LOVE this! Great Read!!!!!
When talking to newly engaged couples, I am always looking for ways to show the value that a professional photographer brings to a wedding day. It is after all, our job to educate our clients, to “sell ourselves ” if you will. So what separates you from Uncle Bob? In this age of digital photography, more than ever before we must show brides the value of our skills and services. We must educate them, so that whichever decision they make is a well- informed one.
The images below, I thought make a wonderful example of how a professional creates an image versus someone simply taking a photo. These two images may look completely different, but they are almost exactly the same. Surprisingly the only photo-shopping done was to clone out a few imperfections in the brick ( the drain and a few small cigarette butts) I added a little…
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I get asked this question a lot, believe it or not. When I tell a client that it will take 4-6 weeks to get their wedding images back, they always take a large gasp. When it’s a smaller portrait shoot like a family shoot it takes roughly 2-3 weeks, to get their images back I still get the same “shocked” affect on their faces. So I decided to break it down for everyone who is curious and really explain WHY it does take so long.
First Let’s start with the before image:
I shot this image with two things in mind. I knew we were in the shade, and I knew I wanted the background of the mountains to be slightly prominent and visualable. So I under exposed the Bride here in the shade. That’s because I also already knew what kind of post processing I wanted to use in order to give her this airy feel. So the Left image is straight out of the camera, and the right image is the over all “look” and “feel” I envisioned this image having. I made all of my minor adjustments here, like white balancing the dress, skin tone, blemish removal, and a few other minor color adjustments.
As you can see this is an example of an image that I would want to send to Photoshop to finish up. It’s got some eye sores and enhancements that I will need to fix, that Lightroom can not. First I never work on the original layer. Always make a second layer, which you can see I have four layers (5 if you include my watermark) over in the layers bar on the right. This is so I don’t have to scratch everything and start over, I can simply scratch layers if I don’t like them. Cuts down on processing time. Or if a client wants a small adjustment I can make that adjustment with no issues. Every change and every adjustment should have it’s own layer.
You can see in this layer, I removed the eye sore of the telephone and electrical lines in the background. It no longer distracts the eye and brings your focus back to the bride up front. However, the unkempt grass up front becomes an eye sore now, and we have lost some of the mountain we shoot for in the background from the original image.
SO you can see in this image we brought the mountains in the background back up a little bit. To really give it this dynamic feel. It gives some depth in that negative space, and gives a feeling of presence.
Now we fix the grass, in the foreground, to help the eye not fall on it like it’s an eye sore. Everything comes back and frames the most important part of this image, the bride in her dress. We used the color replacement tool in the image adjustments bar. What we did was add the plus color bar.
So you can see that the elements don’t always come together in the initial scene, or even in camera for a variety of reasons. The grass is not always this crisp cut greenery of beauty, there are sometimes eye sores in the foreground and or background. If you meter for one then you lose the info on the other, so this is where knowing what to meter for, and how you want the final image to look like, and knowing what is important and what is not. I did take this image with the bride metered correctly in case things were just not working out.
This is what our strive is. We don’t want eye sores in your images, we don’t want your images to be dull and or boring. This is why it takes us time, because for me to do just this one image, it took about 2.5 hours. Some are faster, and some are slower. This is why it takes so long.
It’s not because we are being lazy, or that we are forgetting, or just want to take your money and run. It’s because we are true artists, and we are making sure your image/s are absolutely 100% perfect and beautiful!
The image on the left is in Lightroom, basically that is straight out of the camera. I slightly corrected some shadows, and highlights, and the white balance.
Then I sent it to Photoshop, here’s where the difference between an amateur like, “uncle Bob” or “aunt Suzy” with the really good camera comes into play.
A #professional #wedding #photographer can envision this beautiful image even with dismal conditions. 9 times out of 10 they already have a portfolio of images they can drop in to make the scene a little more dramatic and less drab.
When I SAW this image in my head, I saw exactly what you see on the right. I saw pink beautiful clouds, blue water, beautiful green/treated grass.
Vary RARELY do the elements all work together and turn out OUR way in camera day of an Event or wedding.
First, I dropped in a more esthetically pleasing and less eye cumbersome sky and back drop. Then I turned the merky and drab green dull water to a piercing blue. Then I fixed the grass situation and fixed the color. I of course dodged and burned some areas to make it more “popping” and less dull.
Uncle Bob, or Aunt Suzy don’t have this artistic eye, to really bring together an Image as stunning. Now this is a rough edit, it’s not done, there’s some fine tuning my eye see’s that needs to be addressed, but you can already see, what a difference a professional Photographer will make.
Why chance it?? Did you know that the number 2 most brides make after their wedding is that they WISHED they had spent MORE on their photography, or gotten a more qualified photographer?
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Even when absolutely EVERYTHING that CAN go wrong, does go wrong on a photo shoot, it takes an expert to work with what they’ve got, and know what to meter for to pull the boldness and beauty back through during post processing. This is just ONE of the many examples I have. Nothing went right in this photo shoot for the Arizona Brides Magazine. Nothing. The Venue lied to us, played us, and jerked us around. Equipment failure, backup equipment failure, and even some catastrophes.
What I did was meter for the detail in the dress. The gold embellishments in the top of the dress. I knew what White balance to shoot in that would give me the BEST options to pull colors and color correct during post production. The outcome is very clear.
This is the job of a professional. Someone who knows what they are doing, even in the midst of everything going wrong. Here’s the beautiful thing, NO HARSH on camera flash! Tact sharp, no noise, proper white balance, proper color balance and color like we see registering with your eyes, no dull or overly saturated colors.
So the next time, you think about having Uncle Bob with a really good camera, or Cousin Suzy photograph your special day and occasion, just keep this in mind. Also keep in mind that as a photographer, we don’t just show up and snap a few images. We really work hard at over coming obstacles that come up, and post process, just to name a few limited things we do on the back end.