Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Editing: The Untold Truth

"Do you edit your images? Can I see your RAW images?"

What do you think separates a good photographer from a great or even an extraordinary photographer? For us photographers, we consider elements like lighting and composition to define what pieces of work inspire or captivate us. But for many others, a nice picture might be described as conveying emotion, creating interest or placing us in an environment or scene we have not experienced before. However, although much thought goes into taking the shot, like cookie dough, there is much work that must be done before it gets served at The Cookie Corner (personal favorite).

Introducing the world of RAW images...

This, for many photographers, is a touchy subject and has been one that I have tip-toed around for awhile. When someone takes pictures on an automatic/point-and-shoot camera, the camera sets up your settings to balance the lighting in the scene in front of you as well as automatically adjusting for saturation and contrast.

When I take a picture, I adjust my settings for lighting but default my settings to leave the additional contrast and saturation for post production. Like a model without make-up, many photographers shift uncomfortably with showing their RAW images to the public. For some, it's a sign of vulnerability - a way for others to see the flaws in their exposure or composition that they try to compensate for with editing. For others, they would just rather sell baked cookies versus cookie dough. Admittedly, when I first started out my photography, I, like many, fell into the first category. I didn't want to show people that my pictures weren't 'perfect' or that my pictures were blown out because I mistakenly exposed for the wrong subject or used the wrong lighting. However, as I've grown throughout my photography, I've learned to accept my mistakes and use them to better myself. Editing is no longer a way to counter insecurities or mask flaws from others, but a way to pursue perfection in my images in a way that I see fit.

Below are some of my *GASP* RAW, unedited images side-by-side with their edited, finished counterparts.

- This shot is one that I did from a wedding a few weeks ago. Using a shady area to control my lighting, I exposed for their faces to maintain proper lighting and then darkened the background and bumped up color and contrast in post-production (PP). - 

- This was another shot from a wedding I did a couple weeks ago. I underexposed a little bit for their faces to make sure the background wasn't completely blown out. The window of the church was used as my reflector/fill light to bounce the strong, mid-day sun. -
- In PP I darkened the background as well as bumping colors and contrast.-

- In this shot from my engagement shot last weekend, I used the intense afternoon sunlight on their backs as a rim light to create separation from the background, while underexposing a tad to maintain details. The mirrors of a buildling across the field we were at was able to bring up some of the shadows in their faces. -

- In PP, I brought up the colors and contrast of the background, while decreasing the shadows in the face. I polished off the photo with a little vignetting to enhance the subjects. -

- Shooting with the sun on my back, this shot was mainly about keeping my composure.This wave was about six or seven feet tall in the face and it was breaking onto a sandbar covered by a foot of water. I had been thinking about this shot for awhile and it took a long time of calming my nerves before I sat in the impact zone and snapped this shot.

- The finished product - I enhanced the colors as well as upped the contrast so that the water would really sparkle from the sunlight to convey a sort of peace right before impact. -

All in all, to me, editing is my way of either 1) making my photos look as natural as possible or 2) creating a mood that conveys what I'm trying to express. Sure, there are times that I get a bad exposure or an off-white balance that I have to compensate for with some editing, but for the most part, photography is in capturing the moment. Anyone can buy a camera. Anyone can do my edits. But having taken that picture and calling it yours... that's something I find most valuable.
I sell cookies.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Joe and Emily Engagement Shoot


- Joe and Emily -
Engagement shoots are sometimes my favorite types of shoots to do because they are much less stressful than weddings but they still provide a great opportunity to capture the happiness and excitement of two people in love. Joe and Emily were my last shoot of the year and how excited I was to find out that they were both Creighton grads! As such, we thought it was only fitting to do some photos on campus first and then move to the Old Market for the second part of our shoot. Along with the couple, Joe informed me that their 5-month old Golden Retriever pup was going to be tagging along. Lucy was a bundle of energy, but an absolute joy to have along.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Brian and Jacquelyn

- Brian and Jacquelyn -
What a great way to end of this wedding season! By far, this wedding was one of the most lively and entertaining ones of this year and I'm so glad that I could be a part of this day. Jacquelyn and Brian both had such great personalities that really shined throughout their pictures. Keep reading to see more from this fantastic wedding!

- One of my favorite ring shots to date -

- I really liked this lamp, so I figured I'd play around a little bit with some creative lighting -

- The girls 'pregaming' for the night's festivities (dancing, of course!) -

- Studs -

- It takes the average groom 15 minutes to get ready for his wedding. The spare 4 hours go unaccounted for - shooting the (wind) with the guys -

- Cover photo for the November issue of Forbes Magazine -

- Final touches before the wedding -

- Don't forget the flower girl! -

- Beautiful weather and a slight respite in the wind allowed this frame -

- Anxious to get to the Moon, we snapped a few shots in the parking lot with 'Lulu', we figured she was adopted by the Ollie-family -

- Das boot - Completed -

- When you're married, you don't play with quarters -

- Enjoying a few cigars on the street.. and in the parking structure -

- 'Marriage' -


- Mr. & Mrs. Brian File-

Being my last wedding of this season, I took this chance to reflect over all the people who I've had the pleasure of meeting and about the experiences each wedding has given me. To all the brides and grooms, thank you very much for trusting me with your wedding day; I sincerely hope that I was able to capture all of the day's emotions so that months and years from now, the memories will still be as vibrant and lively as they are now. To all my friends and family who have supported me, I hope that you, too, have enjoyed following along on my adventure. I am so blessed to have such a loving 'ohana who has never failed to give me kind words, honest critique and the confidence required to pursue this passion. Future clients, thanks for taking the time to check out my work. I hope that you can envision the overwhelming joy and happiness that you, too, will experience come your big day.
Thank you all for your support, and make sure to stay tuned for next weekend's Engagement shoot for Joe and Emily!