Hey, friends, welcome back to the Business Journey podcast, I am so glad to have you here today. Today's topic is going to be a little bit more techie, if you will, than some of our past podcast episodes. This one stems from a question that I get a lot. I have photographers come across my page or see my Instagram and fall in love with my Light & Airy style. They ask me "How in the world do you nail the literary style so well?" Today I really want to walk you through a few practical things that you can be doing to nail a Light & Airy style. If you're not a Light & Airy photographer or you don't want to be, then this one may not be the episode for you. That's totally OK. We have a bunch of other episodes that you can go check out on the podcast. If you are Light & Airy photographer or you're hoping to become a Light & Airy photographer, then this is the episode for you.

Before we get too far, I did want to mention that I do have a Light & Airy preset available in my shop along with a handful of other presets. Even if you're not a light and airy photographer, I have a Dark & Moody preset. I have a Fall Bliss preset, a Bright Color Pop preset. They're all there for you to check out. You can go to www.rebeccaricephoto.com/store and you'll be able to find those and I'll link them in the show notes here. I'm going to talk about the Lightroom Presets a little bit later, but wanted to let you know in case you either don't make it to that part or happen to skim over it. I definitely go check those out. People rave about him. My Light & Airy preset is the one that I use on all my photos. If you go to my Instagram account @RebeccaRicePhotography, that entire feed is using my Light & Airy preset. So the preset isn't all of it, but it's a part of nailing the Light & Airy style.

Let's dive in to some really practical things that you can do to nail that style. Like I mentioned, it's going to get a little bit more technical here, so I highly suggest taking notes or you can head to our show notes or the the blog post that's connected to this episode to be able to kind of dive a little bit deeper into those things.

The first biggest thing that comes into play when it comes to nailing a Light & Airy style is your background choice. Believe it or not, most of the light and airy style is achieved in camera and not through editing. Editing does play a role in it, but the majority is done in camera before you even load your photos into Lightroom. This was a huge revelation to me because I don't know about you, but when I was first starting out, I knew I loved the Light & Airy style. It just was like what made my heart sing. I wanted it so badly. But for whatever reason, I could never seem to achieve it and I didn't understand why. One of the biggest revelations to me was the background choice really makes the biggest difference. It like makes or breaks whether or not your photo is going to feel Light & Airy. For example, I used to shoot against a bunch of bushes or thick trees and wonder why in the world my photos didn't feel light. The background choice was definitely hindering me. The key here to nailing Light & Airy style with your background is to find a background that allows a lot of light into your lens. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from thick greenery or a brick wall, unless it's white. If it's white, then that'll work but dark colored background, thick bushes, that kind of look blends itself well towards a moody style, but does not for a Light & Airy style. You want to try to avoid those backgrounds as much as you can. There's a place that I shoot in Texas a lot. When I first started shooting. I still use that location because it was close to my house. I went back, you know, a couple years later to look at the images that I had when I was first starting out. In almost every one of them, I had my clients posed in front of trees or in front of thick greenery. 

