If you’ve just started your journey as a professional wedding photographer, chances are you are still in the ‘do it all yourself’ phase, including photo editing. As a wedding photo editing company, we collaborate with wedding photographers worldwide and interact with them about their post-production workflow. As many photographers start off by editing their own wedding photos, their experiences come packed with stories - funny situations, stressful moments, and everything in between. Every moment counts, and every moment is worth retelling. Because when photographers double up as photo editors, it often includes long hours in front of the computer, precious time away from running the photography business, and in most cases added stress and headache. So, if you’re a beginner and wondering how to edit photos like a professional, below, we’ve dived into professional photographer’s edit stories, stories that you might be able to relate to and learn from.
PHOTOGRAPHER’S EDIT STORIES
Several scenarios could arise when editing wedding photos. And each depends on the wedding photographer’s skill level when it comes to photo editing software. The editing software mostly include Lightroom or Photoshop. Also, the time it takes to learn and master professional editing skills can get overwhelming. Take a look at some of the scenarios below and see if you have been in a similar situation.
1. INCONSISTENT IMAGES
As a company that specializes in personalized wedding photo editing services, we know how important it is to have final images that are consistent and match your unique photography style. Now, every shoot is different, as are the scenarios you are faced with. From terrible lighting conditions and unpredictable weather to unflattering backgrounds and conflicting colors, there are many elements you cannot control during a wedding shoot.
The lighting conditions alone can be a challenging part of wedding photo editing. From outdoor ceremonies to indoor receptions, there can be drastically different lighting scenarios that appear in your images. And sure, there are some elements you can overcome during the wedding shoot (using flash, adjusting poses, etc.). But, some effects are unavoidable and require you to fix them in the post-production stage following a consistent editing style.
However, depending on your skill level, the process of creating consistent images that match your unique photography brand can be challenging (and downright time-consuming). For wedding photographers who have less experience with editing, it might be difficult to overcome lighting challenges in wedding images. So while you encourage that you learn the basics of photo editing, we highly recommend that you find an editing expert that suits your style and allow them to do the heavy-lifting when it comes to post-production. Founder and owner of Infinite Loop Photography, Jerry Cantave got back a lot of time to devote to other aspects of his photography business once he stopped doing everything himself and outsourced editing to ShootDotEdit.
2. TECHNOLOGY ISSUES
Has this ever happened to you? You get home from a wedding day, upload your memory cards to your computer, and immediately get started editing your images. You are confident you can get through online photo editing before your deadline and continue on them throughout the night.
A. LIGHTROOM CRASHES
And then, all of a sudden, your Lightroom crashes. You quickly reopen it to find that a system error caused you to lose all the edits you placed there. Perhaps you have a preset that can help you apply your style to your photos. But you still have to go through all of it and work on the color correction of your images. What happens if you do not actually have a preset? You have to remember the steps you took to create the style on your photos and do that again to every single image.
B. COMPUTER TROUBLES
Or, what about this one? You are working on your photos in Lightroom, and your computer conks out. The great thing about Lightroom is unless there is some type of system failure, a copy of your images is saved. But, in this scenario, it is the middle of the night. No one is around so you can’t borrow their computer. So, you have to wait until the next day to look for an alternative.
And even with that, there are several issues with your computer crashing. The backup computer you use may not be properly calibrated, which could affect the way your images look. And most of us know how upset clients could get if the images you deliver are not up to the mark. Plus, you may need to get your computer fixed before you get back at editing the images on a backup system. And that will take more time away from your editing process.
C. WORKFLOW DEFICIENCIES
Another issue about having photographers edit wedding photos themselves is they may not always have a streamlined workflow for it. It might just be something that happens when there is time or is crammed into the middle of the night. However, without a streamlined post-wedding workflow, there are a few risks to this process.
As a part of our photo editing services for pro wedding photographers, our mission is to help our customer community be successful through a streamlined, efficient, and fast workflow. Our editing services are customized and also deliver images back to our customers as fast as 48 hours or within 5 days at the max.
