What is this service?
I was often asked by couples whose weddings I hadn’t shot to colour correct and edit their photos for various reasons. Either they didn’t like the colour cast, the framing, there may have been things in the background they didn’t like or that things were just badly edited.
As a result I decided to offer it a service available to everyone and I now deal with couples from all over the world.
What are the limitations to this service?
Speaking from experience it’s the size and type of files I’m handed to edit that dictates what can be done.
I’ve had jpg files, raw unedited files, heavily processed files, phone images and in a couple of cases had to grab stills from video (their photos were THAT bad).
Certain things can’t be rescued which is why I ask to see the files in full or part before I take on a job. Managing expectations is important to me. Sure, Instagram and in phone apps make things seem simple as does the advent of AI but the truth is when it comes to a large digital photo the reality is nothing like that.
i.e. I can’t correct an image taken with a phone when the lens was smeared. It’s hard enough with the amount of computational processing already applied in device and the often tiny size of the file.
Essentially the more a file is processed the less I can get back from it. Processing removes detail and once it’s gone from the file it’s hard to recover.
Can you retouch and reshape our skin, chin, bodies?
The reason for this is that crosses the line into retouching. Sure, if you’ve a spot on your nose in every photo or a cold sore then I can absolutely remove that but for most other things you really need someone who does body reshaping day in, day out as a career otherwise the images can look inconsistent and the editing fairly obvious between frames.
I can remove things, (I have a visceral dislike of health a safety signs in wedding photos) and I can even help out with frizzy hair to a certain extent but reshaping the face is a no go area for me.
Plus, it’s also highly subjective. A good example was once a bride asked me to smooth her skin which was already like glass.
As a side note to this if you have your wedding photos and are zooming in to meticulously study your face for imperfections that’s not how wedding photos are supposed to work. See the image as a whole.
Can we see some examples?
I can show you a few examples of editing on your photos but from other clients? No, due to privacy.
I have lots of images on my website but I absolutely have to maintain integrity between my clients when it comes to images I didn’t shoot. I want YOU to know nobody else will see these re-edits. Often couples come to me because a friend has shot their wedding or that they don’t want to upset their original photographer and sometimes couples are simply embarrassed by the whole thing.
When a couple gets to this stage they sometimes feel like they’re being picky when most of the time they aren’t. ‘We really loved our photographer but…’ sort of thing.
The images you have on your website are great, will ours look like that?
The images on my website are all taken at wedding by myself.
I had control over the equipment used, where I placed the couple, the family and what direction relative to the light.
I wasn’t there for your wedding, as a result it’s unlikley, I’m held hostage to your file integrity, the light, the location, the people there. I do aim for that look but often things get in the way of that.
Tell me about previous edits
I think the one to start off with would be a big wedding in the USA across two days. Day one was a pre-wedding event with a Mariachi band and dinner in a fort under the stars with a big wedding the following day for 200 guest on an estate.
All the elements were there except the photography. There were two photographers and video. To me this wedding was legendary because it was as if the photographers didn’t know how to use a camera.
One camera was being shot with too high an aperture meaning everything was in focus but blurry and the other photographer was using too wide an aperture meaning everything was out of focus but not blurry.
Thankfully I could do something with this and I had the video footage to pull stills from.
This took me a week to complete. The couple went from around 300 images to over 900.
In this example a couple had a friend shoot their wedding and the framing was out on everything. Images were wonky, poorly exposed, lots of things were out but all fixable. I created a much nicer, representative and concise set. Sometimes it’s better to just forget certain photos, less can be more.
A beach wedding shot at too high an aperture. What this means is that the light reaching the camera is reduced in order to have more things in focus. This isn’t ideal for weddings, there’s no ‘boofyness’ in the background and the subjects don’t stand out.
In this case I blurred the backgrounds in a believable way and restored colour in the sea, sky.
These images had what can only be described as an instagram type filter across the entire set, there was a brown tinge to everything and it was as if the colour green wasn’t a thing. I made it a thing and corrected the set.
Tell me about work you've turned away
I’ll always be honest with couples about my abilities so managing expectations is a big thing for me which is why I ask for examples and or a link to a full gallery.
With this example these were wedding photos so good I couldn’t do anything with them. As in, ultra high end magazine level work that other photographers aspire to but the client didn’t like their face and asked for it to be retouched. It was already smooth as glass with highlights in the right place. I politely declined this job as a result. An editor can never truly understand an individuals body image so they’re editing blind.
This was a nice wedding that 99% of the population goes to, hall venue, church, fairly decent weather and light but the bride felt the images lacked pop and were dark.
In this instance and because I shoot weddings I could see the limitations placed upon the photographer, how the light fell and the intent of the artist. There wasn’t much I could do to correct this, primarily because so much work had already been done already.
Sometimes I’m asked to edit an image that looks dull when in reality it was down to the dark suits, dark background, overcast weather etc and there’s simply not much that can be done.
I was contacted by a Bride who was married in Italy. Great location and content but a lot of the images had a brown cast over them. Skintones were off the chart bad, the gorgeous blue sky was hidden by an orange wash and desaturated.
I removed the colour cast on the samples sent, the image looked great and everything was technically accurate. Very much how my own images look. Yet, the Bride wanted this to look colder, more blue, darker and as a result this knocks everything else out. It would have ended up looking a different kind of bad.
This type of editing falls under the body image / subjective viewpoint that I’m not privvy to. I’m not the client, I’m not in front of their screen. I edit on a £4000 Eizo colour accurate broadcast grade screen. If a clients phone screen is too warm, or their laptop, too cold then I can’t do anything. The editing goalposts will constantly move an otherwise simple edit becomes a headache.
We're unsure, what should we do?
Wedding photos are personal and we’d like the best for our days. I’ve had couple send me absolutely terrible images (despite their photographer having a glossy, fancy instagram and website) and I’ve had couples send me gorgeous high end wedding photos from their spring wedding in Malta that I couldn’t improve upon because they were already there. Different couple see things differently.
If in doubt, send them over. I’ll never oversell my abilities, I’ll be honest and give you a fair overview on the images. Sometimes a second opinion from another professional is all that’s needed.
How should I send you the images?
The most common way is to either send me a few images via email (on my contact page) and / or send me a link to the full gallery.
That way I can give you some idea on what can be done!
If you are able to send me the raw files then a USB stick or memory card is most likely easier. If it’s less that 300 images then I can set up a shared folder for you on Dropbox.