Of course, they couldn't get that light and airy style because the background had no light available to come into the image. I actually did an experiment and I went back there to that exact same spot. I took some friends of mine and I just I placed him in the exact same spot and then rotated them 90 degrees. So now instead of the greenery being at their backs, the greenery was at their sides and all of a sudden the picture felt so much lighter just because there is so much more actual light coming in to the background. If you're out shooting and your tendency naturally is to have that thick greenery behind your clients, I highly suggest turning them slightly and seeing what what a difference it makes. There was a student of mine in my Mom-Photography 101 Facebook group a couple of years ago who is just starting out. That Facebook group really is intended to help new photographers or moms that want to become photographers learn the basics of shooting in manual mode and really come to know their style. There is a mom in there and she was just like me in my early stages. She was using her kids as her models and was trying to nail this Light & Airy style. She posted a picture and said, "What could I do differently? Why does this not feel light?" She was asking about editing. When I took a look at it, editing wasn't the problem, it was the background. She had her daughter up against this brick wall. It was right outside her house on her front porch. The brick wall was directly behind her daughter. And there was zero light coming in, obviously so I suggested to her that she turn her daughter sideways so that her back was to the street instead of to the wall. Imagine being on a porch and turning sideways so that the wall is is like on her side by her shoulder and the whole street is behind her. All of a sudden she tried it and then posted a picture. The difference was night and day. The amount of light that could come in from having the street in the background made all the difference in that photo feeling nice and light. Your background choice makes a huge, huge difference. I know this can be kind of hard to visualize real time while you're on location trying to figure out how Rebecca would shoot. Where would Rebecca place clients? You're hearing this first. This is the first time I've really talked about it, but I'm actually creating a membership that shows behind the scenes of me shooting real family sessions. This membership, as of right now, is slated to launch April 1st. It's not an April Fool's joke. That's just how it landed on the calendar. We're slated to launch it. We already have a few months of content filmed. Basically my husband came along to sessions and shot behind the scenes footage of what it's like for me shooting family sessions. So I have a mic connected to me and I do some voiceover so that you can hear exactly why I make the shooting decisions that I do, because so much is done in camera. I show my camera settings. I show the final image that I capture, as well as like the actual behind the scenes uncut footage of what it's like while I'm shooting the session, the way that I interact with my clients, and  really the most important part, especially pertaining to what we're talking about right now, is where I positioned my clients with the light in mind. For the very first month's content, there was the session that I did on the side of our townhouse, like there was this big open field right on the side of the road. You would never know when you saw the pictures. You'll see it if you join the membership that you know, you'll see it in the film that we're literally on the side of the road but you would never know because the background was so beautiful. There was one point where I had my client's position one way and I snapped a photo just that you guys could see what it would look like. And then I turned them a slightly different way and snapped another photo so you could see the difference. That's the kind of thing that I'm walking through in that membership. We've been been working on this for months and didn't have a name for it. It's going to be called Behind the Lens with Rebecca Rice. You literally get to come with me behind my lens and see how I'm shooting, what camera settings I use and hear me talk about why I'm making the decisions that I am or why I'm posing my clients this way and so on. I highly suggest keeping an eye out for that. If you follow me on Instagram @RebeccaRicePhotography, you'll know as soon as it launches. If you want to join my email list, if you're not already on the email list for photographers, DM me on Instagram @RebeccaRicePhotography and send me your email and I will go ahead and get you added to the list so that you have first dibs at jumping into this membership. We're going to have brand new content every single month and we'll talk more about that later. I did want to let you guys know that this is the first time I'm talking about it. It makes me so excited, so definitely keep an eye out. I'll post about a ton on my Instagram. Don't worry. All that to say background choice is key.

Another thing that comes into play when we talk about nailing a Light & Airy style, is your white balance and metering. Your white balance and metering. A true Light & Airy style has a white balance that's true to color. So instead of intentionally warm or intentionally cool, my goal is to get skin tones as true as possible. So the skin tones that I'm seeing with my eyes, I want to achieve those skin tones in camera with shooting in my settings. Whenever I say metering, I am talking about that little ticker. Whenever you look through the lens and you use your little dial to adjust your shutter speed or whatever. I call it a little ticker where it's this little line that goes across this bar across on the bottom of your lens so that you can see that's called your meter. Whenever I refer to metering, that's what I mean, is like getting that little ticker in the right spot. That means the settings that go into play there are your ISO, your shutter speed and your aperture. Three of those combined help meter your image. So my secret weapon for white balance and metering is what's called an EXPO Disc. If you've never used an expo desk, I'm telling you it's going to change your life. The first time I use an expo desk, my jaw hit the ground whenever I saw my photo in camera, because before I had been relying on Post-Processing and Lightroom to fix my white balance and adjust my exposure and all the things. Whereas my expo desk helps me get those settings right in camera so I don't have to do that in a light room and this can be a little bit confusing. I do have a blog post all about this and I'll link it in the show notes. It's called white balance and metering, where I walk you through like how to use your expo desk and do all the things. Some key things to keep in mind is whenever I am setting my white balance, like I said, if I use that expo desk, it helps me to get those colors true. Now for the metering, I always expose my image in camera for my subject. That means my Light & Airy style. A lot of times skies are blown out. For me, that's OK, because I want my subject to be the focus of the image, not the sky. That's not to say like all my backgrounds are like totally washed out. That's not the case. You can go take a look at my portfolio and see what I mean. I always expose with my subject in mind because I want them to be the center of attention in my image. White balance and metering also play a role in nailing a Light & Airy style.

