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The Complete Guide to What Wedding Photo Edits Your Bride Expects

wedding photo edits

Wedding photo edits. Editing is a necessary aspect of your role as a wedding photographer (though you don’t have to do it yourself with help from a wedding photo editor) and is important to help you achieve your unique photography style. Want to know something else? Editing your wedding photos is also really important to your bride.

You might be asking yourself, “why would my bride care about wedding photography editing?” And it is a great question that we will dive into throughout this blog post.

To start, think about your bride’s experience with you. She finds your work, whether it is through search engines, social media, or a referral. Your bride accesses your wedding photography portfolio to see your work and decides your unique photography style fits her vision of her wedding day. So, the bride books you and her expectations are set on what her wedding photos will look like.

mountain couple portraits

Image by Frøydis Geithus

Sure, for the most part, your bride does not know the exact steps it takes to create those gorgeous images you have on your website and Instagram. But, she does know what your unique photography style looks like and can’t wait to see what you create for her. Once her expectations are set, it is your responsibility to deliver on them. And that means the post production of your wedding images is a crucial part of your post-wedding workflow.

Wedding Photo Edits

Here at ShootDotEdit, we are a wedding processing service for professional wedding photographers. We believe in your unique style as a wedding photographer and our team works to help you find, apply, and showcase that style to clients who are a perfect fit for your photography business.

We are experts are providing fast, accurate, and personalized services for our ShootDotEdit Customer Community. And part of that is about creating consistent images that match your style so your bride can feel confident in the finalized product you deliver her.

To help you deliver on your promise to your bride and continue attracting the right clients for your business, we put together a complete guide to what wedding photo edits your bride expects.

Below, we walk through necessary processes in your post-wedding workflow. And like we mentioned above, many of these steps can be alleviated by a post-wedding photography editing company. Even still, we know how important it is to be knowledgeable about what your bride expects from you and your photography services and that is why we put this post together. Continue on to learn more.

Download the Images

Once the wedding day is over, one of the very first things you should (and must) do is download the images. This may seem like an obvious step, but losing images after the wedding day is a very real nightmare that happens to some photographers. Protecting your images ensures your bride will receive her deliverables as promised and it also keeps your stress levels lower.

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Quick Tip: Avoid deleting the images from your memory cards until you are 100% positive all your wedding images are safely stored on your computer. This means checking through to make sure you captured the first look, the getting ready, the ceremony, the reception, and all the big moments that happen throughout.

How this benefits your bride

Protecting the images ensures your bride will receive her deliverables as promised. Plus, your stress levels will stay lower knowing the photos are on your computer and you are ready for the next steps in the process.

Backup the Images

This is that next step we mentioned above: backing up your images. We can’t stress how important it is to backup your images after a shoot. There are so many issues that can happen with technology, and the result is often losing files. Talk about wedding nightmares; this one of the issues that can happen that cause a huge headache and pain for everyone involved.

And again, backing up your images is something you have heard a million times. But it is worth mentioning because losing images can be a huge financial loss as well as a negative mark on your reputation.

Think about it: you spend the entire day shooting the wedding and capturing the most memorable parts of the day. Then you come home after the shoot and download your memory cards onto your desktop computer. When you sit down to work on your images (or to get them prepped to send to ShootDotEdit for fast, accurate, and personalized wedding photography edit services), you realize the files are all gone.

The loss of your files can mean the loss of income, plus the loss of hours of work you could have accomplished. In addition to that, your reputation is in jeopardy with your bride, which can affect how she views your services and how she shares about you.

Quick Tip: Backup your wedding photos on multiple resources to have additional safety measures in place. That way, if something happens to your first backup, you still have the images elsewhere and you avoid the disaster of losing files.

There are several reasons why it is important to backup your images, including the following scenarios that can happen:

Unexpected (and Unwanted) Crashes

Like any technology, unexpected crashes are a real (and scary) possibility. A backup of your files ensures that even if something happens to your computer or other technology, your wedding photos are safely saved in another location and you do not need to worry.

Computer Viruses

Talk about unexpected (and unwanted) crashes – a computer virus is a digital danger that often results in corrupted or lost files. Whether the files can be recovered from a virus or not, backing up the images on programs or devices outside of your desktop computer is key.

Physical Damage

Have you ever dropped your camera body on the floor, or slammed it against the wall as you were working to capture the perfect shot during a shoot? Physical damage is something that can happen to your desktop computer or other devices that hold your images.

You can easily drop your computer.

