Behind the Scenes
Many people are surprised to learn that I spend from 6 to 20 hours editing photos per photoshoot! In other words, for every 1 hour that I spend with you on a photoshoot, I'm going to spend at least 6 hours editing your photos afterwards. And your photoshoot is rarely the only one in my editing queue - I usually have several photoshoots waiting in line! What am I doing during that time?
Let's take a behind-the-scenes look at the fascinating world of photo editing, with plenty of before and after pictures!
Step 1: Culling
Culling is the process of sifting through the hundreds of photos from your photoshoot and choosing the best images. I tend to take around 20 photos for every 1 photo that I deliver - that means if I'm delivering 5 photos to you, I'm sifting through 100! Why do I take so many photos?
It may seem like a lot, but this isn't 100 different poses that we're talking about - this is often 10 photos of the exact same pose. I keep my camera on rapid-fire shutter mode, which means I can hold down the shutter and take several images very quickly. I do this so that I can capture your face looking its best possible. Our expressions tend to change in minute ways very rapidly, so when I have a lot of images to choose from, it ensures that I'll find a flattering expression (and you won't be blinking.)
Which one would you choose?
Step 2: Editing
Editing is when the magic happens. I often feel that a raw photo, straight out of the camera, is only half of the finished product! But what exactly goes into editing a photo?
My editing workspace.
To take a photo from the above example on the left to the example on the right, I'll adjust a number of elements: the saturation, hue, and luminance of individual colors; the brightness, darkness, and contrast of the image; the sharpness and clarity; the intensity of the shadows and the highlights; the color temperature and tint; and the rotation and crop.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every photoshoot requires unique edits, differing depending on the location, time of day, direction of light, quality of light, and many other factors. This means that I will take a unique approach to your photos, starting from scratch every time!
Take a look at the following before and after examples to see just how different the final images can be:
Straight out of camera. I took this photo at the end of a photoshoot after sunset.
After editing - beautiful, creamy light!
Step 3: Facial Retouching
Facial retouching, often casually referred to as "photoshopping," specifically refers to the process of editing the faces in the image - smoothing skin, softening wrinkles, brightening eyes, whitening teeth, etc. I always perform this step last, after the best images have been chosen and the main editing has been completed. This step is very detailed work and can be incredibly time consuming.
Step 4: Advanced Editing
Sometimes I perform drastic edits on images to change backgrounds, remove unwanted elements, or even swap heads or open eyes. Take a look:
The littlest one wasn't looking too thrilled, so I decided to perform a head swap.
Happy as a clam!
Little brother is too close to the edge of the frame, and too far away from big brother.
I moved him closer, and filled in the background where he had been.
Big brother is 100% done with this photoshoot.
After a head swap, he couldn't be more excited!
Lighting equipment is visible.
Background is clear!
Step 5: Converting & Uploading
Whew! After all that work, we're not quite done yet! Lastly, I convert my raw images to .jpgs and deliver them to you, in your own private online gallery. This can take some time, as my editing program exports the images, and then as the images are uploaded. At long last, the images are online and ready for you to see and download! And now you can enjoy them even more, knowing the long journey they've traveled.
Your beautiful, private online gallery!