BEFORE & AFTER | FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS


I’ve been wanting to do this post for a while and I am so glad I did it! It made me exam my own workflow and technique even more when I have to break it down step by step. I need to preface it by saying that this is no way a tutorial on how do edit an image; it is mainly sharing what I do, and hopefully other photographers will find it useful as well. Like most photographers, I try to get my image 90% correct SOOC, that’s a cool way of saying “straight out of the camera.” Not only it saves me time editing photos afterwards, it’s also pretty darn cool that I am able to show my client the images as we are shooting. I cannot stress enough about the importance of getting it as close to a perfect image SOOC! I am a photographer, not a graphic artist. And I’d rather spend my time shooting! Since I edit 95% in Adobe Lightroom, only on very few occasions I’d edit in Photoshop. In the case of this image, I feel it was justified to spend the extra time on it because I loved this image.

Here’s the break down. We shot this about 7:00PM with the late afternoon son coming from behind the groom’s head. During our location scouting, we have identified this shot as one of the ‘must-haves’ for the bride and groom. The straight out of the camera image is okay. Most people would say it’s acceptable, but it could be better. Here are a few things I disliked about the image right off the bat;

1. Image is tilted. Sometimes it works, but in this image we are going for a classical look. I wanted the image to be dead on in regards to the horizon line.
2. Since the sun is coming from behind the groom, bride’s face is dark.
3. The white plaster wall in the back is distracting; it competes with the couple.

Here are what I liked;

1. The way the bride and groom are looking at each other.
2. The simple geometry and the lines make this image timeless.


So the first thing I did is to rotate the image so it’s perfectly horizontal. I also clone/stamped in the foliage so it looks full and less distracting.


Bumped up the contrast and exposure on the overall image. but I dodged the bride’s face to make it appear more balanced with the rest of the image.


After looking at the image; I decided to turn it into black and white. My experience is that unless the picture is perfect in color, it just won’t look right in black and white. Now here’s where every photographer’s different. When I turn my image into black and white, I tend to bump up the contrast even more than usual. I just like the look. But in order not to lose any of the detail on the dress, I had to go into my shadow/highlight adjustment to bring back some of the blown highlights on the dress.

So that’s it! The whole process probably took 20 minutes. It’s extra time well spent as far as I am concerned. I have a beautiful image that the couple will treasure for the rest of their lives, and it’s a timeless image so I don’t have to worry about it looking dated 10 years from now.

If you love this post or have some additional questions, leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to respond. I’ll do another one a in a few weeks if you guys enjoy this!

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