Also, your computer can get stolen or damaged from electrical surge or unstable power supplies. Having multiple locations for the backup helps you secure the files when something goes wrong. Rather than going through the motions of panic that will occur once you think about everything you have to do to rectify this situation, put a system in place to ensure you backup your images.

How this benefits your bride

With the potential disasters listed above, it is crucial to backup your wedding images. When you backup images from the wedding day, you provide security for RAW and edited files. You can also feel better knowing that your work is saved and you can meet the deadlines you set for your bride.

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Jared Platt's Lightroom Tips

And before we move on to the next step, we want to share a few quick tips for backing up your images:

Pay Attention to Storage Space

Regular backups of your working files in Lightroom are important, but those backed up files can take up a great deal of space on your computer or an external or network drive. In order to prevent excessive files from causing problems with your computer, or running out of space, you can regularly delete your oldest backup files.

To store more backups with less space, you can also put them in a Zip folder to compress the file size of those backups.

Make Several Copies of Important Files

Having a backup of your Lightroom catalog on your computer is helpful in case something happens to the working catalog, but it does not prevent all potential loss. The 3-2-1 Backup Rule recommends having not 2 but 3 different copies of important files, which would certainly include wedding photos.

The “2” in the rule stands for using 2 different media types to store those backups, and the “1” is that you should have 1 of those backups stored offsite; away from your home or photography business.

Some solutions for varying your backup options:

  • Cloud or offsite storage
  • Multi-hard drive setups
  • ShootDotEdit’s free image hosting and storage solution, Extra
    *For ShootDotEdit Customers, only (see more below).

Extra is a free service for ShootDotEdit Customers that includes stunning wedding photo gallery websites that market and sell for you.

With Extra, you receive:

  • FREE Storage
  • FREE Hosting
  • Galleries built for you
  • Print-selling services (we sell your prints for you)

Use a Single Working Catalog

Although you can have multiple catalogs of current images within Lightroom, this can make file organization and management difficult. Keep it simple with a single Lightroom catalog from which you can more easily create regular backups and only use multiple catalogs on a temporary basis as needed.

A solid backup system is essential to any professional that involves digital work and file storage. With a better understanding of how to backup Lightroom catalog, you can design or improve your personal process for regularly backing up your wedding images.

How this benefits your bride

Thinking through all of the different ways to backup your images after a shoot gives you the opportunity to create a streamlined process. Once the process is in place, your post-wedding workflow becomes faster. And faster means you can quickly work on and deliver products to your bride. You can meet (and exceed) your bride’s expectations, which will make her happy (enough to refer you to others).

Import the Images

Once your images are downloaded and backed up (perhaps in several locations), it is time to import them into Lightroom. *Note: As a wedding photo editing company, our workflows are built with the software, so our tutorials will focus on how to perform certain actions in Lightroom.

engagement session sunset

Image by ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Pattengale Photography

Adobe Lightroom is well-renowned with professional photographers and is often praised for its capabilities. On the other hand, there are several things that can get quite confusing in Lightroom. So, here is a quick list of how to import your wedding images into Lightroom:

  1. Connect an internal storage device to your computer and open Lightroom.
  2. Select the source from which you would like to import the RAW photos.
  3. A box should pop up with thumbnails of your photos.
  4. From here, you can move, copy, add, or copy as DNG files.
  5. Choose your preview quality. Then, decide if you would like to use Smart Previews.
  6. Rename your copied files.
  7. Decide if you want to Develop Preset on your images or view the thumbnails as RAW files.
  8. Type in your metadata and choose the keywords you want to be associated with your file.
  9. Choose the location where you want your copied files saved.
  10. Click “import” to finish the process.

Quick Tip: Utilize Lightroom shortcuts to speed up the process, including shortcuts for importing photos into Lightroom.

How this benefits your bride

When you quickly import wedding photos, after backing them up, you can send them to an outsource photo editing company to apply your unique photography style. This speeds up the time it takes to deliver the final images and products to your brides, meaning they will be happy and remember how quickly you worked.

Organize the Images

Organization is an extremely crucial aspect of your wedding photography workflow. Without organized systems in place, finding and working on your images can become a nightmare.

Lightroom offers you an organizational structure that allows you to organize your images, find them quickly, and make adjustments as necessary. There are several ways to organize your images in Lightroom, which we will dive into below.

Quick Tip: Delete unusable photos to maintain organization and to free up space. Having unusable photos filling up your folders and hard drive not only wastes space but also leaves you with more to sort through.

