Things customers don’t see……Photoshop work

There has been one very big change since digital photography became popular in the last decade. With film photography there wasn’t very much that could be done after the image had been captured apart form a little local adjustment during printing.

Now photographers spend more time on post production than they do on an actual shoot. Good photographers are always conscientious about getting the best out of their images. A £1000 wedding package can involve four days work. Rather longer than the four hours that they are seen to be working at the ceremony and reception. This is how the time would be spent:-

Initial journey to talk to the couple to get the job. Often I drive 40miles (round trip) to where the bride lives. On a few occasions the Bride visits me but it still takes about 2 hours
2 hours

Look around the wedding venues. Most couples expect this.
3 hours plus mileage.

Actual wedding day. We are usually at the Bride’s house one hour before the ceremony and stay until the reception. Most weddings are on Saturdays or bank holidays when people who work expect to be paid extra as does my assistant.
4 hours plus mileage

+4 hours assistant time

Sophisticated digital upload isn’t just a matter of pushing a switch. Each picture has to be opened and looked at individually. Any bad pictures are thrown out.¬†Each picture is then hand cropped to fit the image. No machine can do this automatcally very well. The pictures are then uploaded. About 200 pictures are used from up to 500 pictures actually taken. They all have to look reasonable on the website even though they are actually only the proofs.
8 hours

Usually the couple comes to see me to sort out the pictures they want for their about. This takes a couple of hours.
2 hours

Once the choice of album images has been made further improvements are done to most of the chosen photos. This is where Photoshop work really starts.
16 hours

The pictures have to printed and stuck into an album and delivered to the couple, or I have to be available when they collect it.
2 hours

41 working hours Total

Photoshop is a remarkable tool that has raised peoples expectations of photography. Its no longer acceptable to offer clients photographs that could be improved. Its now possible to remove overhead power lines, and the ‘ no parking’ notices that clutter our streets. The list of expected improvements is endless. It is easy for me to spent two working days on cleaning up outdoor shots.

Clients often do not understand that its very consuming and everything cannot be done. You can erase a bird flying in front of a person’s face. But you cannot invent a face to fill up the hole then left by that bird!

If you add all of this time up you can see that its well in excess of the the frequently alleged time that the photographer was seen taking photos at the actual wedding . Its much the same situation with portrait shoots whether on location or in my studio.

Unfortunately the small picture size that the blog size allows makes it difficult to see a lot of small change in the before and after pictures used to illustrate this blog. The original photograph taken at the bride’s house before the wedding. Some of our best pictures are done at this time before the wedding ceremony.

The edited image that has been cropped closer to remove distractive elements, the curtains diffused, the bedhead has been completely removed, and the colour temperature has been warmed slightly. All of the near white detail is retained in the brides dress.