D. BACKUP GONE WRONG
Now, let’s picture another scenario that’s nothing short of a nightmare. You get home from a wedding and are thrilled to get started editing the photos. You immediately download your images to your computer and without any other steps involved, you clear the memory cards. This can happen because you are tired, just forgot to take a backup, or because there is no set workflow for editing photos. Then, something happens to your computer. Not only does this waste time, but it also means your images are lost. Because of the lack of structure in the post-wedding workflow, there was no clear step to upload the images before deleting them. Steps that are a crucial part of this process were missed, like backing up images to one or multiple storage spaces.
The scenarios described above are not fun but provide great lessons about the need to have streamlined processes and workflow. Technology issues are common in any profession. When you have a plan in place, you can worry less about image issues.
3. TEETH WHITENING GONE WRONG
A common editing request from wedding clients is to have their teeth whitened. There are several reasons your clients may specifically request to have their teeth whitened in the images. Some may be very self-conscious about how their smile looks in photos. You might have taken the most stunning photo, but if you fail to cater to this small edit request, it might alter their perception of the entire photo. In many cases, optimal teeth whitening might be required to ensure one person’s teeth do not stand out more than those of others in the photo.
A. LIGHTING EFFECTS AND SHADOWS
Lighting effects and shadows may darken teeth in an undesirable way. This will provide another situation where you will want to use teeth whitening Lightroom tools. Even the whitest teeth can appear less than perfect in photos. This is because of the natural ivory color of teeth, effects of natural settings, and even effects from the camera. Even if it is not specifically requested, you should learn how to whiten teeth in Lightroom.
This is something that can be done both in Lightroom and Photoshop and is a part of the post-wedding workflow additional adjustments. Depending on the part of the day, location, lighting, and the color and condition of the clients’ teeth, this might turn out to be something that is inconsistent with the images.
One of the biggest challenges in expertly whitening teeth is getting the right balance of whitening. Too little of the effect can leave teeth appearing yellowed or less sparkling. This can make your final images look less than professional. On the other hand, extreme whitening can make smiles look unnatural. Either way, the smile will stick out like a sore thumb in the photos. And that’s not what you or your clients would want.
B. ISSUES WITH TEETH WHITENING
Teeth whitening, while not the most difficult adjustment to make in the post-production, does require knowledge and practice. There are different levels of teeth whitening that can look natural or completely unnatural. The last thing you want to do is send your wedding clients images that have overly whitened teeth that stand out for all the wrong reasons. Or, what happens if you accidentally only whiten some of the teeth? This is another way teeth whitening can go wrong. Any issues with teeth whitening can decrease the overall value of your images.
Maintaining the balance between a bright but natural smile is something that comes with time spent working with various editing tools. It also comes with a better understanding of what looks best in photos. For example, teeth that have all the yellow removed through a high level of desaturation can look dull and lifeless. This is far from the desired effect. Keeping just the right amount of yellow or ivory tone on the teeth will make the resulting smiles look more healthy and natural. If not, it can result in less than stellar work that may not showcase your wedding clients in the most flattering way.
Related Read: How To Whiten Teeth In Lightroom
4. GETTING LOST IN LIGHTROOM
In our editing workflow, Lightroom is an integral part of our services. So, we are proponents of the software. As a photography business owner, you may be familiar with Lightroom and its functions, or perhaps you are not. Either way, there are several ways you can get lost in Lightroom unless you understand how it works. If you lack a clear understanding of how to use Lightroom in an efficient and fast way, it can take up a lot of your time. Even attempting to learn more about the edits to make to your wedding photos could take up a lot of time from your workflow. This is likely the time you do not have to spare as a busy wedding photographer.
SHOOTDOTEDIT’S LIGHTROOM WORKFLOW
ShootDotEdit’s Lightroom Workflow is a powerful way to dramatically increase your post-production efficiency. Lightroom, the industry’s leading photo organizing and editing software, will give you the maximum amount of creativity and quality with your images. It also employs the very best in workflow efficiency.