Set Up Catalogs

The Lightroom Catalog is merely a database of information. Think of how old library card catalogs used to work. The title, author, location in the library, and other information could be found on the book’s card. In the same way, each photo’s data is stored in the Lightroom Catalog.

When you import photos, their file locations and metadata information automatically become a part of the Lightroom Catalog. As a part of our wedding photo editing services, ShootDotEdit Customers upload their jobs with Lightroom Catalogs to simplify the process.

Whether you separate photos into specifically named folders or collections, all your photos will be found in the catalog forever or until you purposely remove them from the catalog. However, the actual image files are only located on your computer, hard drive, memory card, cloud account, or other storage places.

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This is similar to how library books are located on the bookshelves rather than in the card catalog. If you delete images from your saved locations, then Lightroom will not be able to view them. Likewise, backing up your Lightroom Catalog file (.lrcat) does not create a backup of your photos.

There is an option to create multiple catalogs, but the approach is not recommended unless you are an expert at using Lightroom. More often than not, typical users will be fine with single Lightroom Catalog.

Use Folders

At the most basic level of organization, your photos end up in a folder. The concept of folders is not much different than how folders are used on your Mac or PC. The only difference is that Lightroom does not store the actual files, it only shows previews of the photo.

During the process of importing your photos, you will be prompted to select a destination folder or to create a new one. Lightroom stores this information in the Library Catalog and can retrieve it when you want to view a photo.

When you import photos into Lightroom, it helps to do it by folders rather than import a large number of photos all at once. Not only does this avoid Lightroom making you wait a long time while it generates previews of your photos, but it also gives you the chance to organize your folders right off the bat.

Create Collections

Lightroom Collections take the concept of folders to a whole other level. You can organize specific folders with similar attributes of your choosing into sets of photos known as collections. Collections are more of a virtual approach to organizing rather than a physical one. Unlike folders, collections are not saved to your desktop.

If you are a music buff and have compiled playlists of your favorite songs on an MP3 player, then you will be able to relate. You can group your photos together in the same way that you might group music by genre (e.g., jazz, classical) or purpose (e.g., exercise music, dance music). Whether you think Lightroom Collections are the best way to organize photos or not, it is important to find what works best for your workflow.

Add a Specific Naming Convention

Before going into more detail about how to organize photos in Lightroom, it is vital to consider how you might plan to name your folders or collections. Deciding on and using a good naming convention, in the beginning, will help you avoid any unnecessary hassles down the line.

This is primarily due to that fact that when you create folders in Lightroom, these show up on your desktop computer as well. If you do not have a logical arrangement to your folder structure, then it will not make much sense when you go back looking for specific photos.

Also, it helps to have your folder names match both in Lightroom and on your hard drive. The way you choose a naming convention or folder structure is personal preference. The most important thing is to keep it simple.

Options to Organize Photos

  • Organize by Couple
  • Organize Photos by Event or Shoot
  • Organize by Style
  • Organize by Date
  • Combine Organization Options

How this benefits your bride

The more organized you are in your post-wedding workflow, the faster and more efficient you will be. Because you will have a fast and efficient workflow, you can more easily exceed expectations on the deliverables for your bride. When you deliver images and more to your bride quickly, she will still have the post-wedding excitement and be thrilled about the experience you have provided.

Cull the Images

Along with naming and arranging folders, Lightroom offers additional features to help you organize your photos. Labeling your photos with a Flag, Rating, and Color label can make it simple to sort through large batches of photos using the Filter panel. In a sense, it is a way to mark your favorite photos for varying reason. You can apply any or all of these labels by accessing them under the Photo menu in Lightroom.

outdoor couple portraits gray sky

Image by ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Irvin Sidhu

Quick Tip: Create a system for how you cull that applies to every wedding. This way, you become fast and efficient during this part of your post-wedding workflow.

Flag Label

Photographers often agree that the Flag Label is the best and easiest option for tagging your photos. When you have Flagged (P), you are essentially marking the photo so that it shows up when you sort or search photos by the Flag filter.

You also have the option of marking a photo as Rejected (X). These might be ones that you do not like, are unusable, or need to be trashed. Any photos left unflagged could be treated as neutral, not good or bad.

Rating Label

The Rating Label is a way to mark your photos with a rank from 1 through 5. It is like reviewing each photo and giving it a star rating depending on how good it is. You can choose to rate the best photos as 5-star, the worst photos as 1-star, and the other photos with anything in between.

What the rating numbers actually mean is up to you. This is all subjective and not always clear-cut, so it is considered a more difficult strategy to apply.

