Has your photographer taken the time to learn to edit in Photoshop?

Did you know that photo editing dates back to the 1800's? Film photographers would manipulate their negatives before developing their photos. They used blades and chemicals on their negatives on special tables to do things like smooth skin imperfections and make people look like they had lost weight. I've even seen online samples of composites from way before computers existed.

Nowadays, there are photo editing programs photographers can use and I believe the most efficient program is Photoshop.I took Photoshop courses at a local college years ago, but Photoshop is so in-depth, I still find myself learning new things 15+ years after taking in depth courses!

Here and there, I get asked by people to edit photos that were not taken by me and I've realized some of the things that are being asked of me can only be done in Photoshop, but not every photographer knows Photoshop.

Kodak Siz-30 Compur 5-4.5 (1930s)

I was recently asked to review another photographer's gallery to make some Photoshop edits. The client wanted me to complete head swaps on at least 20 images, lighten under eye shadows and decrease a double chin on a few images where a mother was laughing with her kids. With every professional photo gallery, there are going to be images that our clients wouldn't want to see and would probably delete if they were on their phone. These images mainly include people blinking, people in unflattering poses and too many photos with at least one person not smiling. My personal preference is, when I edit a gallery, I will delete the images that are unflattering, or I will see what I can do to improve them in Photoshop, the way I would want my images improved in Photoshop.

After gaining permission from the photographer, the gallery was emailed to me. I was assuming there'd be between 50 and 80 images, but there were 300+ images in this gallery! I started looking through and found about 30 decent images out of 300+ and I also saw about 30 more that I think could've been improved with composites and small edits in Photoshop 😬. I thought the photography was great, but there were around 250 images where not everyone was smiling, people were in the middle of blinking, unflattering poses and more things like that... things that I don't usually send to my clients. This is that particular photographer's way of doing things and I'm not bashing at all, it's just not what I would've wanted if this were my photographer! I assumed this photographer either doesn't know how to head swap in Photoshop, or doesn't use it to Photoshop's potential.

**Please know that I will only edit another photographer's work with their permission and if I have the extra time.

Photoshoppy things that I can think of that I've done in lots of galleries:

-Head swaps/composites, if the lighting/background/clothes are the same and it will look right.

-Soften wrinkles.

-Reduce oily skin.

-Lessen double chins if asked.

-Remove people standing in the background.

-Remove dog leashes.

-Remove bra straps.

-Soften eczema.

-Smooth hair flyaways.

-Remove boogers.

-Remove or soften acne.

-Lighten under eye darkness.

-Remove glasses glare, if it'll look right.

-Add or enhance the sun.

-Add or enhance the sky.

-Shave off 10 lbs if asked.

-Fix nail polish.

-Fix an unzipped fly.

-Clone out a tag.

-Clone out drool.

-Help a girl out with her hair roots.

-Lighten glasses lenses that darken with the sun.

-Selectively darken, lighten or sharpen areas with masking.

-Fix any lighting mistakes, where applicable.

-Copy every single final image and make it black and white.

There are so many details that I try to pay attention to and adjust for my clients' final galleries!

In a nutshell, I will hand edit every single final image and try to make each image the best image for my clients. I sit at my computer for hours making these edits and I believe my clients appreciate the work!

Edits you will not see me do to my cleints' galleries:

-Batch editing, without selectively adjusting for every different photo because the first photo and the last photo in an outdoor photo session are going to have different lighting.

-The dark shadow/low color saturation editing trend because it deepens wrinkles, messes up the colors and it only works on 20 year olds, in my opinion.

-The light and airy editing trend because if every shadow is lightened, I would be adding weight to my clients and the sky will disappear.

-Warm/orange editing, unless I selectively/mask edit the Fall colors in trees, NOT people's skin.

-Black and white with color pop because it's simply not my style.

So, when shopping for a photographer, ask if they can do these things if you think you would want them to! 😊

Kodak Siz-30 Compur 5-4.5 (1930s)

See also: My Editing Process.

Thanks for looking!!

This blog post was written in 2022. It was updated when it was copied to the current HBP website.