| A Note on Re-Touching |

Vancouver Wedding Photographers

Here’s a fun before and after.

Just another day in our indoor office; I say indoor because our office is usually anywhere and everywhere in our beautiful city. But today we are in our loft; working through images, replying to emails, and playing with our kittens… Just another day :p

We have always told our clients and fellow photographers who ask,that we take the post-production on our images very seriously. Nothing can replace good lighting, good composition or a well- thought out concept, however we strongly feel that good image treatment is essential to taking an image from “Good” to “GREAT”! And yes this means we re-touch every single image we deliver as a final product. We were teaching a module class on wedding photography a few months back at our former school (Langara’s Photo Imaging Program), and when we told the class that we retouch everything, they were all stunned. The idea of re-touching 400-600 final files from a wedding collection can seem like a daunting task.  And it kind of is!

Re-touching every image is time consuming and detail oriented, but we take it as part of our responsibility as image makers to fully control what the final outcome looks like. We do not out-source re-touching as we like having 100% control over our images.  It helps that in a past life I was a full time professional digital tech before jumping ship to take pictures of white dresses and pretty people.  We also have the help of custom short cut keyboards; Kubota Actions, Totally Rad Actions and Motiboto by DQ Studios. Oh and not to forget our glorious Wacom Tablets too;)

Here is a look at an image we shot at our latest Epic Session with Leyla & Ali. The first image is the un-retouched version with some Lightroom toning, curves and a light vignette. We think it already looks pretty cool. Thanks to some lighting from our super awesome assistant, Mark G, a low perspective as I was shooting right close to the ground with my 14mm lens and a pretty darn good looking couple, this image really doesn’t need much in the way of enhancement.

You can see the PhotoShop layers on the right, we’ve done nothing to this image at all, it is almost straight from camera, a little LR tweaking notwithstanding.

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Same image below just with a little digital darkroom magic.

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Photoshop can really be overdone is a lot of cases; liquifying, crazy textures and lots and lots of manipulation.  All these things we feel don’t always enhance most images. We generally try to avoid “nuking” a file with too much photoshop. This image, for example, hasn’t changed all that much. It was a great image to start with we just lightened some areas, darkened others, added selective contrasts, selectively sharpened things and took out a few distracting things. It’s still the same image; we just gave it a little polish.

Total time spent on this image, about 3 minutes. Without our delightful workflow tools, it would have probably taken a lot longer.

The key is to not overdo it, and nothing should really look all that “Photoshopped” or else it looks a little cheesy. We try to be artistically creative without overindulging in the absurd.

What do you think? Better after?

To be honest, some images need very little…maybe just a little sharpening of the eyes and skin smoothing. Or maybe all an image needs is a slight vignette. The point is we don’t think any image matters less than the next and they all deserve a good look before they are ever seen by our clients.

This is our art!

Thanks for reading:)

Dan (and Kat)

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