HOW I STAY CONSISTENT
Consistency I find comes down to 3 things: aesthetic, content, and curation.
For argument sake I would categorize aesthetic as overall editing, atmosphere, vibe, all the emotions that your work invokes in your audience.
Content is as simple or complex as you want it to be as long as it works. You can have multiple subject matter but it should fit into a central theme that follows your aesthetic. For example, you can take portraits AND flatlay/product/branding. Your work will look cohesive so long as your aesthetic is carried over all of your work. Your editing may vary photo to photo but overall it will make sense if the general feeling is the same. You know it when it works and you know it when it doesn’t. There’s a difference between one frame standing out and being awkward.
Lastly, curation. This mainly applies to social media presence more so than websites and blogs where you will display multiple images from one shoot to tell a story. Instagram is the gold standard for this.
There’s two schools of thought.
The first, is that your content in of itself provides the bulk of your consistency, ie weddings, portraits, couples, nature etc etc. in this instance you don’t need to worry so much about individual curation other than not posting 5 photos in a row from one shoot OR 5 shots of similarly posed/captured shots.
This leads into the second school of thought which requires more work. This is that you treat your feed as one entity. Every single/few photos related and or complement each other. This means you post accordingly to best display tones, colors, and feeling. This form of curation as stated previously is feed orientated, your body of work is the art. So something as simple as not posting 3-5 similarly lit images next to each other. It doesn’t need to be a checker board but that helps visualize it. You wouldn’t want to super dark images right next to each other followed by a bunch or neutral to brighter images. The goal is that each image compliments the previous and the then next. You can be as strict or loose with this. All you really need to focus on is that there isn’t a sense of “busyness” in the frames from too many images being visually too stimulating, or too “stale” by too many images being more or less the same in terms of tones levels.
The last part or curation goes back to content. If you shoot more of a plethora of subject matter, mix it up. Spread your portraits and nature and so on around. The ultimate goal here is to never let your audience get bored. This is so important. And slightly “but wait consistency??” Yes the end game is to create a consistent feel and brand for yourself that also keeps your viewer interested. This is actually very flexible.
This means you can experiment with subject matter or edits but through the aesthetic and look you’ve cultivated you now have the freedom to explore different compositions, situations, and experiences.