Color Label

The Lightroom Color Label works similar to the Rating Label. Instead of number ratings, you can select a range of colors including red, blue, yellow, green, and purple.
It is up to you on how you want to translate each Color Label.

Advanced Levels of Organization

So far, most of what has been covered gives you a good idea of the different ways to import, organize, and label photos. But, organizing photos in Lightroom does not stop there. Many advanced approaches to image organization might prove to be useful once you have learned the basics.

Collections

You have already been introduced to Lightroom Collections above. These can be created in the Collections panel. What you might not know is that there are different types of collections available to use at your disposal:

  • Collection Sets. These are used to nest multiple collections similar to folders and subfolders.
  • Smart Collections. Smart collections allow you to create collections based on specific rules you define (e.g., all photos with a 3 rating or higher).
  • Quick Collections. This option lets you send photos to a temporary collection of images.
  • Target Collections. Target collections offer the ability to mark a particular collection so you can send photos to it rather than to Quick Collections.
  • Mobile Collections. A great way to set aside a collection of photos that you want to sync or share on social media using Lightroom Mobile.

Catalogs

As mentioned previously, creating additional catalogs is usually reserved for advanced-level users who know what they are doing. It also makes sense to use multiple catalogs if you work with huge numbers of photos. Although you can place an unlimited number of photos inside of a single catalog, once you reach more than 15,000 images Lightroom can get sluggish. The disadvantage is that you can only access one catalog at a time in Lightroom.

How this benefits your bride

Less is more when it comes to delivering your bride images. Culling through your wedding photos and providing the perfect number of images to your bride allows her to experience the most important parts of the wedding day, without extreme overwhelm from viewing too many images.

Understand Color Correction

One of the most important parts of the process to edit wedding photos has to do with color. Weddings often come along with changing lighting scenarios, of which some are terrible conditions, which means you have a lot of work on your plate after the shoot is over. Color correction is the science behind editing that helps you eliminate those issues.

Color correction takes the images you shot from camera and elevates their quality, not to mention makes them consistent and accurate to your unique photography style. Also, color correction is a necessary part of the photography editing process and is also one of the most challenging aspects to master.

At ShootDotEdit, we provide fast, accurate, and consistent editing services, including color correction for professional wedding photographers. We believe that your style matters, so our services have been created to match your unique photography style and apply it to your images so you will deliver consistent images every time.

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Some of the areas of color correction that are required for a consistent look have to do with:

  • White Balance
  • Temperature
  • Tint
  • Exposure
  • Highlights
  • Shadows
  • Blacks/Whites
  • Contrast
  • Vibrance
  • Saturation
  • Clarity
  • Split Tone
  • Hue Saturation
  • Luminance adjustments for individual colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Aqua, Magenta, and Purple).

Quick Tip: Outsource your wedding photo edits to a specialist to ensure every image is consistent and matches your brand. Plus, save an exponential amount of time that can be used toward more profit-generating activities for your business.

How this benefits your bride

When the color of your images is consistent and matches your style, you will deliver images that match your bride’s expectations. She will be thrilled to not only see her images but also because they match the images she initially saw before she booked you.

Crop the Images

Just as there are many different perspectives when it comes to the best way to crop a photograph, there are many different reasons you would want to crop your photo from the original images. These reasons include defects and also stylistic choices. A great eye for cropping is important for any photographer and can be part of your signature style as an expert at capturing wedding memories.

Quick Tip: When culling, make sure to look for unusable images so that you only need to crop a few images to achieve your desired look.

Here are some of the reasons you might consider cropping your image:

Remove unwanted objects from the edges

This is the most simple and common use of cropping. Cropping is a simpler method for cutting out objects and individuals who were not meant to be in the image in the first place, especially if they show up at the edges of your image. A good crop can remove them cleanly and with much less work than other removal options.

Drive focus toward subjects

Too much background, or other elements in the background, in your image can distract from the main features of a wedding photo: the people. An effective crop in Lightroom can remove some of this noise and distraction, centering the focus on your photo’s main subjects.

Create a better composition

It may be surprising, but there is actually a science to what makes an attractively composed image. By using layout grids such as the Rule of Thirds and the Golden Ratio, you can crop images in a way that is more visually compelling.

Build greater visual interest

There may not always be a reason to use cropping, though you can utilize this option to make the original photo more compelling visually. Slicing a photo in different ways can change the perspective, create more wonder, and naturally draw the eye to unique elements of an image, especially in wedding photography.

