Now that you have enjoyed your photo shooting with the happy couple and are left with gigabytes of photos to edit, you probably think of the insane workflow required to deliver your final result. All you need is a great, easy-to-follow plan, which involves great time management and creativity. We have already taken care of the first aspect and we will share with you the 10 efficient steps to a victorious editing process.
Step 1: Photography is Storytelling
If you imagine editing photos is a ‘post-production’ process, you are wrong, my friend. Before getting started you should have already discussed with the couple the touch and mood they want to add to their wedding album or, in other words, to their story. Wedding photography is above all a story you tell by means of images. Why not check out our tips for visual storytelling first?
The story line you wish to create will totally influence and ease your approach to the final result. Here are two options to bring up at your initial meeting with the turtle doves:
- Do you remember that antique, sepia touch so popular years ago? Some clients still prefer the retro, vintage style and are interested in traditional posing.
- If your clients are looking for a more contemporary style, be bold and suggest a Pop Art approach to their story.
Step 2: Download Photos and Select the Best Shots
Importing photos from camera into computer is not only necessary for the editing process, but also easy, especially if you follow our tips. Be clever and consider your needs first. We recommend you to choose a software that both downloads and helps you edit your photographs. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is our top choice.
Selecting shots is one of the best skills a photographer can have as it will save more time than you imagine. Lightroom allows you, for instance, to rate your already imported photos. Once you added a start rating you can use the filter settings to access your favorites. Try to select the photos you want to keep and not the ones you wish to delete! It is essential to keep a positive attitude.
Step 3: Always Store the Originals Safely
In our article on best ways to import photos we have discussed the importance of storing your originals on an external drive. This is desirable especially if you tend to save edited photos over the originals. If you decide to use Lightroom, it will allow you to select an alternative import location.
Step 4: Basic Editing Tips
Whether you use Lightroom or Photoshop to edit and retouch your material, there are some basic options to consider. As we like Lightroom (you have already figured that out), here are some editing steps to follow:
- Warm the Photos by Adjusting the White Balance
For a bright but detailed result, try to reduce background highlights and increase shadows.
- Smooth Out the Noise
Noise reduction is another aspect to consider as you will probably shoot outdoors as well and won’t always use a tripod. Lightroom allows you to easily adjust Luminance, Detail and Contrast. Keep the luminance slider between 40 and 50 and lower the contrast.
- The Key to Sharp Images
Sharpening is another essential step of the editing process. Try to focus on the main characters, but do not insist on unnaturally sharpen their skin tones and faces. What you can do is boost the Masking slider a bit and keep the Detail slider to around 10 as to avoid noise.
Make Them Glow
Of course there are many settings to play with, but try to stick to the essentials. Be careful with details and work out the exposure and clarity so as to brighten the photographs. Let the sun shine in all photos.
Step 5: The Bride is Your Priority
Yes, the couple is important, but if you want your wedding photography to be successful you have to fulfill the bride’s expectations. Bridal portraiture should be one of your main treats, but don’t miss the big picture! Weddings are perfect occasions to capture emotions and general excitement. That’s why candid photography is another must for the photo album.
Step 6: Add Brightness to Your Clients’ Wedding Photography
Weddings are cheerful occasions. Regardless of the theme and style of the story, make sure you catch the glow of happiness on everybody’s faces. Keep in mind that:
- Foreground elements are important too. Brighten or darken the background according to the mood you want to set to the scenes.
- Warm and glowing effects are a must!
- Bright eyes speak joy and happiness.
Step 8: Retouching
Do not panic, not all photos need to be retouched. Choose the ones that will be gathered in the photo album and retouch especially portraits. The trick is to make them look realistically amazing. Focus on whitening teeth, reducing bags or dark circles under eyes, and adding light to the eyes.
Step 9: Export Your Photos
Now that the editing process is almost finished, you will need to export your edited material in JPEG format and name the files according to your inspiration.
Step 10: Share Your Story
The final step is gather the main scenes and characters and create an amazing photo album. This is where your creative skills take part into the story. Make it memorable and let the images speak for themselves.