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How to Obtain that "TTPD" Editing Style

(and it's really quite easy!)


I'm not ashamed to admit that Taylor's new album has been on repeat for the last month for me. And this photoshoot has been on my mind for just as long.


In this blog post, I'm sharing the behind-the-scenes process of creating this TTPD shoot from concept to content!


First: Save Your Inspo!


For this shoot, I aimed to replicate images from Taylor's new album art. There were many different concepts she used in her media for The Tortured Poets Department, so I narrowed down my idea to her gorgeous set of sepia portraits.

Here's my mood board!


Second: Plan Your Shoot!


Truthfully, this part was the easiest when it came to replicating this series of photos. Sometimes, there are so many props to make a concept come to life—but these were quite simple. I loved the shots of Taylor peering over her shoulder, so I wanted to ensure I had something flowy yet fitting to match her style.  I chose a silk cami and an ivory chiffon skirt from Quince and created a flowy background by hanging a flat sheet in a dark brown color to match the sepia vibes.


If you're looking to capture more of her headshot portraits, any simple tank would do the trick, and because of the lack of color, any medium-dark color sheet would work!


Third: Take the shot!

Two things helped bring this shoot together: lighting and music! We opened all our windows in the front room (where we usually take our at-home content) and set up one of our box lights. Typically, we use two light sources to create a well-balanced image, but you'll notice in the inspiration photos that there is one strong light source and a decent amount of shadows, which is why we chose only one!


*If we were to do this shoot again, I would darken the rest of the room even more to match Taylor's photos. I found myself darkening my RAW images quite a bit to achieve her darker aesthetic.

Next, don't forget the music! I put on The Tourted Poets Department (of course!) which instantly put me in the mindset to bring out those moody vibes in my facial expressions. (Which is the hardest part about taking portraits—I swear! P.S. Here's a post with more tips on facial expressions!) Relax your face, especially your mouth, and tell a story with your eyes. Play around with your eyes wide open and shut closed!


For the specific poses, I needed the help of my husband to position me. If you're shooting solo, I highly recommend using a mirror near your camera to help create the right shapes.


The hardest pose of all was the iconic album cover below... just a word of warning! 😅


Fourth: The Editing!

Culling and editing can be a lengthy process. Surprisingly, this time the culling process took longer than the editing. A quick plug for Aftershoot—it helped me narrow down from 900 RAW photos to just 35!

First, I imported my final 35 into Lightroom and applied a sepia Lightroom preset to match the photo series vibe. Then, I made slight adjustments to brightness, contrast, and sharpening, trying to get the entire set to look consistent.


Next, I exported them to my content cloud, downloaded them to my iPad, and uploaded them to Tezza. This is where I added nuanced creative details to each pose set. Taylor's images feature various edits that work together, so trust the process!

See what I mean...






The settings that varied from photo to photo were Grain, Haze, Blur/Glow, Contrast, and Shadows. However, the Bianco filter was consistently used at 100, with adjustments to the texture settings. But the settings that NEVER changed were using the newer Bianco filter! I used the filter at 100 but played around with the texture settings.

Once satisfied with these edits, I moved them back into Lightroom for final adjustments. The biggest change was selecting the background and turning down the brightness to mimic Taylor's almost black background.


Fifth: Crop and Export


One of my favorite processes is cropping, as it can significantly impact the final image. If you haven't explored the geometry settings in Lightroom, I highly recommend it! After setting my zooms and crops (and making some storage room on my iPad as usual), I downloaded the finals and chose my favorites for posting!


I hope this post inspires you to try this new trend and add some creative layers to your content! This easy photoshoot is perfect for busy summertime because it requires minimal effort and produces incredibly beautiful images.


Be sure to use the hashtag #curateandcreate if you create content around this concept. I would love to see your beautiful work and support your creative journey!


All my Love,

-Rachel Brooks


Check out the final gallery!



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