In the past, we partnered with Jared Platt to develop our proprietary Lightroom Workflow. Jared is the wedding photography industry’s leading Lightroom expert. The results couldn’t have been better. Photographers around the globe rave it is the perfect way to utilize our color corrections with their studio workflow. Rather than working in Lightroom to edit your wedding photos, outsource your work to an editing company that can take care of a photographer's edit needs. Here are some of the highlights of the ShootDotEdit Lightroom Workflow:
Upload Time up to 30x Faster: Uploading your images to us is simple. Using Smart Previews, uploads of your jobs are now up to 30x faster.
Custom Smart Collections: Easily tally and organize your images inside of Lightroom prior to sending them to us. This allows for increased efficiency.
- Custom Drag and Drop Collections: Choose your favorites between your DotPreview images or Black and White images to be kept during the cull.
Even if you do not get lost in Lightroom, you will still spend plenty of time in there when you are editing your own wedding images. From the image organization (naming, ordering, creating folders, etc.), to the color correction (every single step), to adding the signature style, there are several steps that you’d need to edit your wedding photos. This is time that can be better spent on parts of your business that require you.
PHOTOGRAPHER’S EDIT OVERWHELM
Photography editing is a huge endeavor. That is why many wedding photographers outsource photo editing to a specialist like ShootDotEdit. No matter how many weddings you shoot each year, the amount of editing necessary for just one shoot can be overwhelming. Add in everything else that is a part of shooting an engagement session or wedding day and you often have more on your plate than can be accomplished in a reasonable time frame. And that is not even factoring in when you are at your busiest. During the busy wedding season, your weeks and weekends are booked with engagement sessions and wedding shoots. You have meetings, contracts, shooting, product fulfillment, and more to worry about - and that is not even counting the time it would take you to edit every image from the shoot.
1. RELATABLE SITUATIONS
As a wedding photographer, you are not required to be a professional editor. That is something a specialist can take care for you. They can also help you match your unique photography style. With help, you can avoid getting overwhelmed as a photographer and focus on more important things for your photography business. If you haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in weeks, have too much on your plate with a lengthy to-do list, facing a creative block, feeling less motivated, running out of time, experiencing high stress levels or fatigue, and not doing more of what you love, i.e., creating awe-inspiring images but spending all your time behind the computer, then it’s time to pause and think if doing it all by yourself even worth all the stress and hassle. Sara France of Sara France Photography realized that outsourcing was important to grow her business from the very beginning. And that’s why she partnered with ShootDotEdit.
2. FOCUS ON WHAT ONLY YOU CAN DO
In your business, you have limited time to take care of every necessary step of each process you do. For you to continue growing, you need to focus on items that only YOU can do, such as:
- Cultivating and maintaining personal relationships with brides and planners
- Connecting with past, current, and potential clients
- Practicing and perfecting your craft
3. WHAT ELSE CAN SHOOTDOTEDIT DO FOR YOU, BESIDES HELP YOU AVOID WEDDING EDITING DISASTERS?
Along with trusting a specialist with your post-production work, wouldn’t it be nice if you could make more money from every event? Our service Extra is designed to help you do this! Extra is included with every ShootDotEdit subscription. Extra will host your images for no additional cost and can make you more money by selling your prints.
When we sell your prints with Extra, we show each of your Gallery guests the value of the print. Each guest will receive unique content designed for the specific role they played at the wedding. Mother of the bride? She gets a unique and personalized experience because she had a unique role. A groomsman? Well, he would get a completely different experience.
Your Gallery guests will not only love your images, but they will love the experience we provide them. As each guest receives a unique experience in viewing the wedding images, they feel loved and cared for. This meaningful experience increases the happiness of your guests and increases your profits. The best part? We do it all for you.
In addition to being a leader in post-production services, we are known as expert marketers in the industry. And now we’re going to market for you. For free! You don’t have to use Extra to take advantage of ShootDotEdit. It’s complimentary. And, we think it’s great. But don’t let it get in the way of using our post-production services. The bonus? Zero commission fees, zero hosting fees, and zero storage fees with Extra!
