One of the things I do to try to avoid becoming stagnant and dissatisfied with my work is to try different editing styles.

I’m pretty heavy on the edits. It’s something I love to do. Not in a manipulation way, but in a colour-grading way – breathing life into a raw file.

Every now and then I go through phases where I emulate other people’s editing styles and learn all there is to know about that style, and see if I can apply any of those learnings to my current editing style so I can evolve it.

I wanted to share with you some of my recent editing explorations with some explanations on my thought process and some retrospective thoughts on what I think works and what doesn’t. Be warned: the quality varies a lot in this shots as they’re all experiments.

 

Pat kay - Thoughts on some different editing techniques I don’t usually use
Pat kay - Thoughts on some different editing techniques I don’t usually use

I really didn’t enjoy this edit. I was trying to play around with the crop of the windmills, but I feel like the subject isn’t strong enough here. It feels kind of… directionless. My eyes don’t know where to go or what to focus on.

One thing I was trying to play with (and something I saw when I was shooting it) are the rays of light coming through between the clouds. I ended up using an exposure brush and faking some rays to make it look like they’re matching the patches of sun hitting the grass. Kinda cool, I don’t think I pulled it off though.

I’m also on a real ‘moody’ kick recently (must be all the landscape inspo I’ve been consuming lately), so there’s a ton of contrast here. Much more than what I’d usually go for.

 

Pat kay - Thoughts on some different editing techniques I don’t usually use
Pat kay - Thoughts on some different editing techniques I don’t usually use

One of 3 Shinjuku edits I did before deciding to post this one. It’s a little different than what I’d usually do. Still vibrance 10000, but with a much warmer feel.

Another different thing I tried here was correcting the keystone effect from the vertical perspective distortion. It’s not something most people do, but I think I’ll do more of it. I quite like the straight vertical lines on the signs. I think it removes some of the distraction from the image and helps you focus on the business dude doing the walkaway 🚶 in the middle.

I’ll probably end up posting this shot sometime in the future.

 

Pat kay - Thoughts on some different editing techniques I don’t usually use
Pat kay - Thoughts on some different editing techniques I don’t usually use

A drone shot I recently posted for Ford Australia. When we stopped here, I noticed the moody clouds and knew I could do something cool with it.

One of the things I tried here that I think makes this image more successful is a very hard selective shadow around the car. Making everything dark surrounding the car while the light rays shine on it directs your eye exactly to where I want you to look. It’s not a technique I use very often, but I think with my recent moody kick I might use it a little more.

Also, vibrance 10000, because… vibrance 10000 😄

 

Pat kay - Thoughts on some different editing techniques I don’t usually use
Pat kay - Thoughts on some different editing techniques I don’t usually use

Haha I have no idea wtf I was thinking with this edit.

When I did this, I was looking through some of Jude Allen’s old work, and decided to try something really left-field and semi-inspired by him.

When I took this image, I knew I wanted to edit the clouds in a moody fashion. What it turned out to be was a desat, dark, moody mess.

It has a few things going for it, but mostly it doesn’t. I posted it on my second anyway, but I don’t particularly like it.

 

Pat kay - Thoughts on some different editing techniques I don’t usually use
Pat kay - Thoughts on some different editing techniques I don’t usually use

Lots of things about this edit made me uncomfortable.

This shot is the last of a series of 3 (here, here, and here) for my recent Adidas NMD campaign. Their brief had me consider a ‘film’ look for the series – something I never go for.

I decided to go for that desat (yes, this is desat for me) look with a small range of analogous colours while shooting at the sun for some flare.

I played with clipping the shadows and the highlights fairly hard. On all my images I always clip shadows a tiny bit to give it that ‘fade’ look, but clipping highlights makes me extremely uncomfortable with how much detail you loose throughout the entire image. But I pushed through it anyway.

I also knew I wanted to try adding some grain to complete the film look, so I added as much as I could, all the way up to the point of feeling uncomfortable with it.

Adding grain and clipping highlights is probably not something I’ll do again unless I’m going for a specific look like in this series, but it was fun to explore it.