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The editing process (or the answer to "so... since you're all digital you can just throw the pics online tonight, right?")

Without fail, at the end of every shoot comes the same question: 'when can we expect to see the images?' We get it - you are excited - and WE are excited to share the work with you. But there are a few steps that get our images from the click of a button all the way to your eyes - we have illustrated this process for you below:

All of our images start in a RAW file format. What does this mean for you? In simple terms, there is a bit of neccessary processing every image has to undergo before it is in a format suitable for printing. This first image is our 'original' - which is our (almost) straight from camera file - the only processing done here was a straight conversion from a RAW (.cr2) file to a printable (.jpg) file.

As you might notice, this image is too blue, too soft, and too muted down for our liking. All of these issues will be fixed before we create our 'proofs' - you will never see this version.



In the proofing stage, we clean up the colors, balance the contrast and saturation, and usually add a little bit of sharpening. Every image you receive will exist in this color enhanced 'proof' stage. But wait, there's more!



Our last step in preparing your images is to take the best of the best from our shoot (as determined by yours truly) and to really take those images to the next level. These special few (typically 30 images per session and 100 or so from weddings) make up the Artistic Highlights. This third phase is where we really get to party and is the most time-consuming (but totally worthwhile!) part of our editing process. Highlights exist in a world where colors are bolder, skies are bluer, and everything 'pops.' We also play with tone and mood to better suit each image and each event.

Highlights give us, the artist(s), a chance to share our own interpretation of each moment - so that you can actually see what we 'see' when we take the picture. And because we know that we can get a little funky from time to time with our highlights, we make sure to give you each image as a nice color-enhanced proof version as well.



Oh, and in case you missed it, yes we did say that all of our clients receive *BOTH* the color enhanced proof and the artistic highlight version as part of their digital files. That's important to note, as most studios only deliver the proof version and will offer you the highlight version if you purchase the enhancement as part of a print or album order placed through the studio. Of course, we are happy to offer full service printing to our clients as well, but we figure some of you might like the option to handle the snazzy highlights on your own. It's all about the freedom to choose, right? Proof vs Highlight. DIY vs Full Service Studio.


A note on retouching

As a studio we tend to stay on the less-is-more side of the retouching scale. Bottom line: we want you to recognize yourself in the work and not wonder why a studio founded in photojournalism principles would send out headshots that look ready for the pageant circuit. (yeah, we went there.)

Our proofs only address the most major issues and don't cross over into wrinkle removal and so forth. In the artistic highlights we often do very minor blemish removal, but never wrinkle removal, weight subtractions, eye and teeth enhancements, etc. We do offer those services for a small fee, however, when requested by a client.

Here is an example of a performer headshot that we lightly enhanced to soften the skin and hair and evenout the skintone a bit. We also cleaned up the eyes and brows (again, tiny adjustments here) and added a vignette to knock out the background a bit.



In our final example, we wanted to illustrate a typical enhancement for studio printing. We love the little expression here and felt that the crumbs on this cookie monster's face added to the image, which is why we left them in the image for proofing. However, we also recognize that when it comes to creating an enlargement to display in the home, mom & dad might want something a little more ... 'clean' :)

This series will take us from a portrait session proof, to retouched enhancement, to the finished black & white print.



Here we have removed all evidence of a cookie jar raid and brought her beautiful baby blues up a good bit to really catch the viewers attention straight away. Had it been a sunnier day (and not horribly overcast) these stronger catchlights would have been more dominant in the proofing stage, as it was we were able to intensify what little was there in post production. As you can see, we also softened and brightened the skin and did a light softening of the wispy hairs framing the face. In our opinion, the little hairs partially covering the face added to the image, but could easily be removed as well.



While quite partial to color in kids portraiture, we felt a simple black and white treatment would take out the distraction of bright color and bold pattern and allow the viewer to get straight to the expression. Ta-Da!

















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