Back when I worked primarily with film and a darkroom the options to style a finished image were relatively limited. Color palets were mostly a function of film type, the contrast and natural coloring a function of the paper, and toning could only be accomplished by chemical agents like Selenium, red wine, bleaching, and adjustments to the white balance of the darkroom enlarger. If I wanted to see how an image would look with a particular toning, contrast, or white balance it would take hours of work to produce a relatively limited range of options.
Now with Photoshop such creative experimentation can be done in seconds. Some photographers bemoan the reduction in skills required to create these different styles in the digital age, but I feel differently. Now that the photographer can see a dozen iterations of a photograph with relatively little technical effort the photographer can focus on the image rather than the process.
Below are seven different takes on image toning and styling. Strictly speaking these styles were the result of image processing (conversion from the raw file into a processed file) rather than retouching (manipulation of the processed image).
If you’re feeling sociable then leave a comment to say which style is your favorite.
Clothing, makeup, and wardrobe styling by Pearl and Company.