Here are a few quick steps to help you crop in Lightroom:

  • Access the Crop tool in Lightroom to create a box around the image.
  • Automatically set your crop box to the correct dimensions, then move or resize the crop box to get the desired effect.
  • Based on your vision for the image, adjust the Crop tool at any image to create the perfect crop.

You can also:

  • Crop with the Rule of Thirds.
  • Level or straighten to address specific composition issues.
  • Dim the screen so you can focus on the composition while cropping.
  • Zoom out to ensure the crop works on a smaller scale.

How this benefits your bride

As you make cropping decisions for your photos, along with other wedding photo edits, you are enhancing the quality of them. Removing unwanted elements, focusing on the most important things, and making creative decisions for crops all elevate your images and help tell an accurate story of the wedding day. Your bride will receive images she will love because you took the time to make the decisions that provide her with the best images possible.

Add Your Style

As a photographer, it is important to spend your time on the style of your images rather than the science. There is so much effort that goes into the science of creating consistent images that it takes your time away from what tasks you should be focusing on. The science of color correction will help you get your images to look consistent using the basic sliders in Lightroom, such as Exposure, Temperature, and Contrast.

engagement shoot multi-colored buildings

Image by Daniel Lopez Perez

The sliders listed above should not be a part of your custom presets. The reason for this is not all your images need the same exposure adjustments throughout the wedding. With the style (the presets), you can take advantage of adding more vibrance, clarity, and other effects to your images. Those elements are not a part of the color correction work that is done initially to your images. These elements help you apply your unique photography style to your wedding photos.

Remember that it is important to wait until after your images are color corrected to add presets. If you add style to your images before they are color corrected, you may lose some of your artistic edits, depending on the sliders used within your presets.

Quick Tip: Make sure to define and build your unique photography style before you create presets to apply to your images. This way, you do not need to constantly make changes after your preset is applied.

How this benefits your bride

Your unique photography style is what attracted your bride in the first place. She went to your website or social media, saw your portfolio and envisioned her wedding images shot in your style. When you deliver on your style in the images you provide, your bride’s expectations are met and she will love the final product.

Incorporate Additional Adjustments

Just like every wedding photographer has a different style, every wedding and bride will differ, as well. Because the wedding day can be unpredictable, there may be unexpected and unwanted effects in your photography that need to be adjusted. Also, your bride may have specific wedding photo edits in mind for the images that will make her happy.

Those requests, plus the necessity to fix parts of images, are additional adjustments that may need to be made to your wedding photos.

Quick Tip: Even though your bride may not be familiar with these additional adjustments, set expectations from the beginning based on the services you do provide. This way, she knows what to expect from the images and will not ask for adjustments you do not provide (which avoids any potential conflicts).

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is an additional adjustment your bride may request for her wedding photos. She may be very self-conscious about the state of her teeth so that this small piece alters her perception of the entire photo. In other cases, the request may be just to ensure that one person’s teeth don’t stand out more than others.

At times, lighting effects and shadows may darken teeth in an undesirable way, another situation where you will want to use teeth whitening Lightroom tools. There are several factors that can affect your bride’s teeth in the images, including the settings and camera effects. Because of this, even if it is not specifically requested, you should learn how to whiten teeth in Lightroom and apply that skill to photos of your clients.

There is a specific tool in Lightroom for whitening teeth. In some cases, this specialized effect can expedite the process of brightening your subject’s teeth, but you will still need to fine-tune the settings and selections within this tool to get a result of which you can be proud. You will also need to use your judgment as a photographer to keep the whitening effect from becoming distractingly dramatic.

Steps to whiten teeth in Lightroom

  • Select the teeth whitening effect in the Develop module.
  • Choose your brush size (note: start with a brush size that fits the size of the teeth).
  • Decide whether or not to use auto mask to apply the whitening effect to just the teeth.
  • Paint over teeth with the brush to apply the whitening effect.

To make it look natural, focus on:

Maintaining the balance between a bright but natural smile is something that comes with time spent working with the tools and a better understanding of what looks best in photos. An example of whitening gone wrong is when the yellow is removed through a high level of desaturation, the teeth can look dull and lifeless. This is not the desired effect. Keeping just the right amount of yellow or ivory tone to the teeth in your Lightroom whitening process will make the resulting smiles look more healthy and natural.

To avoid the teeth looking unnatural, you can work on each smile individually. Changing all the teeth of a full wedding party with the same brush settings may seem like a shortcut, but every smile is different. The individual attention to each person’s teeth ensures you create natural-looking teeth for everyone involved in the photos.

