Editing Our Happily Ever After

So we got married. It was a good day, that day, June 28, 2008. For those of you who were there, thanks. For the few that did not make it, you missed out on some really good food. Unfortunately, people who didn’t get to come, I wasn’t able (nor did I have the desire) to show you a documentary of the day, until now. You see, as a young bride those many years ago, I had to choose a photographer. Back in those days, the whole photojournalistic wedding was a relatively new concept for mainstream Kansas weddings. Creatively capturing a wedding day was just beginning to peek its way into view. With that disclaimer being stated, I chose the wrong photographer. I really liked the idea of creativity. I also liked to save money. This was, and really mostly still is, an oxymoron when it comes to photography.

Needless to say, I was very disappointed in our pictures. Lucky for me, I think the business we paid to take photos isn’t a business anymore. Otherwise, they would soon be out of business. Not really. But seriously.

So for whatever reason, this summer I decided to re-edit our pictures. I thought maybe there could be a few that I could save just by editing them differently.

I will now go on a rant about editing and this business. First of all, when we got our photos via mail several months after our event, I popped the disc into our computer to take an excited first look. I opened the drive to find that our pictures had been slid off of the photographer’s memory card straight onto the disc. There were four folders, named “Card 1,” “Card 2,” and I bet you can guess the rest. Red flag #1 (did the person even edit them at all? And if not, why did it take them several months to send them to me?).

I opened the first folder, conveniently labeled “Card 1” and began the slideshow. Straight out of  the gate, I see there are about as many pictures in this folder as there should be in an entire wedding photo package. Red flag #2 (did they delete ANY pictures?) As I viewed my wedding day through the lens of this person’s camera, I realized they needed to delete lots of pictures. However, they didn’t bother. What kind of photographer keeps the bad pictures for their clients to look at and treasure forever? I am not a professional, but I don’t even like to show people the pictures I take until I’ve had the chance to go through and delete the bad ones. For goodness sakes, at least delete the duplicate pictures of people with their eyes closed! Holy smokes.

So yeah, that was my initial wedding photo story. I’ve been carrying this thorn in my flesh for six years. Not really, but you can ask Logan… whenever the subject of our wedding photos is brought up, I get fired up. Perhaps this is why I don’t ever want to be in the business of wedding photography. I don’t want anyone to be holding a grudge against me because I agreed to shoot one of the most important days of their lives and I did a crappy job. It’s one thing to mess up a family photo shoot. It’s an entirely different ballgame shooting a wedding.

Six years later, after I have felt the need to [re]edit our photos, red flag #3 hits me. If you know a bit about photography, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say the guy didn’t even shoot in RAW. This is a file type that many professional photographers shoot in, giving the editing process much more freedom in setting things like exposure, saturation, white balance, and so on. I’m no pro, but I have recently started shooting in RAW and I’ll never go back to JPEG. I don’t want to nay-say JPEG, but I guess I would expect a person who calls themselves a professional and charges a good chunk of change for wedding photos to shoot in RAW. In the photographer’s defense, they didn’t edit the photos to begin with, so I guess RAW wasn’t necessary. Eye roll.

Anyway, I am not going to post a butt ton of pictures from our janky collection, but I do have a few that I want to share with you, just so you can see the difference editing makes. It really goes to teach me a photological (not a real word, but hey, I do what I want) lesson; one that I’ve heard since I started this whole journey and maybe hasn’t sunk in until now. It’s not about the equipment, it’s about the operator behind the equipment. You can have a nice camera, but if you don’t know how to manipulate the settings, the end product is not something you’re going to be proud of. This photographer had a fine camera, he just didn’t know how to use it. And he sure as heck didn’t know what to do after he was done shooting the day.

Below are six pictures that you’ll see a side by side comparison of from our day. They are random, but they are a few of the ones I feel like I was actually able to salvage from the wreckage of our selection. If you’re curious, for the most part, I edited things like lightening an image’s exposure so as my dress is no longer a dishwater gray, cropping out unflattering/awkward parts of people/surroundings, taking the shine off of people’s faces from the misuse of on-camera flash (this took for-freaking-ever), straightening and warming up images so they are just more inviting to look at.

What a deal! From over a thousand pictures, now down to 267. Feels good to be done!












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