Friday, September 17, 2010

There's value in excellent post-processing

Quite often I hear an array of questions swirling around like, "why hire a professional when I can just have my mom take pictures with her digital camera?" or a different type of question like, "how to you get your pictures to look the way you do?" So here are a few pictures & explanations that could potentially answer both of those questions :)

STEP 1: take a great picture out of camera. You can't just rely on post-processing alone, you need to know your cameras and lenses well, and understand how to use your equipment, settings and circumstances to your advantage. The first image is straight out of camera. Canon 5D Mark II, 100mm macro lens, f/2.8, 1/160 exposure, ISO-400. This photo was taken under complete shade using natural light, shade white balance, the center cross type focus.

STEP 2: color correction. I really strive to make all my wedding collections and portrait collections very consistent in color, lighting, and accurate skin tones. I always shoot in RAW and do all my culling and basic editing in Adobe Lightroom. The difference between the first image and the second is the color correction, a slight vignette, +20 exposure, and a little bit of fill light.

STEP 3: retouching. Before sending photos off to the lab to be printed I go through a final time and touch up any blemishes, shaded spots, or minor flaws of the image. Comparing the out of camera image to the final one is a huge difference to me. Sure, the first image wasn't bad, but the final one is much much better.

To other photographers who are just starting out, and to those who are looking for a photographer, this is what I always remind myself and others: great gear doesn't equal great images, AND there's value in excellent post-processing. There's a huge difference between the work of a professional photographer who has put their talent, experience and artistry into an image using professional gear.... and someone who just picks up a digital camera and snaps a photo on auto.

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