This month our Featured Photographers teamed up to demonstrate the power of editing! After happily snapping away at your wedding, your photographer has hours of editing ahead of them to make sure each moment is perfect. Below you’ll find a selection of before/after shots from each photographer along with an explanation of what needed to be done to enhance each image.
Dutcher Photography – Image One:
This was originally a picture I mentally marked as a ‘delete later’ picture. All wedding photographers have those, and we’re no exception. At first glance, the picture was unremarkable, not particularly noteworthy, but on second glance, something about the pose struck me as having a very secret adventure vibe to it. Well I love adventure, so I decided to play with that a bit, and tease out that feeling a bit more in post-processing. Making the photo black & white and upping the contrast really brought out the pattern in the wall, and allowed me to see more of the detail I wanted in Carl’s jacket and hair. Every time I see this picture now, I immediately feel as though I’m in on something mysterious and wonderful!
Dutcher Photography – Image Two:
Sometimes you’re photographing a beautiful couple, on a lovely bridge, on a nice sunshiny day, and then a kayaker comes along and stumbles into your shot, and then… refuses to move. That guy was under there for what seemed like an hour! So, rather than hold up the rest of the day hoping he’d eventually get bored and leave, I decided this was a job for post-processing! I’m used to editing things out of pictures (blemishes, exit signs, the occasional accidental flashing, etc.) but I have to say, this is the first kayaker I’ve edited out. When they got their pictures back, the Groom said that he flipped back and forth a dozen times trying to figure out if I’d edited the kayaker into the picture (he has no recollection of there being a kayaker on the river) or if I’d edited him out, but either way, he was impressed!
Dutcher Photography – Image Three:
Susannah and Kyle were as cute as you could get for their engagement session. They had a place in downtown Madison called the Church Key that was very special to them, and really wanted pictures there. We sat in a booth, with them on one side, and me on the other, and snapped away while they were talking and goofing off. The shots were turning out great from a composition standpoint, but the Church Key isn’t exactly the most well-lit place in the world, so in post-processing, I really wanted to bring out the details in the photo and make the light a bit warmer and softer (which is how I remembered the moment in my head), to better show the intimate, unscripted moment between them.
Dutcher Photography – Image Four
The difficulty with sunset pictures is that if the sunset is in your shot, any people in the shot are pretty much in darkness, barring an external light source. Zee and Carl’s reception was at Devil’s Lake, and as the sun set, they stood in the lake singing to each other. It was a beautiful and very powerful moment. I lightened the two of them up, and tried to bring out more detail in the background, so that the viewer could see more of them, without missing any detail in the setting they were in. I didn’t have to up the saturation a bit though; the sunset on their wedding day was GORGEOUS!
Melissa Grace Photography – Image One:
This one was well, hard! I always shoot in RAW, thank goodness! This was June 27th, like 90 degrees and in full sun! We had about 10 minutess before they kicked us off the roof of the Monona Terrace because set up for Shake the Lake was about to begin. So I underexposed this one of the bridal party hanging out, talking, being silly, mainly due to the bright sun.
The edit: Lightroom: Bring up the exposure, use Mastin Labs film presets for awesome color, and straighten image. Photoshop: It took me about 2 hours to clone stamp (taking each pixel that I want, and copying over a pixel that I do not want) out the pole, and the tree ropes. The hardest part was making the building in the background look good after taking out the tree rope harness thing.
And there you have it. Image SAVED!
Melissa Grace Photography – Image Two:
This image of the bride and groom was shot at the East Side Club on Lake Monona. The sun was setting, my second shooter was laying on the pier in the duck poop with her arms outstretched speed light and umbrella diffuser in hand! She was like a ninja! Try that with a light stand!
The edit: Lightroom: I increase the exposure on their faces and her dress just a touch. Photoshop: I wanted the sunset to be more sunset-like. I added a layer for pink sky and water and painted out items that I did not want pink. I darkened the tree line to make it look more night like. Finally, I clone stamped out the duck poop on the pier.
Melissa Grace Photography – Image Three:
The fun of getting the garter off the bride. What is funny here is that right at this moment they both realized that she forgot to even put the garter on! My second shooter is just in frame on the right. I wanted to save this image because of this hilarious moment.
The edit: Lightroom: I brought up the exposure a bit, adjusted the white balance a touch cooler, and softened the grain from the high ISO. Photoshop: About an hour later of very careful clone stamping, I have my second shooter removed from the image.
Melissa Grace Photography – Image Four:
The entire bridal party at Blackhawk Country club, I mean the ENTIRE bridal party. At some point myself, and the bride forgot the tell the ushers that we did not need them in every single photo. She asked if I could edit them out. So goodbye good men.
The edit: Lightroom: Straighten, crop, brighten, and use Mastin Labs film presets for awesome color. Photoshop: I used parts of two other images with good trees and ground and copy and pasted those into the image. Then using masking in layers I painted out the guys and painted in where I wanted my used tree, grass, and ground. This took about an hour.
Maison Meredith Photography – Image One:
This shot of Ethan + Mary was a fairly simple edit, just some lightening up of the photo. This is really the goal when we shoot — to “nail” the shot in the camera + have to do as little editing as possible!
Maison Meredith Photography – Image Two:
For this ring shot, I had to both lighten up the photo + warm up the color a bit (it was a cold, gloomy day when this was taken, + that often reflects in the natural/ambient light). For ring shots, I also like to sharpen up the diamond a bit, + take out any colors that might have reflected in the stone!
Maison Meredith Photography – Image Three:
For this shot of Lindsay + Michael, I did a couple of different things. First of all, I straightened/leveled the photo. Sometimes when I’m shooting, I get a little excited + begin taking photos crookedly ;)! Ha! I don’t like that for the final photo, however, so I straighten it up, first things first! Being a cloudy winter day, I added warmth back into the photo + took out the cooler blue tones. Finally, I reduced the redness in Michael’s ear so it wasn’t so noticeable — darn winter winds!