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Before and After- the magic of editing

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

Somerset Wedding and Family Photography


When you choose your wedding or family photographer, not only are you selecting them for their skill with a camera, but also their editing ability. This is where a good photograph evolves to become truly special; it's where the stardust is sprinkled. A 2 hour photoshoot is like the tip of the iceberg; it's what you see. But there is so much more to it than that. I will literally spend hours working on images. I want your images to be the best that they can possibly be. Some images may just need a slight tweak, others will need more time spent removing distractions, brightening or darkening specific areas, skin smoothing or retouching and maybe even a sky replacement, to name just a few of the enhancements that can be made.


Post shoot editing is a key skill in the photography process. I have literally spent hours and hours learning my craft. Each photographer will have their own style which impacts on the choices they make about the colour, tone and composition of their images.


I always shoot in RAW, rather than JPEG. This is a type of file that contains huge amounts of information about the image. When you see a RAW file, it often looks 'dull'. Think of it as the raw ingredients of your image. RAW files are huge and have retained a lot of data. This means there is greater scope for editing. It's possible to do things with a RAW file that just can't be done with a JPEG.


So here are some before and after images that I have chosen to illustrate the power of digital editing.


Before


After

Here is an example of an image that needed very little doing to it. I literally just needed to apply my choice of colour tones, brighten it slightly and add a little sun flare to the top right hand corner.


Before


After

I wanted to take an image of this lovely bride in front of her cake, whilst showing off her stunning dress. This image was taken with a stronger light behind her than in front. I used some flash on my camera to help illuminate her, but the impact was limited by the ceiling being lower where she stood. I then lightened her further and reduced the exposure of the cake when editing. I used a technique known as dodge and burn to help emphasise the folds on her dress. There were a few distracting elements behind her which I removed.


Before


After

I love capturing the interactions between people. This image shows the groom getting his son ready. I wanted the focus to be on them so a removed the distractions from behind the little boy's head and darkened the background. I wanted to show just enough to help give a sense of place and context.


Before


After

Black and white images really help to show feelings. It is almost as if by stripping away the colour you are left with the elements that invoke emotion. Some of my favourite photos have been black and white. I think that this image highlights this well. I have also edited some of the background distractions such as the sign on the door, the toys on the floor, and the items on the table near the groom's head.


Before

After

This is another image that really didn't need too much doing to it, but really shows how RAW images look so dull when they are first uploaded from the camera. But the data they retain is why photographers often use this type of file. I applied my colour tones and removed the horse manure from the road (no one needs to see that!). I cropped the image to make my husband the focus. I just love the warm oranges and browns in this image.


Before


After

Ever wonder where photographers find those empty beaches and parks? Well, they don't. I spend a lot of my time removing distractions from images. Here, you can see in the original image people walking past in the background. I removed them and then proceeded to make all my usual edits.


Before


After

This image also shows how the removal of background distractions enhances the image.


Before


After

This image was taken in the summer and I wanted my edit to have a more light and airy feel to it. I had to be a little careful when taking this image as my subjects were in shade and the background was bright. It is very easy to 'blow out the highlight' in these scenarios, so I needed to underexpose a little. I then needed to increase the exposure of my subjects when editing.


Before


After

I think it is pretty obvious what I have done to this image. After warming the image a little, the bulk of my editing was making it look as though the child had actually blown the dandelion clock. We took a few images and this was my favourite image of the child. I therefore needed to edit the dandelion seeds into the image. A closer crop also helps to focus the eye.


Before

After

Here is a more extreme edit. THIS is why I shoot in RAW. It was a gloomy day and I knew if I could keep the highlights in the sky, I could do a lovely moody image. If the highlights are overexposed, the data will be lost. I know that my camera is brilliant at retaining information in the shadows and so I had the flexibility to edit in this way. You can see that I have chosen the colour tones, raised the exposure of the land and people, emphasised the moody sky and have made the centre of the image slightly brighter. This was not a quick edit!


Before


After

Another image where I needed to underexpose the subject in order to keep the highlights. With the naked eye I could see the gorgeous evening light sparkling on the droplets of water as my son washed my car. I wanted to capture the beauty of this light. If I had exposed for his face, then the water droplets would have become overexposed and the data would have been lost. This image took a lot of work to edit, but was worth it I think.


Before


After

This is a picture of me, taken by my husband. The main edits were a new sky and a sun flare.


Before


After

This shows the power of a closer crop. I really didn't need to do too much to the edit. I just did my usual edit which adjusts the colour tones and the I brightened it a bit, but the closer crop really draws your attention to his face.


Conclusion

So there you have it. Hopefully you have enjoyed seeing some of my before and after images. Some images are simple to edit, others are more complex. I wanted to show you some of the latter, or this would be a rather boring blog! Editing is a skill, and can be a time consuming one at that. Photographers have spent hours learning their craft, both with the camera and also behind the scenes with their editing. When you hire a photographer you are not only paying for the expertise with the camera, but also their time and skill when editing.


Emma at EJ Photography is a family and wedding photographer based in Somerset, UK. If you would like to contact her regarding a photoshoot or business inquiry, she would love to hear from you. www.ejphotography.uk

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