• Holly

Has your photographer taken the time to learn 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, photographers can use this magical tool called Photoshop for all of that, but not all photographers have spent the time and money to learn how to use it.


Here and there, I get asked by people to edit images that their photographers weren't able to edit (please know that I will only edit another photographer's work with their permission and if I have the extra time). With a gallery I recently reviewed, I was asked to complete head swaps on at least 20 images, decrease a double chin on a few images where a mother was trying to make her kids smile, try to put color back on desaturated faces and lighten under eye shadows. After gaining permission from the photographer, the gallery was emailed to me. I went to download the gallery, assuming there'd be between 50 and 80 images, but stopped when I realized there were 300+ images in this gallery! I don't want to take up space on my computer if I don't have to, so 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. The photographer included some images that were very unflattering to his clients, along with a ton of images where not everyone was smiling, people were blinking and things like that. This is that particular photographer's way of doing things and that may be what a lot of his clients want, it's just not what this particular client wanted after she saw her final gallery.


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

It's safe to assume when most people take photos of themselves on their phones, they don't like every image and some get deleted. 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. 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.


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.

-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.

-Lighten glasses lenses that darken with the sun.

-Selectively darken, lighten or sharpen areas with masking.

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

-Fix any lighting mistakes, where applicable.


Head Swap Composite Sample | Holly Butler Photography

In a nutshell, I will hand edit every single final image and try to make each image the best image for my clients.


Has your photographer taken the time to learn how to use Photoshop to it's fullest potential?


Glasses Glare Fix Sample | Holly Butler Photography

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, mess up the colors and it only works on 20 year olds.

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

Thanks for looking!!



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On location portrait photographer, based in Poquoson, Va