This is the eighth in a series of articles all about how we prepare for your wedding photography. To read more of this series, please go to the index on Preparing for Your Wedding Photography.
We know what it’s like after the wedding. The wait for when the photos will be ready is excruciating.
We try and make the waiting less painful by giving you a few sneak peeks, one or two the day after the wedding, followed by a small number (around 5-10) within a week. This, at least, gives you something to show your friends and to look at while you wait for the rest.
Unlike the wedding day itself, which is over within 24 hours, editing can take several days. We start by looking through every single shot taken on the day and culling out the unnecessary. There will inevitably be the odd few that aren’t quite in focus, there will be the 20 or so shots of the entire wedding party (because in 19 of them, someone will have their eyes shut or be looking in the wrong direction) and in our first run-through of your photos we simply remove any of these unnecessary shots. We will run through this process twice, and on the second run, will also check back against the removed photos to make sure we didn’t click ‘delete’ too hastily.
What’s left is the photos that we will hand over to you. From this, we will do a third run to narrow down the photos to the ones we feel the most emotionally tied to. These are shots which would be ideal for sharing in one of our wedding photo books. They may work either from a story-telling point of view, or because of the significance of the subject or person in the photo or it could even be just a moment in time or expression caught on camera which we feel will best convey the atmosphere and feelings that were woven into your day.
It’s from this third run of photos that we will pick the photos to be digitally edited or ‘photoshopped’. Not all of them will necessarily need any editing. In fact, we may simply boost contrast and sharpness a bit to bring out the subject, or convert the images to monochrome or black and white. It depends on the mood of the picture, bizarre as it sounds, but sometimes, a few too many edits can drastically change the tone of a photo, even take it away from the mood felt at the time. That is not the purpose of editing. The purpose, at least in my view, should be to enhance the mood, or perhaps if it warrants it, exaggerate the mood. If you haven’t got the emotion flowing through the original photo, no amount of digital editing is going to substitute or replace that.
Similarly you can very easily overdo the smaller edits that might take place. Of course, if you wake up with a spot right smack dab in the middle of your nose on the day, you can be sure you won’t see it in the photos (well, unless you ask for it!). Whilst we will erase those kinds of things, and we do apply effects such as skin smoothing, we only do so where we feel it’s appropriate and I generally stay away from excessive skin retouching just because it veers away from reality.
Dasha and I will often disagree on some of the edits and we may go through multiple versions on a file before we are both happy. Only very occasionally do we fail to find a ‘happy place’ where we agree on a photo, in which case you may well end up with two versions of the same shot (and this could boil down to something as simple as whether we prefer the photo in colour or in black and white).
The last stage is to pick out the top 100-150 photos from the day which will get presented in the video slideshows that we now offer as standard with all wedding packages. Check out our <Vimeo> page for video slideshows from our recent weddings.
Once all the editing is finished, usually around a month or so after your wedding depending on where we are in the wedding season, we get to the best bit… sharing them with you! We will invite you round to see the photos and, if you’ve decided to go for a book, pick through the options for sizes, covers and paper types!