Being a photographer, a lot of my time is spent editing and enhancing my work. People often ask, “Does a photographer have to use Photoshop in order to make the perfect image?” And the answer is no, but it is definitely a great tool to be able to use. A camera is our main tool, an extension of ourselves – the photographer. But even the camera, due to the nature of its being, has its physical limitations. And that’s where Photoshop can come in handy. Photoshop is an amazing program that can be used in a multitude of ways to help you reach a variety of visual ideas you have. It can alter the brightness and contrast of an image, change the coloring, add different effects, and many more adjustments. In the hands of a skilled user, Photoshop can change your photographic world.
“Less Distractions! Clean Up that Background!”
Life can be messy…and you can only do so much within the time frame you are given. And sometimes, there’s not enough time to clean and make the background flawless. These images were taken at the Garty Pavilion at the San Diego Rowing Club. We only had a few minutes to take romantic shots in different spots. My bride and groom had to catch the reception, so we were in a time crunch. And there were towels hanging all over the boats. Everywhere. For this situation, Photoshop worked wonders. I was able to clean up the background by removing the distracting towels and enhance the brightness and color of the images to make it look it clean, cohesive, and pretty.
“Setting the Mood…”
Let me give you some examples to showcase just how useful this tool can be. This first set of images I shot is of a bride and groom on the bridge of the Marriott Coronado Island Resort. When shooting with live models, there are many aspects that can affect the shot. Movement, changing light, background elements are just a few examples of things that can influence the image. And these things may not be ideal for the visual look you are going for. In this case, it was particularly tricky because night time photos present the difficulty of low light and the trouble of focusing. But night time photos can be utterly romantic, so I used some tricks up my sleeve. I added two flashes to use as back lights in the background. Then I took the image into Photoshop and made adjustments such as skin balancing and increasing the contrast of the models, boosting the overall color, and removing background distractions like the light pole. And you may notice the difference in the sky. Because we were in the city, the air was unfortunately not clear enough to see the beautiful stars. In order to make these photos even more romantic and special, I went out to Borrego Springs just to shoot the stars so that I could Photoshop them into the images. As a wedding photographer, I do not want to limit my clients to only being able to receive romantic daytime photos. The night is a beautiful time to shoot and offers different aspects and effects than the daytime. And using tools like Photoshop can help make this magic happen.
“Let’s Have Some Fun with It!”
Photoshop can also be used to create a really fun atmosphere. In this case, my bride and groom are fans of sharks. And when I say fans, I mean huge fans. When I was invited to visit their house, they had shark decorations everywhere. Even their dog has a cute customized shark outfit. So when they told me they wanted to have a shot of them running away from a shark, I gladly took up the challenge. I did my research and posed the bridal party to look as if they were running away. That way, I could add in a giant shark in the background later. Luckily,the wedding venue was at Seaport Village. With the water in the background, I could make it look like the shark was jumping out of the water to attack. And as great as palm trees are, I removed them in this photo because they were distracting. But overall, the bridal party had a lot of fun while taking these shots. It can be interesting working with clients because sometimes they just have to trust me when I tell them to “be crazy” in these preedited shots. But good photos are created from the combination of effort from both the client and the photographer working together.
As a photographer, there are a few questions I get asked quite frequently. People often ask why they should hire someone if they can “just do it themselves.” They also want to know what makes me stand out from other photographers. And to this, I can say that I have gained much experience and technical expertise over the years and have a developed background in art and design. I have 4 years of graphic design under my belt and this background allows me to merge my design skills with my photography skills. It helps to give me a different perspective in how to take my photos and showcase the stories I’m presented with. A photo is not merely a photo. When the aspect of design is integrated into it, it becomes a work of art.