Understanding how to whiten teeth in Lightroom is a critical skill that with patience and practice can be developed over time. As a wedding photographer, this common request can take up a significant amount of time and effort, and that is why making the leap to outsource photography editing to a specialist, like ShootDotEdit, can take the rest of the heavy lifting off your plate, leaving you to only make adjustments (like teeth whitening) when necessary.

Black and White Converting

As a wedding photographer, you have a unique photography style and specifics on how your images should look. A popular adjustment for your wedding photos is to convert the images to black and white. Knowing which images should be black and white can be simple, as long as you know what to look for and what goal you want to achieve.

black and white sparkler exit

Image by David West Photography

Here are a few tips to help you make decisions on the best images to convert to black and white:

  • Shoot for black and white. Just as you should shoot for the story of the wedding day, shoot for photos that will look best in black and white. When you train your eye to capture moments during the wedding to convert black and white, it will be easier to identify those photos during your post-wedding workflow.
  • Enhance bland photos. This technique can also be useful when you are shooting background or location images which are not particularly interesting. For example, a picture of a more run-down church can be enhanced when you use a black and white setting over it.

How this benefits your bride

When you shoot specifically for black and white moments, you create unique memories and moments for the bride. Also, when you convert images to black and white, you provide variety from the wedding day, giving her plenty of options to choose from when she wants to share with her loved ones or have prints made.

Skin Retouching

Along with whitening teeth, retouching skin is one of the most popular requests or needs in wedding photography. In your wedding photography, it is important to understand the process of retouching skin tones in Lightroom. When you do this effectively and naturally, you can produce stunning photos that your bride will love.

The basic steps we lay out for editing skin tones may seem deceptively simple, but doing so the right way is a talent that will take trial and error to truly perfect. And although trusting a specialist with your wedding photo edit needs provides you with consistent images and a streamlined workflow, we know that it is important for you to know how these processes work.

Just the same as teeth whitening, certain circumstances create the need for skin retouching. Also, your bride may request this adjustment for her images. The requests can range from fixing small blemishes on the skin to addressing color issues created by natural or artificial lighting or shadows.

Quick Tip: An outsource photo editing company, like ShootDotEdit, is an expert when it comes to wedding photo edits such as skin retouching. When you trust a specialist to take care of your wedding photo editing, these types of adjustments are taken care of for you.

Let’s dive into a bit more about skin retouching and the ways to do so in Lightroom:

Color Curves

Lightroom’s Color Curves are an ideal way to correct issues of intense shading and lighting on an image. In general, the Color Curves are the ideal place to start with resolving more dramatic color issues with your photos. The benefit to this approach is that a few carefully selected changes can make a significant difference in your final photos. Here is how to retouch skin tones in Lightroom with Color Curves:

  • Identify color balance and issues
  • Correct the exposure of the photo
  • Use color curves to finalize the color correction

Luminance

A secondary way to address color issues, especially skin tones, is to focus on the Exposure, White Balance, and Luminance settings. Although these 3 settings together do not compare to the power of using the Color Curves mentioned above, they can be helpful for quickly applying overall changes to the balance of color in your photographs and in skin tones in particular. Here is how to retouch skin tones in Lightroom with luminance:

  • Adjust the white balance of the image
  • Adjust the exposure of the image
  • Adjust the luminance of the image

Unwanted Elements Removal

Wedding shoots can be unpredictable. Therefore, unwanted elements can appear in your images. To make your brides happy, and create unforgettable images, you must possess the tools necessary to remove the unwanted elements.

We already mentioned cropping your images to remove unwanted elements from the edges or other areas. You can also blur the image, specifically the background, to take away from the parts of the image that are unfavorable.

How this benefits your bride

Skin retouching eliminates imperfections from your wedding images, making your bride look her best. When distractions or unwanted elements are eliminated from the images, their quality will enhance, creating unforgettable moments that your bride can cherish for years to come.

Vignetting

Though not every wedding client expects vignetting on their images, it can be a powerful adjustment to your photos. There are a few ways to add vignettes to your images, including ways to create a vignette during the shoot and how to add it to images after the shoot in Lightroom.

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There are 2 types of vignettes you can create during the wedding shoot for your images. The first type of vignetting is mechanical, which happens because of extreme angles at which light enters the lens.

