Photoshop is not a magic tool! Yes, it can do some incredibly amazing things, but still, there is no Photoshop magic. I think photography clients have been led to believe that Photoshop can achieve ANYTHING—and, in a lot of cases, it can achieve almost anything… but IT CAN NOT make your eyes happier, or your smile happier. I saw this post on Facebook yesterday and it made me cringe, then giggle a bit, and finally realize that I may be contributing to this problem.
Here are some simple, yet very effective, tips to help achieve the best images:
- Make sure everyone is well rested and fed prior to your session.
- If you want to appear happy, find something to be really happy about and then, smile about it.
- If you don’t want wrinkled clothes, iron them.
- If you want a blue shirt in the image, wear a blue shirt.
- If you want to take your portrait in an open field, communicate that to your photographer.
- If you want your nails to look good, groom them.
- If you want professional hair and makeup, hire a professional hair stylist and makeup artist.
- If you want a dinosaur to chase you and your wedding party, let me know where I can find one.
I’m all about using Photoshop as a tool to improve an image and make my clients feel their absolute best. However, I am not about changing an image so that it morphs into something completely unrecognizable. I feel my job as a photographer is to capture the truth—a very beautiful version of the truth. On average, I retouch a session for four hours for every hour I spend shooting it. Most of my portrait sessions last about two hours. This means I spend eight hours retouching—that’s a total of 10 hours working and it doesn’t include posting proofs, writing an accompanying blog, submitting the print order, or delivering the client’s products. The last thing I want is to do is add another 22 hours in my work flow Photoshopping happier smiles.
I’m considering that maybe I am part of this problem. I occasionally like to showcase my Photoshop skills. At least once in every session, I’ll point out a power line, or some other obtrusive object, and advise my clients not to worry about “that” being in the final image… I’ll Photoshop it out. What I don’t mention is that the Photoshopping is a last resort. I don’t let them know that there is no possible angle to avoid to the obstruction. I neglect to say that I am purposely shooting from an angle that will create the most ideal situation to remove the obstruction in Photoshop. I don’t explain that I’m capturing the image full-knowing that I will have to Photoshop it and it will not be an afterthought.
In my mind, I think I’m pointing out how this sets me apart from other photographers and proves my worth, knowledge and skill. However, what I may actually be doing is feeding into the idea that Photoshop will fix anything. From now on, I will take a slightly different approach to better educate my clients about the complexities of Photoshop. The bottom line is that photographers don’t finish a session and start thinking of additional ways to spend time working on it. A professional photographer simply wants to be able to deliver the best product possible without spending 17 hours changing your paisley-patterned tie to a checker board one. And, honestly, I don’t even know what to say about a smashed nose. Until next time, be positive, happy, and healthy, and don’t forget to be photographed.
I am a San Antonio-based wedding and senior photographer who started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. As one of the up-and-coming San Antonio wedding photographers, I am also available to shoot in Austin, Houston and Dallas and the surrounding areas. I am also available for destination weddings worldwide. Ata-Girl Photography Co. offers an amazing wedding photography service that you won’t soon forget. As a professional photographer, my sole purpose is to provide you the absolute best photography experience.
I am a professional photographer who enjoys documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I love hiking, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and most importantly, I enjoy seeing my daughters happy!
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