Have you ever noticed how so many wedding photos just look BLAH! Sometimes you just can't even put your finger on it but you .. just know! Sometimes a photo just looks ... YAWN.. BORING.. or FLAT.. maybe it just doesn't have that POP that you like. Many talented photographers just don't know or have the skills to turn an image from good to great!
When choosing a GREAT wedding photographer take into consideration what other skills your photographer has. Photoshop and retouching skills should be a must for any talented wedding photographer. Sometimes I see pretty photo that needs to be cleaned up a bit.. but the photographer just leaves it. In my opinion that looks unprofessional. Your wedding album should be FLAWLESS! and you should LOOK FLAWLESS in it!
VIBRANCY AND CONTRAST
I think the first thing that every photographer should do is add vibrancy and contrast to your wedding images. Images that come straight out of camera normally look a little bit flat. If it is an overcast day then they're going to look even more flat. The color that we see with our human eyes is normally enhanced in our brain. For instance it could be a very blue day, there could be green patches of color everywhere, coming from grass or trees. You would probably never notice that. But the camera captures everything.
Here you can plainly see the obvious difference between an image straight out of camera on the left and an image that I have tweaked in Photoshop adding vibrancy to the color of the sky, the trees and the image in general. I have also brightened the image just a little bit and darkened the sky just a tad.
BRINGING UP SHADOWS
Another sample of some basic retouching that I always do for my brides and grooms is making sure that nothing is lost in the shadows. Bringing up the shadows in Photoshop is an absolute necessity for so many images. You can barely see the bridesmaids in the corner. When brides and grooms choose venues they really don't have any idea where the sun is hitting, what is best for photography, if there are any strange shadows and if there are any severe differences between light and dark during their ceremony or reception. In photography these are the number one things that we have to deal with when shooting. You may love getting married underneath the deep dark shadow of that gorgeous oak tree but photographically it can be a nightmare. Nonetheless a good photographer should be able to shoot an absolutely any circumstance. What we can't do in camera we can definitely help in Photoshop.
Basic retouching normally encompasses retouching the skin, brightening teeth and brightening eyes
Nobody wants to feel insecure on the day they are supposed to look more beautiful than ever before. That is why it is the job of your photographer to bring out the best in you. That includes removing acne scars, pimples, scars, red skin and any other skin problems. Personally all I want is for my loving couples to be comfortable and have an amazing time on their wedding day. I don't want them to be stressing about their acne, their under eye circles, their bloodshot eyes or anything else.
Here you can see a sample of a bride with a little bit of acne scarring and how we removed all of it to give her smooth flawless skin using Photoshop to retouch the scarred skin.
EYES AND TEETH
Here you can see this bride had pretty nice skin. The first image is the image straight from my camera with absolutely nothing done to it. In the second image we retouched her skin just a little, she didn't need much. We just smoothed the skin tones a bit. At this point we warmed up the images and added a little contrast. On the third image if you look very closely you can see that we brightened the whites of her eyes, brightened and sharpened the brown in her pupils and brightened her teeth just a bit. She needed very little teeth brightening but we added a bit anyways.
Here is another sample of how exhausted a bride can look around the eyes when she did not get enough rest the night before
Here you can see the massive difference that Photoshop can make. On the photo to the left which is an image straight out of camera you can see that the bride got very little rest the night before her wedding. She has bags under her eyes and her eyes are also a little bloodshot. On the image to the right you can see that with Photoshop I have gone in and brightened the eyes, sharpened the eyes removed bags under the eyes and brightened the whites of the eyes. It makes such a huge difference. I have also smoothed the skin just a bit.
WRINKLES AND FINE LINES
I have quite a few very fit athletic brides that spend a lot of time in the sun. Small wrinkles are one of the first signs that you will see that you have sun damage. Of course some of my brides are jocks and that's just the way it is. So your photographer should be doing the same thing that I'm doing... removing any fine lines and wrinkles and smoothing the skin.
In the photo above you can see what a tremendous difference it is just to remove those fine lines from the forehead and around the eyes. Your wedding images should look flawless. This bride is gorgeous I was in love with all of her photos but she's an outdoorsy girl so we had to remove fine lines from around her face.
