How far do I go with editing wedding photos?

I am going to explain a little about my wedding photography editing process, and also give my opinion of photo re-touching in general, and to do this, I’m going to begin on the premise that the camera never lies…however I do believe it tells fibs sometimes!! 😉 I am naturally inclined to direct this blog more towards the ladies, rather than the chaps, as body image often affects women more than men, but I do appreciate this is not always the case, and of course, I always aim to capture the menfolk looking extremely dapper too! Every bride wants to look her very most beautiful on her wedding day; every minor detail will have been pored over for months and when your hair and make-up have been done, and the dress is on, you will look in the mirror and see yourself as your most beautiful you…..which is an incredible moment! However, in my opinion, true beauty comes from genuine happiness, and it is my job to capture this in what will literally be one of the happiest days of your lives!

On the practical side of things, I don’t know anybody that is completely 100% happy with every single one of their features. I have a crown on my tooth which will never match with my other teeth. I’ve had an expensive replacement recently and it is good, but it isn’t perfect and never will be….but that doesn’t stop me from smiling because I can’t do anything about it! However, when I made a family album recently, I edited my tooth ever so slightly, so that it looks better on the photos. I’m not particularly vain, I don’t wear much makeup and my hair has a tendency towards scarecrow chic, but I’m happy enough with the way I look, because I’m happy with my life….but this little edit made me feel much better. If I would have been taking my own portrait I would have used different lighting to soften the shadows and I probably wouldn’t have needed the edit. You must have noticed how you can look fab on some photos, but not so great on others? Well, bad hair days aside, the main reason for unflattering images is unflattering light sources. I am an expert in reading, shaping and creating flattering light, so that you look your most beautiful on your wedding photos. I prefer to get the photo right in the first place, rather than spending hours re-touching images afterwards. A slight turn can reduce fine lines on a person’s face, a little raising of the head will disguise a double chin and an elegant body position can take pounds and years off a person! I know exactly what I’m looking for and literally work very quickly to gently guide you as to what I need from you….most of the time this will be something as simple as I stand up tall and you will copy me, or perhaps a slight twist of the shoulders, which can make all the difference. For the natural, reportage photos I will be placing myself in the best position to capture the joyfulness of the day, whilst avoiding capturing moments when a person isn’t looking their best! It isn’t rocket science but it does take a very acute eye for detail to spot tiny issues and remedy them to create the best possible images for you all day, but that is my job and that is what you pay a professional wedding photographer for.

Just to finish, I do check and edit all of your wedding photos….even if I just give them a tiny tickle of exposure adjustment and straightening. Whilst I am photographing, I am constantly adjusting the settings manually on my camera, so  that I can achieve the required result. I might overexpose the first image, underexpose the second and the third will be just right – which is the one I then polish and give to you. I also take multiple shots of the same scene sometimes, to cover things like eyes being closed, so I select the best image and again, this is the one I edit and give to you. I have been asked in the past if it’s possible to have possession of every single image that I take on the day and this is not possible. A lot of my images are works in progress, almost like rough sketches. If you were to buy a painting you wouldn’t expect to receive all the preparatory sketches too and this is the same with my photographs.

You can rest assured though that I have photographed, and therefore edited, hundreds of weddings previously, and I will always give you all of the usable images… I don’t have a secret stash of client’s wedding photos that I keep just for myself! 😉

I will automatically remove any big pimples or unwanted marks etc, but if there is something in particular that you would like to be edited, you must let me know beforehand. However, I personally don’t use any portrait software or an array of beauty filters because I really believe a photograph should be a true representation of the subject….just at their most fabulous of course!!