The third thing, which I mentioned briefly at the beginning, is using a preset as a base for editing. Now, the preset is not going to make your image Light & Airy unless you get it right in camera. That's why this is third on the list and not first because it does come into play. There are some things that you can do in Lightroom to help achieve that Light & Airy style. But if you don't get the background choice right, you're going to struggle. Using a preset as a base for editing I already mentioned, but I use the light and airy preset as a base for every one of my edits. Every single one. Now this preset helps create a consistent and a cohesive look among all of my images. Even if I'm shooting at different locations and they have a slightly different feel, they all have a sense of consistency because I start with a preset. Now, if you're wondering what a Lightroom preset actually does, basically it creates a starting place. It sets a bunch of settings in one click because my preset is a one click preset. It's not one of those that has a million different options and you have to try to find the best combination. I try to make it as simple as possible. It is a one click preset and I do have it for mobile and desktop, in case you're wondering, but it's a one click preset that sets a whole bunch of settings for you. At that point, after I apply my preset, pretty much all I have to do is adjust my exposure. Occasionally I'll have to adjust white balance if I didn't quite get it right in camera. All the other things that I adjust are done with the preset. It helps me stay consistent and cohesive in my look and it speeds up my editing process by a ton because I know every single image. There are certain settings that I'm going to adjust for every image, like it doesn't matter what it is because that helps achieve that Light & Airy style. It definitely speeds up the process because you can do all of those settings in one single click. Again, if you want to check that out, you can go to www.rebeccaricephoto.com/store. The Lightroom presets are right at the top of that page. I use my light and airy preset. I do have other ones available if you want to check them out or if you're one of those people that likes to bounce around different styles. I have an all inclusive bundle that has all my presets in there. They're not like hundred dollar presets, so don't freak out. I mean I think they're like twenty or thirty bucks on the website. I can't remember off the top of my head. I should probably know that, but they're super cheap and people love them, they're highly effective. I wanted to make affordable presets. You can definitely go check those out.

The last key that I want to talk about for nailing a Light & Airy style is like a secret editing tip that I really like to use. This is one of those that I just sort of stumbled upon as I was playing in Lightroom and I found that I liked it. In Lightroom you have your filters and this one is like the circle one that I place it around my clients. I always forget whether you check the invert box or uncheck the invert box. But either way, you want to have this radio filter affecting everything around your subject, but not your subject. I always expose my image for my subject. And then if my background still feels a little dark, but I can't up the exposure anymore without overexposing my subjects, then I will use this radio filter to affect the areas only around my subjects. I make sure that it has a nice feather to it, which basically means that it's not going to be like a sharp line, a circle around my clients, where all the sudden it's going to go from dark to light. I have it feathered in so it looks nice and natural. Then I raise my exposure of just the background using that radio filter. I'll raise it like two or three clicks. So I don't want to do it too much where you can tell that it looks like an opposite like vignette. That's tacky. I do it just enough that the normal person's eye couldn't tell the difference, but it really lightens up the background. That's just a little Lightroom trick. Kind of a bonus if you want to go check that out. If you're wondering, like, what that process actually looks like. I do have an editing mini course available in my shop. www.rebeccaricephoto.com/store. I walk you through how to do things like radio filters, amongst other things. If you want to go check that out, you can.

Just to recap the ways to nail a Light & Airy style is number 1, your background choice, making sure there's lots of light allowed in. Number two was getting your white balance and metering correct. Number three is using a preset as a base for editing and then number four my Lightroom secret using a radio filter around your subject. I hope this was helpful for you.

It will help you achieve that Light & Airy style that you've been trying so hard to get it. If you have any questions, I'm always available in my DMs on Instagram @RebeccaRicePhotography. And don't forget about my membership that's launching on April 1st. That is called Behind the Lens with Rebecca Rice. You can watch me make shooting decisions in real time. You can see what camera settings I use for the images. You know, you can see the final image and what camera settings I use. It's basically like a little virtual mentoring session. If you've always wanted to come along my sessions and see what I do, this is your chance to do it. There is going to be a special founding members rate. I won't go too much into it because we're going to talk about it a lot more as we get closer. I did want to tease it for you a little bit to let you know what you should be on the lookout for. Hope you have an awesome week. Again, I would love to chat with you. I'm always available shoot me an email if you have any questions, and I will help you however I can. So with that, we're going to go ahead and sign off. I hope you guys have an awesome week and we'll see you back this time next week by.

Episode Transcript

07. Nailing a light & Airy Style