Unless you're part of my immediate family, you probably never see any of my photos before they're edited. If you've worked with me for a session, the images I show you have been carefully chosen and perfected so they (and you!) look their best. And if you follow me on social media, the images you see there are finished products as well.
Most of what I do is correcting color and exposure, though I do try my best to get these things right as I'm shooting. I like to present images that are true to life, so my editing is pretty minimal and (hopefully) unnoticeable. I'm not trying to change my subject or the scene I saw; I'm just trying to enhance what I was able to capture.
Krista in the Snow
This one is a good example of correcting exposure and enhancing the subject. Shooting in snow is tricky. (I actually shared an entire blog post a few months ago about photographing snowy scenes). I loved the pose and expression I captured in the first image, but it's a little dark. The snow turned out a bit grey and Krista's face didn't pop out from the scene very much. I brightened and whitened the entire image, gave a little extra brightness to the subject's face, and I cropped it slightly to straighten the horizon.
Daniel Senior Portrait
Here's one that turned out a little too bright straight out of the camera. It's a nice picture, but nothing really "pops." In the edit, I turned down the exposure and focused on bringing out the black parts of the image. Daniel and his red coat really stand out in the edited version, and the entire scene has more depth.
Dani and Brad at Lindenwood
This one is a self-timer portrait I took of my husband and myself this past fall. It's also a good example of an image that had to be corrected for color. The leaves were bright and vibrant, which made a great fall backdrop, but the yellow and orange light reflecting off them made the whole picture look too warm. It's a subtle difference between the edits, but you can see that our skin tones look less orange and more natural in the second photo.
Ethan Senior Portrait
The biggest issue with this image is that I took it too quickly (trying to capture Ethan's natural laugh) and it turned out pretty crooked. You can really tell if you look at the building behind the subject. The edited version is brightened a bit, and it's also straightened so the horizon isn't at an odd angle.
Dani's Family Portrait
Here you can see my entire immediate family standing on the Purdue Fort Wayne bridge on Thanksgiving morning when it was 27 degrees and windy. (They'll thank me later.) The original image really turned out nicely considering the dreary weather. This was a pretty quick edit: just a few adjustments to brighten and warm it slightly (so the sky behind us didn't look quite so cold and dismal), and a small crop to make sure we were all centered.
Julie's Dear Senior Photo Shoot
First of all, if you haven't read Julie's Dear Senior feature, go check it out! This image from Julie's photo shoot turned out too bright originally. (I over-compensated for the shadows under the overhang.) I turned the brightness down and brought out the black areas of the image to add contrast. And I didn't do this originally, but for this post I removed the bits of trash behind Julie and in the reflection in the window.
So there was a little behind-the-scenes look at how my editing process affects the final product. You can see my editing is usually pretty minimal, and focuses on bright, natural colors. I really do try to get most things right in camera as I'm shooting, but I'm thankful for tools like Photoshop that make it easy to adjust and enhance an image later on.
If you're in the market for a professional photographer for your senior portraits, I'd love to work with you! I do more than just show up, take your pictures, and send you a disk. We work together to plan a session that shows off who you are as a senior and young adult, and my sessions are designed to provide you with prints and keepsakes as well as digital images. Send me a message to let me know you're interested, and I'll get in touch with more information.