The funny thing about photography is that the easy part is taking the pictures. What many people don't realize is that there are literally hundreds of hours of work after we've had fun running around snapping those photos. Especially with wedding photography when everyone wants to look perfect and there are thousands of photographs to sift through, it can become quite the labor of love.
But there is nothing quite so exciting to me as taking a "nice enough" photo and transforming it into a piece of art. I love watching as the colours begin to shine and details come into focus. I confess I often find myself flipping back and forth between the original and the edited photo. Maybe I should admit I have little too much fun with it.
My goal with every photo is to capture its essence, which means that although I may need to do some serious photoshopping (like swapping heads when someone was blinking), my main intent is to simply enhance what is already there.
I thought I would give you a glimpse into the "behind the scenes" of photography. Below are a couple examples of photos I have polished up over the years. Click on the images to see them full size.
This first photo was my end of term assignment for my photography course, which was to take a portrait shot of a woman using 100% artificial lighting. With few other models readily available I became both model and photographer for this one!
I fiddled for an hour with my makeshift lighting setup (I believe I used a total of 14 different lights on this set, including some lamps from the office), and since I didn't even own a remote at the time, I simply set the timer and ran back to my chair for every. single. shot. So glad no one was watching.
There wasn't a ton of hard-core editing that went into this one—mostly just a bit of fiddling with the colours and tone, some darkening around the edges, and of course a nice crop job to get rid of the lovely LED light photobombing in the back. However, this photo is a good example of how simple adjustments can turn an "okay" photo into what my tutor dubbed a "masterpiece".
Family photography. This is the champ when it comes to face-swapping. Especially if there's little kids in the photo, it always seems like there's somebody blinking, looking away, talking, or looking totally annoyed. While colour doctoring is usually kept to a minimum, it's not uncommon for me to need to blend one, two, or more photos together so that everyone has that angelic smile, eyes open and looking at the camera.
You'll notice in this particular photo that the left third of the photo was completely replaced, changing my expression, opening my sister's eyes, and introducing the adorable Gina into the scene.
Here's an example where a bit of both was required. If you look reeeeeally closely, you'll notice that her nose was smashed up against his awkwardly. Fixed that. And that advertisement on the left? Had to go.
This is probably one of my favourite photos for its texture and colours. I remember as I was taking the photo that I was already looking forward to editing it. I love my job!
I could show you hundreds of examples of pictures that have been tweaked and adjusted to make them ready for presentation, but hopefully this gave you a glimpse of what goes into the nice pictures you see hanging on people's walls. Though sometimes time-consuming, photo editing is definitely one of my favourite things to do!