A lot of this differs between photographers, and how they define the terms. Unfortunately, for many photographers "editing" just means looking through the files and throwing out the photos that they do not like. The rest of the photos are then presented as-is without any further adjustments. This is the standard method used by "shoot to burn" photographers who shoot their images as JPGs and simply upload and print their images without doing any post-processing of the files. Not what most people want for their irreplaceable wedding photos!. Almost all serious professional wedding photographers shoot their images as RAW files. Shooting in RAW requires that the photographer looks at every image and checks (at a minimum) the color balance and exposure. I suppose this step could be skipped, but the resulting photos would not be very good.

To me, as someone who shoots RAW images, "editing" has a different meaning. I use the terms "editing" and "optimizing" interchangeably. This involves first looking carefully at each photo to decide whether it is a "keeper", and if so then making sure the color balance, exposure and cropping look the way that I want them to. I might throw out 10-25% of the photos I shoot at an event for a variety of reasons; perhaps someone moved at the wrong time, eyes are closed, a "photobomber" snuck into the frame, the photo is a near-duplicate of another, etc. Or maybe it just didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. But for the photos that I DO keep, I want to make sure that I have taken all the steps needed to make the photos look at least as good as the actual scene that was photographed.

As part of my basic editing/optimizing I also do such things as make sure there is detail in white wedding gowns and flowers, lightening or darkening (also called dodging and burning) parts of a photo to further enhance it. I may see a photo that I think would like good printed as B&W or Sepia, and make those changes. When I do this I usually leave the original color image as well so you can see the difference, and perhaps decide that you would like that done to some of your other photos as well (which I will happily do for no charge).

"Retouching" involves taking the photos the next step, such as removing blemishes or wrinkles or otherwise making some minor changes to the reality of the photo. I do not take this step on every photo, because it does take more time but mostly because I never know what any given customer might want changed (or NOT changed) in their photos. But I do some retouching on at least a few of the initial images that I give you, so you can see the possibilities for your other photos. If you choose a package that includes an album, after you give me your photo choices for the album I will retouch all of these images where necessary.

"Altering" is where things start to really get interesting! Some people call this "Photoshopping" the images, and it involves using special photo software to actually change the image into something different than reality. This includes doing things like removing distracting objects (or people) from the photo, opening closed eyes, turning parts of the photos to B&W and leaving other parts in color, adding various creative filters, or making use of a variety of other enhancements that I have learned over the years to make your photos even more stunning! As with retouching, I usually do a small amount of this to your initial images so you can see the possibilities; when I see some photos they just cry out for me to play with them a bit, and I can rarely resist! When it is time to make your album, or to print enlargements, you have the option to ask that I do some alterations on the photos you choose.

The bottom line is that for any wedding I usually spend roughly 2-3 times as long on the editing process as I do on the actual shooting.

Hopefully you now understand that it is very important that you ask any photographer that you are considering for your wedding what exactly they do during the post-processing of your images!

If you have any questions regarding editing, retouching, altering etc of your photos, please feel free to ask!

 

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