ADDITIONAL PROBLEMS THAT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER SHOULD FIX
No one wants to be worried about not being able to pose a certain way or do certain things because a little bit of fat may spill out of the dress. That's the opposite of what I want as a professional photographer. No one is perfect even the thinnest most beautiful bride can have a dress that pinches just a little bit and can cause some problem areas in photos but the last thing I want is for my brides to feel insecure and not completely at ease in front of the camera. That's where Photoshop comes in. Your photographer should be retouching problem areas in your photos.
Here we see this beautiful thin bride who because of the pose that I put her in has a problem area under her arms. This is a common problem with well fitted dress. Most dresses don't come all the way up to the arm and so this little problem can occur. As you can see there is a tremendous difference between the image above and the corrected image below. I used a tool in Photoshop called liquefy to tuck the small bulge back where it belongs inside of the dress.
Here we see basically the same thing, the same problem area. Strange wrinkling underneath the arm around the armpit area. Again, something that a bride shouldn't be worried about because it is something that we can fix it in Photoshop. This is a little bit more complicated to do in Photoshop but still possible. If this image was to go into an album I would absolutely never allow the image on the left to be put in. Your photographer should always strive to make your images look as gorgeous and perfect as possible.
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF
CAN YOU MAKE ME THINNER!!! OH PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE!!!!
I think if there is one leading factor in why I get booked so much....I would have to say it is because I make my brides a little thinner and a little curvier. Many times my couples don't lose all the weight that they want to lose for their wedding and I help them out a little bit. I don't go way overboard but I make my couples the best version of themselves.
In the photo above you can see that I not only made the bride a little thinner I also smoothed out her tan lines and brightened up the image
This is a very common problem. Probably the most common problem in weddings. THE DREADED BACK FAT!!!! Corsets make this problem just a little worse. Although they make your waist look really tiny they can also spill any fat that you may have on your back over your dress. Again no reason to dismay we aren't going to ovoid all poses showing your back because of this little problem. As you can see the image on the left is straight out of camera. The image on the right I have thinned the arm of the bride just a bit and tucked in any back fat. Plus I have cleaned up any tan lines.
Sometimes you can barely tell that I have done any retouching. The top image... above.... is straight out of camera as you can see it's a little bluer than the image below because it was shot in shade. The image below is brighter and warmer and I have slimmed the bride's arm and waist just a tiny bit. This retouching is barely visible but sometimes can make a world of difference.
In the image above I did a bunch of things. I thinned the bride's arms I lifted her waist a little higher and gave the waist a little bit more definition. I also darkened the sky and brought out more detail in the dress. This retouching is a little bit more dramatic.
Sometimes you just need a little tuck in the tummy area. Photo shopping stomachs and waists are probably the number one thing that I do. Sometimes the bride may have one little problem area. Something like thick arms, or soft arms can easily be fixed in Photoshop.
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF!!!
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CREATIVE FINE ART CUSTOM RETOUCHING
Now for something a little bit more exciting. I'm going to get into photo shopping and retouching at a slightly higher technical level. Most photographers are not going to retouch at this level. If they do photoshop at this level there is normally going to be a custom fine art charge. I retouched to this level on a few of my absolute favorite images that I will add into my wedding couples' album or of a client is buying a large canvas from my studio. It is normally very time-consuming but so worth the time and energy.
Below are some of the photo shopping retouching fine art effects that I add in Photoshop to make an image stand out! This is the kind of stuff that makes people say "WOW!!!"
Here we took an image that was already beautiful but made it extraordinary by adding clouds in Photoshop. These are stock clouds that I have on hand to add to images that we want to make fine art pieces.
This is one of my favorite retouches as it has so much going on. I have made the bride slightly taller and her waist just a bit smaller (curvier)I have added vibrancy to the wall on the right plus I have brightened that wall. The wall on the left is now a little bit darker. Now you can also see all of the detail on her dress. The dress is one of the first things to get blown out in wedding photography. It's nice in Photoshop to be able to bring up the details.These are subtle changes that look realistic unlike HDR photography which in my opinion looks fake!