WITH EXTRA, YOU RECEIVE:
- Free hosting service added to your subscription.
- Free marketing of your images in the gallery.
- Direct connection with your favorite print labs.
- Hands-off ordering and delivery of print orders to your customers.
- Checks in the mail.
INACCURATE SKIN TONES
We mentioned it before, and we’d like to say it again. Learning to properly retouching skin tones is an important part of photo editing. Different circumstances can create the need for skin retouching; sometimes even clients may request you to retouch skin tones, asking for some changes from your original photographs.
These can range from fixing small blemishes on the skin to addressing color issues created by natural or artificial lighting or shadows. The type of skin retouching you perform will depend on the specific issue you are addressing. As well as correcting overall image color issues that influence skin tones, you may also want to address specific skin issues. These skin concerns could be blemishes, red spots, or other more detailed issues. Properly retouching skin in these cases will require a different set of tools.
In some cases, the skin tone and blemish issues in your images may require more robust and fine-tuned features than what Lightroom provides. In these cases, you will want to make the changes you can with the features above in Lightroom, then export your edited image to another program, such as Photoshop. But, what happens if you make a mistake with the skin tone? You could accidentally edit warmer than your clients’ true skin tones. This can cause issues with your clients, especially if the rest of the images are not edited in the same way.
ARTISTIC EDITS GONE WRONG
With several options of how to edit wedding photos for your style, there are also artistic edits you may want to use. Artistic edits are ones that are not a part of the basic color correction adjustments. They are edits that may be specifically requested by clients. Every photographer has a unique style, as do their choices for which images receive artistic edits.
Artistic edits can elevate the appearance of your photos and help them stand out. Some of the edits that would be considered “artistic” include vignetting, dodging and burning, adding bokeh, and more. Depending on your photography style, these edits may happen on just a select number of images or a majority of them. Here are a few scenarios that can go wrong with artistic edits.
1. BLURRING IN IMAGES
Think about blurring. Blurring is a common artistic edit you may want to do to add a sense of drama to your images. When blurring in Lightroom, you can choose the degree of sharpness you want. Many photographers choose to heavily blur a photo’s background to make the focal points stand out more drastically.
Depending on whether you use Lightroom or Photoshop, the techniques differ slightly for blurring. Say, for example, you decide to use Photoshop and want to blur the background. What happens if you remove the subjects from the photo, take the steps to blur the background, and place the subjects back in - but you missed a step. If any of the steps are done incorrectly, it can separate your subject from the rest of the background in a way that may not be too desirable.
Since you cannot apply the same blur settings to every wedding photo and still create a professional product, you will need to edit each photo individually. You will also need to edit each section of each photo individually to achieve the best results. Working on each photo can be time-consuming and may take away from other important aspects of your photography business. This will add to the time you spend behind the computer, editing your photos.
You might make these adjustments for images that are posted on social media, their blog, or your website. Or you may adjust images because some of them need an extra boost to match the rest of the images.
2. ARTISTIC EDITS TAKE TIME
You may have the skills to achieve these edits on your images. Though, artistic edits also take quite a bit of time. This is the time you likely do not have. And without time, it can be challenging to achieve the desired look for your photos.
For some photographers, artistic edits require additional training and skills to achieve. And without the time to learn these skills, artistic edits may not come out as intended. This can essentially ruin the photos or decrease their overall quality.
IMAGE MANIPULATIONS AND ENHANCEMENTS
Other artistic edits include image manipulation and enhancement. This can include edits such as sharpening, cropping, straightening, facial retouching, swapping or opening eyes, hair retouching or removal, blemish removal, skin smoothening, replacement or removal of objects, resizing, details color and saturation channel adjustments, and clinical burning and dodging.
