Do you use Photoshop? How we edit wedding photographs.

We are asked over and over. Do we use Photoshop? Of course, we do. You want things to look their best. But there is so much more that we do.  Before we do anything, we’re backing everything up both on and offsite.

Do you use Photoshop? How we edit wedding photographs.
Brial makup, before all the hair and makup is completed, we are especially super subtle and sympathetic with our editing.

How we edit wedding photographs

Let’s start with how we don’t edit wedding photographs. Most photographers use Lightroom and just apply presets. Presets are often like applying the same Instagram filter to everything. We don’t do this.

Sometimes wedding photographers send a selection of your photographs to be edited by a third party, often in Thailand or the Philippines. We are proud of the quality of our work, we never offload it to third party editors.

We don’t use Lightroom and never use presets.

After we have backed everything up, we use Capture One to edit the RAW files

We use Capture One, the same software top end fashion photographer’s use. Every image is hand edited.

This is a more consistent and creative way of editing than using presets.

Yes, it’s more work, but the results speak for themselves.

Do you use Photoshop? How we edit wedding photographs.
It is no mistake that very element in this wedding photograph is straight and true. It was slightly off before we edited it.
We do this to make sure it looks great in a picture frame or album.
This reinforces the one point geometry in the composition, drawing the eye towards the Mother of the Bride and Groom.

Even though most wedding photographers skip most of these steps, this is how we edit every delivered image

  • Straighten and crop, so the horizon is straight
  • Square things up if needed, so vertical lines are vertical, horizontal lines are horizontal
  • Crop the image artistically
  • Create and apply colour profiles
  • Refine exposure and levels, colour balance, colour casts. I.e., the overall look and feel.
  • Tweak to ensure skin, the wedding dress, and dark suits keep detail
  • Make sure the images work as a set

Do you use Photoshop? How we edit wedding photographs.
There is a lot going on here that’s easy to miss. The Groom’s shoe had a small scuff, there was a bin on the walkway above the groom’s shoulder. A prominent sequin had come off the dress, and there were tar marks on the stone paving. The Bride and Groom were in the full sun, so we needed to subtly work on skin tone. The twinkles in the dress were very bright, so we had to balance the shot to not loose the detail in the dress or suit either.

Then we edit your wedding photographs in Photoshop

A light re-touch is what we want, not radically changing things. We do not remove permanent marks like tattoos. We are not about changing reality, just perfecting what’s there.

This is what we do in Photoshop…

  • Remove spots, breakouts, stray hairs, temporary blemishes from skin
  • Remove unavoidable distractions from backgrounds (bins, fire extinguishers, marks on floors, etc.)
  • Opening eyes
  • Subtle skin smoothing and airbrushing
  • Fix any wardrobe issues, marks on suits, etc.
  • Fine tune anything we have squared up or straightened.
  • Very subtle colour matching

Do you use Photoshop? How we edit wedding photographs.
Even for the most chilled wedding, we are exacting with the edit. The beach had people on it, there was a bit of litter, too. There were an extra couple of footprints in the foreground that made little sense in the composition. Shooting right into the sun, and maintaining nuance and detail in a dress and the pebbles in the foreground meant we “shot with a specific edit in mind” Of course, we perfectly straightened the horizon. The crop and composition are very exact, the vanishing point for the sea line and pebbles, and placement of the Bride and groom in the shot is totally deliberate.

Things which are nearly impossible to remove / fix in photoshop

  • Sunburn
  • Strap lines
  • Burnt or peeling skin
  • Tattoos
  • Unwanted guests or other people
  • Bad expressions or posture

The takeout here is…

Take care to not get sunburnt and make sure everyone looks happy.

And finally

Now the image has gone through the finishing process, we sort any minor colour matching corrections that are needed in the set, followed by several technical edits. 

All photographs are then meticulously quality checked by both of us. Elizabeth has a very good feminine eye.

Do you use Photoshop? How we edit wedding photographs.
Bridal portrait. A bridal shot like this is as tough as it gets to pull off. It is heavily back lit, so we are lighting the Bride from within the room, but keeping the feel super soft, too. This edit was all about removing distractions, fixing skin-tone and balance. We are controlling the color pallette a lot here, so the bright colours that were outside needed to be tamed. The curtains had a tear in them, there was a light switch on the wall. We did a great job of balancing the light on the shoot, but had a bit of a highlight on the shoulder to deal with. We had to balance getting the colour and nuance of detail in the dress and flowers and eye makeup right with getting a very soft dreamy feel in the skin.

Lots of time and effort

All this detailed work takes a lot of hands-on computer time dealing with files, backing up and editing. Some photographs need hours of editing time each, others just need over 10 minutes. 

Either way, a whole wedding takes many weeks of full-time work to back up and perfectly edit.

Do you use Photoshop? How we edit wedding photographs.
Sometimes, we only need to do a crop, and remove a few marks off the floor!