Why You Want Your Photographer to Professionally Process their Images.
I have had my clients ask me this question a lot lately. I feel like with all of the articles being published on how brides (in particular) can save money by asking their photographer to “shoot and burn” or “not edit” images, it is doing such a disservice to so many people who don’t know what that actually means. So I am going to explain it once and for all. When photographers edit or process their images, we use photography programs such as Photoshop or Lightroom to not only color correct, crop, or touch up some unsightly or distracting things from the image, but we use tools that help us achieve the color and look of an image that becomes our style, or the look of the image we are known for. When researching photographers for any event or purpose, the photographer’s style has to be one you are attracted to. Some artists process their images light and airy, some with more dramatic lighting, some people over expose, some people underexpose, some use textures and presets to add cool skies, sun flare, or mimic the look of film. The list goes on and on. The point is, every photographer has their own style and when you hire them it’s because you love how their images look. What you might not know is that even though we have really expensive cameras, our images do NOT look like what is on our blogs, social media and websites straight out of the camera. They usually need a little tweaking; sometimes even a lot of tweaking. Do you really want images where your blemishes are not touched up or where garbage in the grass can be seen? Are those the kinds of images you want displayed in your home? Didn’t think so. I’ve compiled a few of my images that will show you the difference between what I actually photographed and how I processed the image and delivered it to my client. I think you will probably agree that the processed version is much more desirable.
In this image, the photo on the left is what I took, the photo on the right is how I processed it. I didn’t do all that much to this one, just warmed it up a bit. But I think it looks so much prettier when I add my special touch to it. It was later in the afternoon and that glow was in the sky. I wanted to showcase that in this silhouette. Plus the warmth makes it a little more romantic, in my opinion.
I just won an international photography award for this image. You can see that the image on the left is very cold. It has a lot of bluish tones and not a lot of contrast and punch. When I tell you the light in that spot was blinding and so beautiful, but what I saw through my viewfinder didn’t do justice to how it looked. When I warm it up and add contrast, the feel of the image completely changes. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And it is more representative of the actual colors at that time of day.
When I took this image, the light was so spectacular. It was a September wedding and there was a warm glow. I knew exactly how I wanted this image to look when I finished processing it. Most times when I shoot something I can see the finished result in my brain already. I know what I want it to look like. That is one of the reasons when I show a client the back of my camera and they are thrilled, I basically tell them “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” I know when they see the final image, they will be even more wowed. I think this was one of those moments. If you also notice in the finished image, the white pole is removed. You might ask why I didn’t position her body to cover the pole to begin with. I actually did, but the light right in that spot caused a hot spot on her face because of the light wind moving the leaves in the tree so I moved her one step to the right and the light was perfect. I knew I could remove the pole in post processing. The bride loved this image and I think if she saw the before with the pole, she definitely would not have loved it as much.
Sometimes I feel an image just looks better in black and white. This was one of them. I was shooting this image for a silhouette. However, I was standing on a trampoline with the couple and bouncing up and down and focusing was not an easy task (plus it was 5 degrees out. And yes, they are not wearing outerwear because they didn’t want it in the photos. We are all crazy!) As you can see, I got rid of the top of the houses in the lower left corner because I didn’t like them and I had a few dust spots in the sky I got rid of. But if I didn’t process this image, my client would not have received this image as I had wanted to create it.
The straight out of the camera on this one isn’t that bad. However, my style has a bit more contrast and depth in the shadows. I prefer my subjects to really stand out so I like darker shadows and edges and a little lighter in the center. I also like my colors to pop. I tweaked it just a little and you can really see the difference in the finished image.
Processing and editing is so important in every genre of photography, but it’s essential when doing head shots. Even men need a little tweaking and touching up to put their best face forward. Just a little color correction, softening of the skin and touch up the light reflection is all I needed to perfect this image. I would never dream of presenting my client the unretouched image on the left.
I hope you now have a better understanding of what post processsing means and why it is so essential when hiring a photographer that your images be professionally processed and not just a “shoot and burn” job. We spend hours perfecting our images so we can be proud of what we present to you and in turn, you are proud to display them in your home or office or in your marketing material. I would rather have fewer perfect images instead of “all” of the images taken. In most cases, more isn’t better. Seeing the outtakes, blinks, awful camera angles, missed shots and “junk” are not adding value to your session. The artist taking time to offer you perfected images will be worth the money spent.