This retouching technique is gaining a lot of popularity. This is sometimes referred to as pastel Photoshop effect. A lot of times a matte effect is also added. Sometimes a sun flare is added. There are many different pastel shades that can be added to an image but warm/yellow effects are most popular right now.
Here I have added a vintage affect. It's obvious that I added a sepia toned color at about a 50% opacity but I have also added a little bit of texture to the photograph so it looks a little bit more vintage.
Here I have removed some distractions from the background using Photoshop. This is normally a bit time-consuming but if the image is perfect and you really love it it's really worth it.
In this image I originally made the bride a little bit taller and slimmer on the left-hand side. After that, I felt that it needed a little bit extra and I added a vintage affect and coloring to the photo on the right.
Sometimes it's fun to add clouds to the sky using Photoshop. I use this retouching very sparsely as it can sometimes look really fake. I have, stored in my computer, skies and clouds. This happens to be just clouds.
Sometimes when a particular pose is just not possible I use something called Photoshop composition. I take several photos in exactly the same spot and then remove the items that helped make the photo. As you can tell above I removed the boxes from the image to make it looked as if the groom was lifting the bride high up in the sky in this engagement photo shot at the Orange Circle in Orange California.
This is one of my favorite photos of all times. This is a typical photo shopping retouching set for me. The original image straight out of camera on the left shows my flash. The next image I removed my flash, darkened the clouds and gave the dress a more pleasing composition by stretching it in Photoshop. I then added more darkness in the sky and more detail in the dress in the final image. This image is also very beautiful. I used a popular photo shopping technique to blur the edges and make the image look as if it came out of a toy camera. Sometimes we can add light leaks but normally the edges are blurred looking as though we shot this from a plastic toy camera lens instead of a $5000 camera with a $2400 lens on it. Sometimes I just don't get why we do things but popularity can overcome me...lol!
Here is another typical transition that an image will take here at Square Eye Photography. Image straight out of cameras on the left. I have retouched the bride just a little bit on the next image. I have played with the color of the sky and the hue of the image on the next image. And I have added some contrast, blackness, vibrancy. And sharpening to the final image.
Here I have added a lot of drama just by adding color to the sky, darkening the sky and darkening and warming up the rock beneath my engaged couple.
Here is another image where there is quite a big going on. I have elongated the bride just a little bit in Photoshop because she was getting lost in the grass and it was making her look shorter than she really was. I made her just a little bit thinner and retouched her just a bit. I also added vibrancy, warmth and contrast to this image. I just adore this image it looks like she's in a magical forest with fairies hiding around the tree.. its just ethereal!
I want to go on record right now stating that I wish we lived in a society where women and men were accepted appreciated and loved for exactly how they looked and who they are. I'm a huge advocate of women loving themselves. I am plus sized and I have been plus sized most of my life. Although I am working on losing some weight and getting even healthier than I am now. I do love the social movements that are taking place now for women to to help them accept and love their bodies exactly as they are. If we were in a perfect world I would never have anyone ask me to Photoshop anything. This is, not a perfect world. Photo shopping and retouching has been around pretty much since art has been made. In the Sumerian times artists made women heavier with large bulging hips and large breasts to worship for fertility purposes. Kings and queens have looked younger and more beautiful in their painted canvases than they looked in real life. When photography first started artists would retouch negatives and airbrush photographs. Nothing much has changed except that now we have Photoshop. I try to make my clients the best version of themselves without going overboard and without making them different people. I strive to capture the true spirit of who my clients are without having them feel insecure about a particular part of body or problem. I would rather be realistic and let my clients know that I can fix anything they're insecure about rather than have them feel uncomfortable in front of the camera. I want my clients to be free to be who they really are, to laugh freely, to dance wildly, to love boldly. If we have to tweak a little bit in Photoshop... I'm always happy to do that.
Please look for a photographer that does this also for you if this is something that you would like. Hopefully you picked up some terms in this blog that will help you ask your photographer questions about what he or she can do for you. At the same time learn to love yourself and embrace who you really are. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!! As we work towards a better world of self acceptance hopefully we can retouch just a little less as time progresses.
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