We are in the midst of booking season! January – March is generally that time for us because many people have just gotten engaged the 6 months prior and are now planning their weddings. We often attend bridal shows as we’ve found it’s such a great way to connect with couples you may never have met otherwise. It feels really good to meet couples in person, show them real photographs, and start answering their questions right way.
Every bridal show there seems to be a central theme that everyone seems to be want to talk or ask about. For our most recent show the topic really surprised me as it has never ruled the conversations before. The topic: editing.
So I thought it was the perfect time to talk about editing!
Every photo that we share or give to our clients has been edited by us. We straighten and clean up the images compared to how they look in the camera by balancing the colors, increasing vibrance so the colors come out, and ensuring beautifully natural skin tones.
The look we aim to achieve is one that is natural, true to real life, and timeless.
Timelessness has always been one of my personal values. Even when I was writing plays, I used to love to write them in ways that you couldn’t pick out the decade they existed within. I love this for photos too because so much of what we’ve seen since the start of digital photography are filters.
When it comes to our style we really aim to have the photos have detail you can see both in the skin and background. This is talked about professional as the dynamic range of a photograph. We want to have a high dynamic range meaning you can see the details in the bright areas, and in the dark/more shadowed areas.
Sometimes we do love the look of a filter on the photographs. Personally I’m a HUGE fan of black and white images, and so I love to share certain photos as black and white, or a vintage filter- but we always share them as copies so the clients have the natural colored one too.
So why is all of this important?
This is a really important topic for me, and one that I’m about to get up on a soapbox about. We spend a lot of time crafting the photos we create for our clients. Not only does a lot of time and service go into post production, but it’s more for us than hitting a preset button and sharing the photos.
You’d be surprise how tricky it can be to create a more natural look. It’s more than increasing exposure and vibrance. It’s an editing dance we do with each photo depending on how that photo was shot and the elements of light we’re working with.
Our photos tell a story together, they match one another when they’re side by side or in an album; there’s a cohesiveness to the session or wedding day. We’re proud of this, and know the value of it.
It’s important to truly understand that now of days many digital photographers are not capable of understanding how to balance a photo to create the look they want. Instead they’ve found other photographers or graphic designers who’ve created the presets or “looks” for them, and then they mass paste it on all their photos and send them to their clients.
You may have experience this yourself in some ways- especially if you’re a small business owner or working to influence others via social media. Your phone camera can snap great pictures, and there’s so many filters/presets out there that can instantly help you transform your photos into clean and stunning images.
But by contrast, this is not what we are doing to the photos that we take. We know what our style is, how to achieve it, and why we love and produce the edit that we do.
Please, it is so important as a consumer to educate yourself where possible so that you can make empowered decisions when you hire a photographer. There’s nothing wrong with hiring that friend who has an expensive camera, uses the auto settings, and loves pasting presets onto their photos for you. But if you’re expecting high quality craftsmanship and knowledge to back the service their giving you, make sure they have those skills. If you’re paying a going rate for photographer, please make sure your photographer is qualified to charge the amount that they’re asking for, and that their time will be fairly compensated.
It’s not uncommon to have photographers who are using auto settings on their big cameras and pasting presets onto their work and then they sell their services for thousands of dollars because…. Well they can. Because consumers don’t know different. Because others are doing it. Because technology makes it possible. Because the styles are popular and easy to achieve. Because no one is thinking about what that photo will look like in 10 years as technology and design continues to evolve.
I’ll step back off my soapbox now. It’s my hope that this helps share a different perspective that doesn’t get discussed as much. I’m so grateful for the questions about our editing and what goes into the photos behind the scenes. I also am so flattered by all the many compliments we’ve been receiving on the look of our photos recently. It’s reassuring that in an age of ‘dark and moody’ and ‘light and airy’ dominance, that there’s people who love the timeless, natural, and colorful photographs that we create.
If you love what we’re doing please share our work via social media, or tell your newly engaged friends and family about our work! Small businesses like us get the majority of our work through referrals and we are so grateful for them. We even have a referral program that can benefit you and those you share with.