"A wedding photographer's job isn't done when the wedding is over." (Theresa, Theresa Bridget Photography) And if any photographer you meet thinks otherwise, my advice is to move right along. Not only is he or she there to photograph the big day, but to provide you with the best images that will depict your story, your love, and your commitment for years to come. A photographer is an artist who you will be hand-choosing and trusting to tell your story.
The topic of photo editing is one that you may not have thought about yet, but is a very important question to ask each of your potential photographers. Will I receive the raw images or will they be hand-edited?
And I am going to start off by saying this: There is absolutely nothing wrong with a non-edited photo. And in some cases, there are certain non-edited photos that are more stunning than the edited ones. But this determination is up to the photographer, the artist, and will be determined on an photo-by-photo basis.
In my eyes, a bride and groom should never receive photos that haven't been touched, unless the photographer has specifically decided that the one or two photos look better untouched, which is not very common. Now I am not saying that a photographer should be expected to go through the thousands of photos that were taken on your wedding day and individually edit out each blemish and give each leaf on the tree the perfect color. (If they are creating your wedding album, then this is a different story!) We are not trying to make you look like a new person here. In fact, it would be devastating if a photographer did so much editing that you didn't even look like yourself! But what I am talking about here is the lighting, the colors, the overall feel of the photo.
Have you every seen a beautiful black and white photo that was just so stunning because there was no color involved? The image itself was what made the photo beautiful. And this is exactly what makes a photographer an artist. He or she will choose the photos that best tell the story in black in white, or the ones that with a little pop of color make the scene look as it did in real life. And while some may disagree, this is why you hired your photographer - because you love the stories they are able to tell through their beautiful still images.
What if your wedding ceremony is delayed and the sun has gone down? You may not have much of a story told without the lightening of that ceremony shot. And what if the sun is shining so bright on your wedding day that you look like a ghost? These are factors that you can never control but regardless, you are going to want photos to tell the story of your day and without a little editing, this may not be possible.
Take a look at the image below. When my husband first saw it, he said, "I don't even see a difference!" If you thought the same, then take a second look...
And I think I may be able to guess what comes out of your mouth next..."If I can barely tell the difference between the two photos, then why does it matter anyways?" To me, photos like these are what matter the most. Theresa took the time to do a slight edit in the photo, not because she had all of the time in the world to sit around editing images, but because she loves telling the story of love and she believed that spending the time to make even a slight change would better depict the scene she was trying to capture.
Would you prefer a photographer who spends time on each and every photo to make sure it is the best quality possible? Or a photographer who thinks, "The bride and groom won't be able to tell the difference anyways, so why bother!" Your photographer should take pride in their work and want to spend as much time as possible capturing and depicting the best quality images for each and every couple.
You are going to be paying a pretty penny to have these people tell your story. And despite that price (which is totally worth it), the time and effort a photographer is willing to put in on even the slightest lighting edit, shows you that this is a photographer you want to work with throughout planning and on your wedding day.
Find a photographer that treats every image as if it is their own and I promise you, you will love the outcome.
I believe that photography is one of the most important aspects of anyone's wedding day. Your cake will be consumed, your flowers will wilt, and your dress will be put away deep in the closet to be hidden until you have kids who want to see it. But despite everything else that doesn't stay with you, your photos do. These are the images that will sit in a beautiful album on your coffee table for each visitor to look through. These are the images that your children, grandchildren, and maybe even ancestors will look at one day, laughing at how silly that gown and hair do are. These images will last a lifetime.
"Beyond the Lens" is a collaborative series helping brides make the most of their wedding photos - the do's, the don'ts, and the absolute musts.