An example of a lens that this can happen to is a 16-35mm lens, which is a wide angle lens. Because of its width, it can often add a slight vignette. This is especially true when shooting at 16mm. Add a lens hood and filters on top of the lens and there is a chance to get even more of a mechanical vignette on your wedding images.

The second type is natural vignetting. Similar to mechanical vignetting, this type of vignetting can also happen by wide angle lenses, though is more gradual and therefore less noticeable. The light reaches the camera sensor at certain angles and when this happens, it can cause a subtle vignette to appear around your wedding photos.

If you decide to add a vignette after the wedding shoot is over, you can do so in Lightroom. We mentioned it before, but as a photography post production specialist, our workflow heavily incorporates Lightroom, so we will share what we know about the program and how to apply certain effects.

With a basic Adjustment Brush tool in Lightroom, you can adjust the exposure of the outer edge of your images to achieve the vignette effect. Like most adjustments, your unique photography style will help you decide how much you will want to adjsut the outer edge to apply a vignette to your photos.

Quick Tip: When you define your unique photography style, you will know how often you want to include vignetting and whether that happens before or after the wedding day shoot.

How this benefits your bride

Vignetting is an additional adjustment that helps provide variety in the wedding images you deliver to the bride. It also helps with the overall storytelling from the wedding day, allowing the bride to relive those moments and feel excited about the memories she will have from the images.

Skin Smoothing

There are retouching techniques that can be used for different effects on your wedding photos and can be used in Lightroom. As mentioned previously, it can be valuable to know what styles complement your approach. Your unique photography style will help you know what effects you would like on your photos, and which you would not. You can create a tighter, more commercial feel to your images. Or, you can create a more natural look to match your brand.

Even the subject of a particular wedding photo might influence how much skin smoothing you might do. Every wedding shoot differs, as do the conditions that come along with them. The brush tool in Lightroom is an ideal way to help you eliminate any issues that occur during your shoots.

Understanding the brush tool is a necessity when you want to learn more about how to smooth skin in Lightroom. The brush makes it possible to do exactly that. When needed, use the brush tool to smooth out parts of an image as needed.

In addition to selecting the correct effect (softening skin, in this case), adjusting the size, feather, flow, and density of the brush is critical to ensuring that the brush is not overly powerful or weak. Also, make sure the brush is the best size for the area you are working on for the image.

You can control each of these brush factors with the sliders underneath the brush tool option, and it will take some practice to get a sense of where to start and what settings work best. Those factors are not the only consideration to keep in mind, however, as there is also some prep work to take care of before getting started on this process.

Before you get a grasp on how to smooth skin in Lightroom, you want to give yourself the best possible product to work with. This means making a few adjustments to your photo first. You will want to properly expose your image, as an underexposed photo will have more noticeable blemishes and wrinkles to smooth out, so be sure to turn up the exposure via the adjustment bar.

As a general rule, you are looking to reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and blemishes in the wedding photos. Though, depending on your style, you may want to remove them completely. If the latter is your goal, you will want to work to that gradually, increasing the intensity of the brush tool as you progress. Use a smaller brush to reduce the likelihood of going outside of the face area while smoothing, and pay attention to how your selected brush affects your subject’s skin.

When you desire more control of the quality of your bride’s skin, you can engage more sliders and options that are a part of the brush tool in Lightroom. While they might be a bit intimidating at first glance, they are part and parcel for anyone trying to master the Lightroom smooth skin capabilities.

Quick Tip: There is no one setting that will apply to every photo, though, so practice and experimentation is central to getting it right. Keep in mind that a stronger brush will result in more dramatic skin smoothing effects, and a weaker brush will have a less noticeable impact.

How this benefits your bride

When you take the time to adjust parts of the images that are unwanted or unflattering, your brides will look their best. Plus, you will highlight the location they are getting married in and make it look like a million dollars. The better the images look, the happier your brides will be.

Utilize Presets

Regardless of how many weddings you shoot per year, your post production workflow can be the most time-consuming part of your job. As a business owner, it is important to master your post-wedding workflow to ensure it is not taking up too much of your time. Using presets in Lightroom can help you speed up your workflow and deliver breathtaking images.

engagement session standing on a tree branch

Image by Grace T. Photography

Once you have taken a set of wedding images for your bride, the work and tasks list does not end there. RAW files must be imported and processed for output. Depending on your bride’s wishes, she may want digital files they can share on the Internet, high-quality prints perfect for framing, or large-format canvases that look like paintings. Presets make all the difference when it comes to your wedding photo editing process, as they reduce many clicks into one click.

