I’m starting a new little series of posts called Friday FAQs and first up is a question I get asked all the time in various forms: “Do you Photoshop photos before you deliver them?” The simple answer? Not if I can help it! But usually when my clients ask that, that’s not what they’re really asking. What most people really want to know is, “How do you edit the images you take?”
So come behind the scenes with me and let me show you!
During your session or on your wedding day, you’ll see me making adjustments as I go – because I use all digital equipment, I have the ability to see how the images are turning out and make adjustments during the shoot to get them as close to perfect as possible!
My camera uses a file format called a RAW file. Unlike the Jpeg, which is the file that is created when you take a photo with your phone, a RAW file is a huge unfinished file with a lot of info in it! It’s like a big chunk of beautiful wood that still needs to be carved before it will look like a pineapple figurine! If I sent you RAW files, your phone or computer would get super confused and wouldn’t even know what it was.
The awesome thing about RAW files, and the reason why professional digital photographers use them, is because they have so much more information in them than a regular image file! This gives me more power to make any needed adjustments after the fact. That said, RAW files are just that – raw and unfinished. They need a bit of help to become a finished work of art.
After your session, I take my memory cards and load the big RAW files onto my laptop. I sort through them and discard the in-between-faces, any out-of-focus images, and duplicates. Once I have them narrowed down to the images I am going to deliver to you, I bring them into a software called Lightroom. Lightroom is a professional photo-editing software made by the same company that makes Photoshop. In fact, I do own Photoshop as a companion to Lightroom.
Once my photos are in Lightroom, I can begin processing or “editing” your images. I make slight adjustments on slider bars to adjust the exposure (how much light), shadows (helps add or take away contrast), and color. This is similar to how a film photographer takes film and changes aspects of how photos look while processing them in the darkroom! These adjustments take a “rough draft” to completion! I usually spend 1-2 hours sorting and editing for each hour that I shoot. (That varies but that’s a good average depending on how the light was that day or what all is going on.)
Now guys, I’ve never put myself out there like this before, but here are three unedited photos from a recent engagement session vs. the completed image! Before on the left, after on the right.
Because we went to multiple locations during this session, it was important to make sure that the color and overall style of the images was consistent across Brittany and Charlie’s gallery. I’ve trained my eye to notice little things to create a finished final product that flatters my subject and fits my personal style so that my clients get the product that they expect. The before images look a tad bit “flat”, and the bottom one is a little underexposed. I increased the exposure of all three images. I also noticed that the top two images overall looked a tad yellow, so I decreased the temperature slider to compensate.
EDITING NOTE: These have also been cropped, but cropping doesn’t show in my before & after view!
Once I love how your images look, I turn them into easy to use jpeg files, upload them to your online gallery, and send you a happy email!
Too much info? Sorry if that was overkill but I hope that helped! I’ve tried to answer a few followup questions below. 🙂
So do you ever use Photoshop?
Yes! Sometimes it’s unavoidable. For instance, I will occasionally pull professional headshots into photoshop if I feel that a flyaway hair due to wind is distracting. It wouldn’t look finished otherwise! Every once in a while I’ll notice that there’s big house or car in the background of an otherwise gorgeous image that I missed while shooting. In that case, Photoshop is the tool for the job. Wake up with a plague sized zit the day of your wedding or session? I’ll take care of it – no worries! No need to relive that moment in every portrait! I’ve got you covered!
Do you ever give clients the RAW images?
Nope! Just like a film photographer wouldn’t slap a roll of film into your hand and say, “Well there you go, have a great day!”, I don’t leave my work unfinished either! The post-processing is just a part of the process of creating the final image and I would never give you an un-finished product!
Got more questions about how I edit or have other questions related to wedding photographers or portrait sessions? Message me or post on my facebook page – www.facebook.com/amylynnphotostudio. I loving hearing from you! 🙂
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