How I Edit

Editing is a lengthy process - a one day shoot could be several days worth of editing, hence why some prices may seem like a lot! "£75 for one hours of shooting?!" - yes, because you have to add to that at least one hour of editing as well.

How photographers edit can be a major factor in how you chose your photographer; some may edit in a way that gravitates towards a certain style like replicating the look of film or verge towards certain tones. Editing style also undergoes certain trends over time - for example a recent trend is to desaturate certain colours like greens, and push others to certain hues like yellows towards orange and green towards blue. Sometimes this can look amazing and really give photos a certain feel to them, but sometimes it can be majorly overdone and ultimately may one day go out of fashion.

Personally I tend to edit in a natural style - I change colours minimally and if I do it's to correct how the camera has recorded it. For example, I find quite often that cameras oversaturate greens and they lean towards a more yellowish hue. I may also do minimal desaturation if a certain colour completely dominates a scene. Take a portrait for example, the viewers attention should be drawn towards the subject, but if the background is dominated by bright colours that are distracting rather than adding to the scene I may desaturate it a little.

Lighting conditions on the shoot also play a big role in how I edit. In harsh light I will brighten the shadows a lot more than normal so as to bring back detail and even out the exposure across the photo. Obviously how I shoot on the day will determine how the image is lit to an extent - if I shoot portraits out in direct sunlight rather than in the shade then the photos will be processed differently but what if there is no shade anywhere? Take these two portraits for example - they were taken at two different weddings, two different locations and in two very different lighting conditions...


First we have Becky and Stuart - their portraits were done in an open field while the Sun was getting low in the sky. I always prefer to use the Sun as a backlight and only had one area that was suitable - one way had cars, the other a hedge (and if I put them here the Sun would be right in their eyes causing them to squint!), the other a caravan sight in the distance. So I used a narrow area that had nothing but perfect countryside in the background and the Sun just behind them. There's still some harsh light on Stuart's face but overall I loved how this portrait came out once I'd recovered some of the detail in the shadows in editing and lowered the brightness of the greens and yellows in the background. It's a nice photo but very different to our next example...


This was shot in the gardens of Bowood House, in the shade of the building with the Sun camera left just behind the building resulting in a much softer light. As a result it looks quite different to our previous example and required pretty minimal editing - the grass behind them was also in shadow for the most part so wasn't overexposed relative to the subject nor was it oversaturated.

You could interpret this as two very different styles of editing when in fact it's just caused by the location and lighting on the day of the shoot. Obvioulsy I have preferences towards certain lighting conditions but I can take great images wherever you put me and ultimately I can't always control the Sun!


Why I make an image black and white

I love black and white photos, they can look timeless, dramatic and evocative. That being said I never process in black and white for the sake of it. For me, black and white images work only in certain situations - the lighting may be dramatic and the black and white processing may exagerate or highlight that. Alternatively, the decision to turn an image black and white may be purely a practical one. Disco lights may create nice highlights but be an odd colour so I go black and white to take attentions away from that. The scene may have another obvious colour distraction where desturating it may not work such as a bright red car in the background - obviously I try to avoid such distractions when I take the photo but sometimes they're unavoidable so I will process the image in black and white to eliminate the distraction from the subject. Finally, lighting in churches can be very mixed - sometimes they're lit great with a mix of a single artificial light source and natural light. However, quite often they have several difference artificial light sources, each with its own colour cast resulting in it becoming impossible to colour correct without a certain cast remaining. I once shot a concert in a church that had a mix of orange and purple lighting - I could correct for the orange but the only way to eliminate the purple cast properly was to desaurate it and even then the musicians faces would just turn too grey, so I processed the majority of the images from that shoot in black and white and it looked a lot better than if I had left them all in colour!


I hope this post has proved useful to you and provided some insight into the process! As I said earlier you may interpret the variations in some images as me being inconsistent with my editing style but the fact of the matter is, style is just controlled by how you edit a photo, but by a range of factors.