As a wedding photographer and business owner, it is important to consider how you set up your editing workflow. Doing things manually can quickly zap hours away that you could be devoting to other areas of your business, your family, or other interests. Lightroom CC presets are beneficial because they are better able to:

  • Complete editing tasks faster (and more efficiently)
  • Edit groups of photos all at the same time
  • Maintain an efficient workflow
  • Improve the quality of finished products
  • Save a whole lot of time
  • Develop a unique photography style
  • Increase your overall productivity

For instance, you may want one image to include an increase in saturation, a reduction in clarity, and a vignette. But, there may also be times when you want to use one effect on your images. When this happens, you would give yourself additional work as you try to undo the effects that are currently a part of the preset. When you create separate, specific presets, you will not need to go back and make changes that cause you to make additional changes.

There are several options for presets that help you to create your unique photography style. From clarity, saturation, tone curves, split toning, sharpness, and other effects, you can choose the best options for you and your images. Keep in mind that your images should reflect the style your bride saw when she made the decision to book you. Therefore, any choice you make should reflect what they envisioned for their photos.

When thinking about your unique photography style, pay attention to what you consistently do for your photos. In your past wedding edits, do you notice you consistently increase the saturation and reduce the clarity? These are what your presets should be made of. By analyzing what you are adjusting on your images once the basic color correction is complete you can create presets that will quickly apply your personal style to the images, which saves you time in your post-wedding workflow.

Start by clicking on an image that you want to use a specific preset on. In the Develop module, adjust the image to create your desired look. Save the settings you choose in Lightroom as a preset. Or, work with a post wedding photography editing service, like ShootDotEdit, to build a custom style that can be applied for you as a part of the wedding photo editor services.

Quick Tip: Only check off the settings you want to be a part of your preset. Be sure to leave settings unchecked that would override the color correction. Once you choose your ideal settings for the preset, choose a specific name that describes exactly what the preset will do. This preset will now live on your panel and will help you quickly apply your unique photography style to your images.

How this benefits your bride

When you create presets, yourself or utilize a post-wedding photography specialist, you speed up your workflow. Also, when you have a consistent style to share, you can apply your presets to images and share your unique brand with wedding clients. When your clients receive images that match their expectations, they will have a full and positive experience you promised them from the beginning.

Export the Images

After your wedding images have been worked on (ideally by a post production photography editing company), you can then export them from Lightroom. Although exporting seems like a simple process, often times it can be quite challenging until you master the process.

There are several reasons that exporting images from Lightroom is a more elaborate process than other Adobe programs. To start, your files are saved differently within Lightroom, so you always have the original photos. Lightroom stores catalog information, which adds to the difficultly of exporting them. Also, it affects how you export the images based on how you will use them. These factors influence the export settings for Lightroom in different situations:

  • Lightroom saves photogs differently
  • Lightroom uses a unique cataloging system
  • Lightroom exports should be based on intended use

Here are a few quick tips to make the process of exporting your wedding photography simple:

Once you understand Lightroom, how it stores images, and the best way to export, you can then export your images. Here is a quick list of how to do that:

  1. Select the files needed for the export
  2. Open the export dialog to choose the destination
  3. Export images using Lightroom export presets
  4. Specify the export options
  5. Store your export settings and export your images

Quick Tip: Since there are several options for the process of exporting photos in Adobe Lightroom, find out which are the best for the web, print, and more to ensure you are properly performing the task.

Also, make sure to rename the files as necessary so once you export, you do not lose track of them in a different program.

How this benefits your bride

When you export your images properly, you are on your way to delivering them to your bride, whether you place them in a gallery or continue with additional deliverables (albums, prints, etc.). As we have mentioned throughout this post, the faster and more efficient your workflow is, the easier it will be to meet (or even exceed) turnaround times and expectations. And, the bride will be ecstatic when you deliver her items on time (and especially so when you deliver earlier).

Phew – wedding photo edits that your bride expects is quite a long list. But nevertheless, it is crucial for you to deliver images and products that represent your unique photography style and meet your bride’s expectations. And keep in mind you do not have to take on the responsibility of editing wedding photos, especially when you outsource to a post production photography company, like ShootDotEdit!

We hope this complete guide to what your bride expects is valuable and we have one more awesome resource to help your post-wedding workflow: an Online Training with Lightroom Guru and workflow expert, Jared Platt! Throughout the Online Training, Jared focuses on the best ways to maximize your time in Lightroom, which helps you speed up your workflow. Click the banner below to access the Online Training and hear more of his tips!

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