Given the amount of photo manipulation we see everywhere from ads to Instagram, it might be natural to think that your wedding pics can be tweaked the same way. I mean, after all, almost anything you dislike in your final gallery can be edited out with Photoshop, right? Not exactly. Photographers caution against assuming that everything can be retouched in the final snaps. Here’s what can and can’t be done.
First Things First
Before actually signing a contract with a photographer, you need to make sure that their style matches what you are actually looking for. “I think the critical first step for clients is to choose the right sort of photographer from the start: people who like a heavily retouched look should pick a photographer who clearly leans toward that style, with lots of computer effects and ‘perfect’ airbrushed-looking subjects,” says Al Fortier, creative director at Alistbeauty. “A reportage or documentary style photographer is going to be less inclined to do major retouching, favoring the natural and organic look they captured in-camera.” The best way to make sure someone will be able to deliver what you want is take a good look at their website and see if their images fit what you have in mind.
Set Clear Expectations
There is hardly one blanket approach, so it’s important to find out what your photographer’s view and policy is on retouching before getting started. “It definitely varies from photographer to photographer, so it’s good to ask from the start what kind of photo retouching, if anything, a wedding photographer provides,” says Al. I generally want to provide a near perfect gallery, so I ask to retouch anything that drives me nuts [like stray hairs or weird things in the background] before I put them on my website. When it’s something beyond my capabilities and it’s bothering me, I’ll send it out to a retoucher.” Someone on Fiverr.com
If there’s something about your appearance that you’re insecure about, it’s best to give your photographer a heads up before your big day, as many things can be tweaked for your final images. The important thing is to speak up, because what stands out to you may not for your photographer. “[It’s important] that my clients tell me what they’re self conscious about before we shoot so I can be aware of it and share what retouching may be possible for them,” says Al. “For instance, a client who is insecure about yellowed teeth: I won’t insult anyone by automatically whitening their teeth on my own, but if they request it ahead of time, it’s an easy fix. If someone has bad acne scars and they ask me to fix it, I can also address that in photos that need it. However, I never ‘fix’ anyone’s flaws unless they ask me to. [It’s] sort of rude to assume!”
I love this picture but it is retouched a lot. You can tell the modles eyes are not this blue skin is too flawless and Emma had a necklace I did not love with this dress.