Recently I was at an event and someone said the inevitable "That's a really nice camera... it must take really good pictures." (Insert eye roll by Diane here.)
You see, to me that is like telling Harper Lee she must have had a really good typewriter to write To Kill a Mockingbird. When I am photographing, the end result is only partially finished at the capture during the session. SOMETIMES I may get lucky and the stars align and the image is almost flawless straight out of the camera, but that is rarely.
After a session, I will load up the images into a program and sort, or cull, through them. I pick out what I want to edit. How do I cull? Well, I can't really explain it.. the same way a teacher just knows a kid is maybe having issues or a nurse knows a patient is going to crump on their shift, its just a gift. I've accepted that. But I am looking for things: composition, coloring, good light/dark balance and exposure. I'm looking at if that looks like, say the senior I am shooting, or a kid posing for senior picture. (There is a difference.)
After I cull, sometimes I do a second cull, sometimes not, just depending on how many images we shot. The reality is the human brain is overwhelmed with information and data and it is my responsibility to present the "best of the best" of the images to my clients when they finally get their images.
Then the post processing/editing/photoshopping (but I don't use photoshop.... ) starts. For my older clients, I will soften wrinkles, but those wrinkles tell stories and I'm not fully removing them. :) I remove blemishes. I ask clients about scars, if they want them removed or left. My job is to make the best version of the client, not the "Perfect face/body." I look at the overall image and enhance colors and lights and darks. I use my knowledge about what are eyes are drawn to, and the natural path of observation to crop and edit. And it all takes time. Time well spent.
I have attached a before image and a sped-up time lapse video of the works that go into an image. With this beautiful young lady, I wanted to especially bring out those amazing blue eyes.
Thank you for taking time to read and learn about what I do and my process!