How I Edit My Senior Session Portraits

Let’s talk about editing. First of all, don’t worry. This isn’t some super technical blog post with detailed editing tutorials in Lightroom.

I’m writing this post with some general information about editing styles, why that should matter to you, and more details about my own signature editing style.  This will be helpful for all of the high school seniors and parents out there that are researching who to hire to take senior portraits.




So why should you even care about understanding a photographer’s editing style?

Well….as I’m sure you’re aware…there are a lot of choices out there when it comes to choosing a senior photographer. While that can be overwhelming, it’s actually a really good thing! Now you have the luxury of options, and chances are you will be able to find a photographer who is just right for you specifically. 

If getting the senior photos of your dreams, with your specific vision is a big deal to you, then there are several things you need to know and understand before you book a photographer. One of those things is understanding what style of photography you like for your photos. That way you can find a photographer who is a perfect match to deliver the beautiful photos with the aesthetic you are wanting. 

Side note: check out my other blog post What you should know before you book a senior photographer for some more info about this.

Some examples of editing styles and terms

Once you start looking for it, you will see that many photographers will describe in words their style of photography on their website or in social media bios. You may see terms like “light & airy” or “dark & moody” or some other variation of these.

But what is airy, what is moody, when it comes to photography? Airy generally means the photos will be light toned and have less shadows. The colors will be more on the neutral side. Moody is pretty much the opposite. That style is more dramatic and feels more mysterious because the shadows are enhanced and the tone is much darker and warmer.

Now those are only two specific terms you will find, but it gives you the idea. You can always google a term a photographer uses, or type that style into a Pinterest search and you’ll get visual examples to help you understand it. And of course, be sure and look through the portfolio of the photographer to get a visual on what their style is. If it’s hard to tell, you may want to find someone with a more consistent portfolio so you know exactly what you’ll be getting.

What is my editing style?

So now you’re probably wondering, well what is your editing style, Cheryl Jackson? Great question! I define my style as light, bright and natural.

What does that mean? I am always aiming for light tones in my images, but I like the colors and skin tones to have more “pop” as opposed to being neutral and flat. I also lean towards a warmer, golden look to my photos as opposed to cooler, silver tones. 

My goal is to take what you see in real life and step it up a notch. I like to give images an extra bit of contrast and warmth while making sure the skin tones look natural. I always focus on truly enhancing the natural beauty of my senior client so that their portraits really look like them. 

You can see what I mean in the example below. On the left is my out of camera image, and on the right is the final edited image.

Be sure and browse around in my Senior Galleries to see even more examples of what I’m talking about! 

In conclusion, being informed and understanding what photography style you want for your senior portraits is really important. Your senior photos are special! They are an investment of money and time, and they are documenting this very special year in your life. So do your research (and by research I mean Pinterest and Instagram, nothing too dreadful) and determine what you really want for your photos. 

Know what style of photography you want


Photographer with matching style


A happy senior with an amazing gallery of photos!


Find out what makes me different as a senior photographer!

Visit my Senior Page



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