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What do YOU do to edit/enhance wedding photos?

Kaitlin Gallagher , Sep 16, 2008; 09:21 p.m.

So most of us are in the digital world, and even some of the best photographers will need to utilize CS3 at one point or another...

I am relatively new to wedding/event photography and know a little more than the basics of CS3.

After I shoot a wedding I load the pictures and to edit them I do any combination of cropping, playing with levels, contrast, and colors to make the image "look right" other than that and maybe some minor "repairs" for a brides blemish or lense flair I don't do much more than that.

I will take "select" images and make them b&w, sepia toned, bronze tone (my favorite) or create a color accent. All of which I would consider "enhancements" and not really "editing".

I guess what I am getting to is what MORE should I be doing either for "editing" or "enhancing" images? Are there certain techniques that can be used to make a good image a great one? Also I find myself editing/enhancing many more images from the ceremony and posed shots rather than images from the reception, is this normal?

Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks! Kate


Tim Schultz , Sep 16, 2008; 10:20 p.m.

I focus on what happens in the camera rather than post processing in Photoshop. I do edit each image, usually adjusting the levels but that is about it. I may crop an image here and there or remove something in the background that is distracting but I don't over-Photoshop an image. In my opinion, if an image needs too much Photoshop editing, it is not a strong image to begin with.

Nicola Inglis - Hamilton, New Zealand , Sep 16, 2008; 11:16 p.m.

I open everything in ACR and tweak exposures. Then I mark my selections with 4 stars if they need more work or 5 if they're good to go (and of course everything else has no stars). After saving as jpgs I go through the 4* ones and work on selective exposures (eg, lassooing the eyes and lightening), cloning out distracting things in the BG, cropping, B&W conversion etc. I also liquify arms, waists, chins etc as necessary. As I work them I change them to 5*. Then I go through again and select 20-30 to fully work up for my website. These get skin smoothing (subtle), eye brightening, special actions or filters, vignetting.

I don't see the post work as 'fixing', it's part of the process of creating the image I want to create. I usually know exactly what I'm going to do to it as I shoot it and some of that can't be done in camera.

David Schilling - Chicago, Illinois , Sep 16, 2008; 11:27 p.m.

Look into joining NAPP and you might want to explore: http://www.kelbytraining.com/dvds/index.html

Marc Williams , Sep 17, 2008; 05:12 a.m.

How much post work is done depends on what your style and vision may be for wedding images ... and that can vary greatly from photographer to photographer.

There are really two basic aspects to delivering a vision or style ... "the content": meaning what you take photos of, and when .... and "the presentation": meaning how much or how little you enhance those images afterwards to further apply your vision or style.

What I think the purist mean when they say that too much Photoshop equals a weak image, is that poor content can't really be saved or masked by stellar presentation techniques ... it just becomes smoke and mirrors.

However, great presentation techniques can and do enhance excellent content ... as evidenced by many of the top wedding photographers work.

Photoshop is a much maligned, albeit often over-used tool. Before digital this type of work was done in the darkroom, and by very specialized retouchers. The same negative in the hands of a beginner often resulted in a junk print no matter how well shot the neg was ... But in the hands of a master printer resulted in a sparkling thing of shimmering beauty. Same content, different abilities in post work. Photoshop is no different.

Tyler Hunter , Sep 18, 2008; 09:21 a.m.

I think you should do as much photo editing as you want. Do whatever you think makes your pictures look their very best. If you want to do all types of creative and crazy photoshop actions and effects to your wedding pictures you should. There are plenty of brides out there who love effects and want ultra creative pictures. Why would you want to be plain and boring and only do limited editing just because some other photographer thinks its to much or you must have weak images because you over edit ? I suggest looking into photoshop actions, there are plenty out there that will making your editing even faster and give you just as creative results. There are a few good threads on photo.net about the best ones. Just do a search and see.

Rick Shanahan , Sep 18, 2008; 10:37 a.m.

I use Adobe Lightroom 2. It uses the same software as CS3 for RAW conversion (ACR) but the organizational tools are amazing. It's so easy to work with.

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