Processing Your Wedding Photography
What do we mean when we say that we select and process your wedding photographs?
When digital cameras take a photograph they do so in RAW format which includes a huge amount of image data that can provide detail and colour across a broad range of tones, far more than is necessary for an image. There will be detail and colour information for highlights, midtones and shadows, and while sometimes you might not need to make any adjustments most of the time the end result, without processing, will look a bit flat and dull.
You might not even notice this unless you process an image and see what you can get when you process it to your liking, adjusting for colour temperature, contrast, highlight detail, shadow detail, sharpness, colour balance, etc. When we process an image we are not retouching or manipulating a photograph, we’re simply looking to make it look the best it can be to our idea of what it should be - every photographer has their own style, and most of them would process the same RAW file in any number of different ways.
RAW file JPG
This is a jpg made fom a camera RAW file without any adjustments. To us it looks a bit dull, lacks contrast, needs colour correction, and just feels a bit flat.
We shoot thousands of photographs when we shoot a wedding, and once we have selected the images we think best tell a story of the day we start to process every one to get the best result. We process the RAW file with our standard settings, these look after things like colour temperature, contrast, shadow detail, highlight detail, etc. Already there is more punch to the image, and while the standard setting won’t correct everything for all images on a wedding shoot, it will give us a good basis to start from. When all the images go through standard processing we then go through them one by one and make individual adjustments, it’s time-consuming and labour intensive but the extra effort really is worth it.
We do this on request, image by image, as there is an extra charge involved because it is more time consuming. Once you get beyond the Standard Processing you’re looking at taking specific requests for each image from clients, and this can range from simple fixes like skin smoothing, fixing blemishes, rashes, straightening this, curving that, making bits thinner or plumping them up…basically, whatever can the client wants done. This is all something that we would class as image retouching, something that goes beyond simple contrast and colour adjustments. Honestly, we spend more time fixing Grooms than we do Brides as women tend to look after themselves and their skin far better than the guys. It’s really not common at all for us to do this with wedding photos, it’s something we do much more often with advertising and promotional work.
Black & White Photos
Once we’ve processed an image in colour we then decide whether to convert it to black and white. Not every image works as well in black and white as it does in colour, so we choose what works best and couples seem happy for us to do that. We have our own settings we work from and, like we do when processing colour, we have standard black and white processes that we use on all images before making individual adjustments for each one. We bought studied photography at college, shooting on black and white film and processing it ourselves before hand printing each image in the darkroom. So, we have a feel for this and we adore black and white photos.
Split Toned Photos
Sometimes pure black and white photos might not do the trick, especially one-off images, so we can always warm things up or cool them down with colour toning the black and white image. Personally, I like split toned images with warm highlights and cooler shadows.
Sepia Toned Photos
Black and White photos can be toned with any colour at all, the most common being sepia toning to give images a vintage feel.