A few things that can go wrong while a photographer edits images include:
- Creating too sharp an image
- Cropping too much from the image, losing the quality of the photo
- Adjusting the look of your clients’ faces from heavy retouching
- Swapping the incorrect eyes onto a client or changing the shape of the eyes
- Erasing too much of your client's hair and changing their appearance
- Incorrectly using the brush tool to smooth skin and removing part of your clients’ features
- Replacing all of your client’s body parts, except their arms
- Adding an extra arm or leg to the image
- Lowering the resolution of the image with resizing
- Creating unflattering colors in the image
Photographer’s edit stories are often about things that can go wrong and about the types of issues that can arise. This is especially true when a photographer has less experience when it comes to photo editing. There is nothing wrong with having fewer skills in Lightroom than what a wedding photo editor might ideally have. A photography editor is a specialist who spends their time perfecting the craft while you work your magic with the camera.
Think about when you evaluate images after the wedding shoot. You look for backgrounds that are distracting, awkward poses, unflattering light, and more. These points become the basis for your decision about an image qualifying to be delivered to your clients. And if artistic edits go wrong, it can lead to issues you might want to eliminate from the beginning. Diane Clifford of Diane Nicole Photography figured out that editing the wedding images herself was giving her inconsistent and less desirable results. And collaborating with ShootDotEdit fixed that for her photography brand.
1. CLIENTS DISLIKE THE EDITS
Something we hear from some wedding photographers before they become ShootDotEdit Customers that their clients have on certain occasions been dissatisfied with their photographer edits in the past. What’s worse is those photographers spent hours on photo editing. All that time had to be allocated again to their workflow to create images their clients love.
This can happen to any photographer. This is especially true because you are not meant to be a photo editor who sits behind a computer all day. You may be a photographer who knows exactly what your style is and how it should be applied to each and every job. But, there are many photographers who are still searching for their style and are not sure exactly what it includes.
HOW TO AVOID PHOTOGRAPHER’S
Learn more about what a partnership with ShootDotEdit as your personalized editing solution could do for your business. You can contact us to learn how we can help you:
- Define your unique photography style with ShootDotEdit
- Use DotPreviews with your wedding submissions
- Master the Adobe Lightroom workflow
- Make more money with print sales
You will also learn about how ShootDotEdit takes care of:
- Color correcting your wedding images
- Encouraging print sales from the wedding day
- Hosting and storing your photos for viewing
FINDING A UNIQUE PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE
Without a style locked in, images are often delivered inconsistently. And though your clients may not know they are inconsistent, they will know whether they like them or not. For some of those photographers we interact with, that was the case. They were still in the middle of finding their unique style and used their editing time to see what worked best.
And unfortunately, some of their clients did not like the edits. Delivering images clients disapprove of can be detrimental to a photography business. There will likely be instances where clients do not like something (perhaps they wanted a different moment included). But for the most part, a consistent photographer’s edit will result in happy clients who want to share their photos.
Creating a editing style of your own is important, but it is also time-consuming. At ShootDotEdit, we work with our photography community to find, build, and apply their unique style to their images. It allows our photographers to eliminate exponential time from their post-wedding workflow. Plus, it lets them have their style and images taken care of by a specialist.
Suggested Read: Finding Your Photography Style: Develop & Evolve At Your Own Pace
LET YOUR EXPERIENCES GUIDE YOU
Not every photographer experiences the same stories from their post-wedding workflow. A photographer’s edit stories range from things that went wrong, to funny annecdotes, to time-consuming and stressful moments, and more. As a professional photo editing service, we believe in the saying, “Do what you do best and outsource the rest!” That way, you can avoid unpleasant scenarios in your workflow and focus on what you love to do.
Further Read: A Comprehensive Breakdown Of All Of The ShootDotEdit Photo Editing Services
At ShootDotEdit, we love to help wedding photographers like you in growing their business. We understand how much it takes to successfully run a photography business and we are here to share your post-production workload. We provide professional photo editing services that will allow you to save lots of time for other business activities as well as personal tasks and relaxation. To learn how we can help you, you can check out our pricing plans.
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