Why I Will Retouch Your Wedding Photos
Wedding Tips – Retouching
As a wedding photographer, I am frequently asked about my approach to retouching/airbrushing/editing. This is a highly controversial topic because, in one camp, you have the purists, those that leave their subjects totally untouched as a true representation, a reliable source of historic reality. Then, you’ll find those on the other side of the fence, the ones who stop at nothing to achieve that perfect, impossibly flawless, commercial finish, sometimes altering a person’s appearance beyond recognition.
Everybody else can be found somewhere on the scale in between, which is where I sit, quite comfortably and unapologetically retouching to ensure that anything temporarily adversly affecting a bride or groom’s self-confidence in their appearance is 100% zapped. I see absolutely no reason to keep unfortunate blemishes, distracting stray hairs or unwanted shadows in a photo. My philosophy is that I want to make you look like you on a really good day! My aim is to capture how you feel when you look in the mirror and think, “Oh yay! I actually look nice today.”
For body-conscious brides, I emphasise that much of what people request to be retouched (shapes, curves and contours) are not necessarily actually a retouching job if the photographer has a sound knowledge of the technical and creative aspects that can prevent unflattering pictures in the first place; choice of lens, lighting, angle, camera settings, etc., can really alter how a person appears in a photo. Not to mention the difference that posing can make… ever seen those dodgy ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures advertising miraculous body-sculpting cures where the person is deliberately frumping out on the left and five minutes later is sucking everything in on the right? Yep, that. Look, magic, no retouch!
We are used to seeing ourselves in snapshots and selfies taken on technically limited equipment and our sense of how we look can become distorted and unsatisfying. It’s totally reasonable to want to look amazing in your wedding photos. Let’s face it, on a day when you’ve gone to such effort and expense to look your best, you want your photos to capture that, right?
For this reason, during the bride and groom portrait session (usually after the ceremony and formals), I do direct and instruct my couples to some degree, moving away from my otherwise candid style, and more towards an editorial approach, curating a beautiful set of images by deliberately finding the most flattering light, poses and camera angles. I want to create lovely pictures of which you feel proud to display in your home for years to come.
If this is important to you, it’s worth scheduling some time into your day to spend exclusively with your wedding photographer. This means you have the opportunity, away from distractions, to focus on crafting some beautiful poses in the best light and settings that are flattering and artistic. Don’t get me wrong, I also work really hard to capture the natural moments that occur throughout the day to show genuine intimacy and affection between you as a couple, but it’s such a lovely feeling to also have a little selection of images where you both look absolutely rocking hot! In my opinion, there’s no less love in a well posed photo. Crafting these signature shots are my favourite part of the entire day!
To get the best out of your bride and groom portraits, I suggest that you think about these photos in terms of 3P’s:
Carefully select your wedding photographer by looking at their portfolio to determine whether their images and philosophy really match your hopes for your own photos.
Take advantage of a pre-wedding meeting with your wedding photographer to discuss realistic expectations for your pictures. Communication is key here so feel free to show him/her any poses you might like to try and tell them what you would or wouldn’t feel comfortable doing. Find the balance between what your photographer’s creativity and experience can offer you and the images that you want from your day.
Definitely have an engagement or pre-wedding shoot with your wedding photographer to enable you to become more familiar and comfortable with each other and to act as a dry-run and a point of reference for the big day.
A pose can really make or break a photo – if you feel comfortable in front of the camera, say so, or if you feel you would really like direction for posing, let your wedding photographer know this.
Your wedding photographer will do their best to capture you at your best, however, if you feel particularly sensitive about an aspect of your appearance, discuss this with him/her so that they can be mindful of this on the day.
Talk to your wedding photographer about their process for editing. If you suddenly get a blemish, you’ll feel much more comfortable and relaxed on your wedding day knowing that he/she has already explained that they will banish it from your photos.
…in all aspects, communication with your wedding photographer is absolutely crucial. Yes, an experienced, professional photographer will probably be familiar with most of your hopes and fears BUT you’re (probably) not used to being photographed on your wedding day so discussion beforehand can really help you relax on the day which ultimately contributes to better photos.
If you want to help ensure you look your best in your wedding photos, I want to offer you the opportunity for a free pre-wedding shoot. I always advise having this shoot because it acts as a dry-run, giving us a chance to get to know each other a little. By the time your wedding day arrives, we’ll have a good knowledge of how we’ll work together which means we’ll make the best use of our time on the day.
So, if you’re getting married in 2016, get in touch! When you book your 2016 wedding photography with me, I’ll gift you a pre-wedding shoot (worth £150)!
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