfolio.
As an editor, my eye can spot the differences between images and between STYLES. Yes the photo is pretty but it's not *your* exact style. I can look at a gorgeous image and tell you what is "missing" is the background (it's too busy/dark), the sun isn't at the right angle as you usually shoot, you need more negative space, raise your yellow luminance to give it a pop.
"OMG THAT'S IT!!! YOU'RE RIGHT!" Sometimes we're not always aware of what we're missing, we just know something is not totally right!
Three Ways to Nail Your Consistency
1. Use A Preset But Don't Stay Married To it.
Yes, presets are ABSOLUTELY necessary to keep the foundation of your images consistent BUT a preset applied to an image in ideal lighting vs an image in the shade just won't be the same. Don't stay married to that preset and wonder why they don't look the same! You'll have to compensate for different lighting and play with those sliders to make them more consistent.
2. Utilize The Web Layout Page In Lightroom to Check For Consistency.
I wrote a full blog post about using this feature. You'll want to check for consistency in your album BEFORE you export and upload to your client delivery host. Fix consistency issues BEFORE you go through all the trouble to export (because then you'll be annoyed and be so cranky you missed it!)
3. Make A Folder of "Your Style" Images
Find your favorite images that exude your ideal style and make a collage or make a folder. Every now and then, double check your galleries against those Your Style Images to make sure you're consistent. If your editing style starts to change, that's fine! Just make sure you're aware of those changes and keep it consistent in whatever direction you move!
BONUS TIP: Get Someone On Your Side
Find a friend, a trusted photographer, maybe even an editor (you might know one), to send things to to make sure they're consistent! "How does this look?" "Is this consistent?" "Is this matching my style?" As a professional editor, my policy is this: if you ask for my opinion, I'm just a friend giving advice. If you ask me to do something or I'm doing a job for you, then that's my business side. I'll always help in any way that I can and give you my opinion! Get someone on your side who will tell you like it is, not just what you want to hear.