What Photographers REALLY Do: Editing – Artistic Colorado Wedding Photographer

If you’re friends with any artstic Colorado wedding photographers, you have more than likely seen a meme or a gif about the grind of editing.

It’s a delicate balance. I feel so lucky to be a photographer, it’s kind of hard to complain. But at the same time, editing can be ROUGH.

There have been more than few days where literally 14 hours have gone by and all I’ve done is edit.

Accurate. Accurate.

I’m basically a monster at the end of these days, which is a real treat for my husband.

So, what exactly goes into editing?

Everyone’s process is a little different, but here’s the general framework:

1.       Upload photos to computer: This can take a few seconds or much longer, like an hour.

2.       Deciding which images you’re going to edit: This is called culling, and it can be difficult! I shoot a LOT, so if I’m shooting all day, I can have as many as 3,000 photos to sort through. I start casting a wide net – I want to make sure I get flattering photos of as many people, events, and details as possible.

3.       Cull again: Once I have a good sense of what photos I have, I can narrow it down and work on the very best photos my clients will love. Sometimes when I’m culling, I come across a photo I LOVE and seriously can’t wait to start editing. This was one of them from a recent Christmas party.

4.       Time to edit! Photography equipment is amazing – the way it exposes photos and records colors is just kind of mind blowing. But it’s still NOTHING compared to the human eye. Our eyes can see the lightest lights and the darkest darks at the same time without missing a beat. Our brains correct for colors with no effort on our part (hence THE DRESS).

Cameras? Not so much. All the work has to be done after the fact.

And yes, some of that work is human error. For example, my frames are never exactly straight! There’s always a little straightening and cropping to be done. I can’t exactly pull off lopsided photos as an artistic Colorado wedding photographer!

Color correcting, straightening, and cropping are more universal, but from there, there is still a ton of work to be done depending on your photographer’s style.

For example, I love bright colors, so always amp those up a bit to be more true to life.

Depending on the length of the shoot, the difficulty of the lighting situation, the need for more extensive retouching, and many many more factors, this can take anywhere from a minute per photo to an hour per photo.

With this photo for example:

–          I thought the shapes in the background were distracting, so I wanted to desaturate and darken them,

–          I played with the brightness and darkness in different parts of the frame bring out this adorable little girl’s relationship to the tree,

–          Something was still weird about it to me, so I posted the photo in a photography facebook group to get some extra feedback. As one of my photo friends pointed out – shout out Kathryn Marble Photography! – her skin tone was a little too green and yellow from the tree lights.

–          Lastly, she had some hot chocolate from the festive hot chocolate bar before the photo was taken, so I wanted to edit out the cup she was holding.

And, she’s done!

For many photos, this level of retouching is unnecessary, but I always give at least a few photos from each session a little extra editing love as an artistic Colorado wedding photographer.

What do you think? Are you surprised by how much goes into editing? Underwhelmed?

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