Creative vs. Traditional/Minimalistic Editing

Back in May, I wrote a blog post titled, "Editing: What a Photographer REALLY Means." After some time I realized that I should write kind of a follow-up on that topic. What I wrote is not always true to every photographer. It is to my company. However, there are many things that editing can entail nowadays. I am here to describe the differences between two popular styles of editing: Creative and Traditional or Minimalistic editing.

These are complete polar opposite of the editing scale. There are many who can do one versus the other, a combination of both, or simply just chooses to do one. It can also depend on what the photograph is being taken for will depend on the editing style the photographer chooses to use. I will explain these in further detail in this blog post. Let's dive right in.


Traditional/Minimalistic Editing

Coming from a journalistic background, this is what I am known for.  This is when you only correct things in the photograph. Let's say your setting made the picture look like it had an orange tint or a blue tint, my editing would fix that to make it look more natural or like I saw it in person. If the photograph was too dark, I would lighten it. Little, simple things like that would be made in editing. This type of editing's main purpose is to fix errors or to slightly enhance the photograph.

You will find a lot of this type of editing in newspapers or anything journalistic. There are many rules to journalistic photographs when it comes to editing. If there is any misrepresentation because of editing, there will be consequences, which many include loosing their job.

Many small business photographers use this as well. For the most part, it is a lot faster to use this type of editing instead of creative editing. This is the 99% of the editing Kaytee Lorentzen Photography uses. I don't like to alter the way life looks to us. I attempt to capture the photographs in a way that I want the world to see it, so less editing would occur.


Creative Editing

What is creative editing you ask? You may not be able to find the exact definition when you look it up online. It is when you add things to the photograph that are not there before hand. Some examples is adding sun flare, layering, adding something new to the photograph, and so on. One way to think of it is asking yourself the question "Is this realistic?" If the answer is no, then it is creative editing.

You would most likely see these in advertisements. One example I can think of is looking at a picture with a person standing on top of the Eiffel Tower. That is obviously edited because it is unrealistic.

However, it can end up being really fun to use. In my senior year of high school, I did a really meaningful project about students who have lost a sibling one way or another. I asked each of them to either go to their gravesite or to their cross on the road and take the photographs. I also had them write a letter to their sibling as well. I took bits and pieces of that letter and put them overtop of the photographs. This changed the way the photographs were received to the audience and gave them more background.


Is Black & White Considered Creative or Traditional Editing?

Short answer: it depends. There are black and white (B&W) photographs in the news field and some are just because the whole page needs to be in B&W. However, if it is for personal use, like portraits, it can be considered creative. If this is what you are looking for in your portrait photographs, check with the photographer to see if this is something than can and will do.

I love to do black and white photographs, but I just never have the opportunity to do so.


There is really no right or wrong way when it comes to editing preferences, especially when it comes to portrait photography. There are just some photographers that prefer one to the other. Always ask and be upfront on what you want from your portrait session.

Kaytee Lorentzen
Owner & Photographer | Kaytee Lorentzen Photography