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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wedding Pictures Editing Tips and Tricks | Maris Ehlers Photography

Courtney Johnson, one of the shooters working with me this summer, sent me two of her favorite images from our Sunflower Wedding session to edit.

First of all, Courtney did a GREAT job at the shoot.  I can already see her images changing in the few weeks we've been shooting together, and she's like a sponge, soaking it all in.  I love her questions and her willingness to do just about anything that is needed, and I appreciate having her hang around. 

In her original image here, I was in front shooting directly at the bride and groom.  Courtney was shooting off to the side.  That's the challenge of a 2nd shooter - they are typically asked to use a different lens and/or shoot from a different angle in order to not have two photographers shooting exactly the same thing.  

I've decided I want to 2nd shoot a wedding with someone (something I've never done).  As the main photographer, I have the responsibility to make sure that I have the required formal portraits and that the schedule is kept and that everything is captured, but the 2nd shooter gets to be very creative with their shooting if they wish, without the pressure.  I think I might like that once or twice!  Of course, the main photographer gets to tell you what to do, so then again... :)  

Anyway, back to Courtney's image.  Again, these images are compressed so a lot of the details and points that I will be talking about are more visible on the original (real) images than they are here.  In the original image, the shading on the bride's face is much darker, and the background is blown out.  The white balance is producing really strong greens and yellows (Courtney is working on that this week), and the front of the bride is blown out (meaning too bright and detail has been lost) as well.  Having said that, the composition is what makes this picture.  The almost kiss is just fabulous, and what I love about it is that look wasn't possible from the angle I was shooting at.   

Here's my edit.  This does look better in real life, but I'll explain it anyway.  The firs thing I did was correct the white balance to reduce some of the sharp yellow-greens and make the tones more natural to that time of day.  I then brought some extra brightness onto the bride's face and smoothed skin textures just a smidge.  I vignetted the edges to create more of an area of focus around the bride and groom, and it also added to the drama a bit, I think.  

In this next image, Courtney used a macro lens to get up close and capture some exquisite detail of the bouquet and ring.  It's a really nice image.  There seems to be a lack of focal point, however.  The point of the image that is most in focus is part of the center of the flower (towards the outside of the dark brown), and the ring is not quite as in focus as it could or should be.   The white balance is off a bit giving the flower petals a bit of a neon feel out in the sun.

original file as shot by courtney
In my edit, I did a couple of things.  First of all, I cropped the image to make the ring the focal point.  It still isn't as sharp as it should be, but I can't change that aspect.  I then deepened the range of color, and added some intensity to the background, hopefully creating a more dynamic, 3 dimensional feel to the picture itself.   Cropping can really make a big difference in the story an image tells.  The top image is more about the flower, and the bottom one is more about the ring.  

I should point out that all monitors do not see color the same.  Mine is callibrated to my printer, so I adjusted tones and colors accordingly.  If yours isn't callibrated, this bottom image may look overly dark and/or red.
my edit
Courtney, thanks for letting me play with the images from our session.  You're doing great!

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