You may have noticed that I don’t have photos of myself on my website or my blog-that’s for a few reasons.

One, as a photographer, I’m the one that takes all the photos! So it logistically is hard to find someone to take a photo that will be to your standards. (I’ve tried the whole tripod it and then run thing…but I need help posing myself!)

Two, as a photographer that uses my name as a business name as well, I value my privacy and like a degree of anonymity that comes with not posting my photo. 🙂 I’m an introvert like that, what can I say?

Three, I believe the focus for clients that come to my website and blog should be on my work and the clients’ moments, because the wedding day isn’t about me at all. It’s about you.

But then I ran into a dilemma. I wanted to show what can be done as far as retouching and give a little glimpse into my behind the scenes work, mainly to show how much time goes into an image in post-processing. I previously showed how composites are possible with my friend Jen’s family. This round, I wanted to show how I retouch my client’s skin, eyes, hair, teeth, etc on portrait shoots and select wedding images (blogged, album, favorites, and prints) to let their images reflect their confidence and beauty.

The problem-I would never, ever, ever put an unretouched image of my client out there and then point out how I enhanced their shot, as this would call attention to the “before” areas, whether that be some small smile lines, a slipping bra strap, etc. That makes no one happy, and if retouching is done correctly, the client should never know what has been nipped or tucked or smoothed.

So the only image I could show a before and after of is…*gulp* a photograph of myself. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to put this out here. My own husband *rarely* sees me without makeup. Like most women, I won’t post unflattering images to Facebook. And yet, I’m coming on here and showing all my clients.

My friend Jen (of the fabulous Jen Stevenson Photo) took this image for me in the middle of her family session. Here it is with no retouching, perfectly exposed, posed, and composed, but not fully retouched. As photographers, we sometimes will exchange RAW images and edit ourselves.

The cameras today, and Jen has the top of the line, really show every single pore. We were in the shade, so the light is a little blue-when you shoot RAW images, this has to be manipulated later.

In the after image, I removed the bruise from my left arm and the sand from my face. My guideline is to remove anything that’s not there all the time (so I leave intact birthmarks). I also removed the clasp on my necklace and the bags under my eyes-I guess I wasn’t getting restful sleep! I did my skin smoothing I provide for all clients on select images.

And lastly, I sharpened for web or print, especially the eyes, which is necessary for RAW images to come across nice and crisply.

I’m not professing to be a magazine-caliber retouching expert, and I try not to do it with a heavy hand. I just want my clients to look as amazing as they feel and display their images with confidence. The camera can add ten pounds and show us wrinkles and blemishes that we don’t see with our naked eye, so I like to restore that look in the portraits.

I hope that sheds the light on just a little of what professional retouching is capable of and one of the reasons we spend so much time in editing perfecting the images.

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Do you have a young child? Or maybe you are one of my brides and plan on having a few children involved in your wedding as a flowergirl or ringbearer? Then this blog entry is for you! 🙂

When I am providing images from a wedding or portrait session, I don’t provide images where the eyes are closed or people are not looking at the camera. Of course, I take a lot of images to insure this doesn’t happen and we have one where everyone is looking at my lens.

But during the wedding day, guests are often using their point and shoot cameras to try to capture the shot, causing people to look away, especially after a few drinks! 🙂

At a family session, your child may be distracted by something. You know how tough it can be to get a good shot of your child at home too. And then there’s always the tough choice…

Say Sally looks best in Image A, while Bobby has the best expression in Image B, and mom and dad, you think you look your best in Image C. In the pre-digital age, you often had to just pick a mediocre shot where everyone was facing the camera, regardless of expression or hand position, and settle for that shot you didn’t love.

Now, with the editing services of a professional photographer, you can have the best of both worlds, and one or more images can be combined to create the best shot. If you have one or more little ones, it is VERY helpful!

You’ll see from this before and after, I try not to do a ton of editing, preferring instead to capture the shot correctly right out of the camera through proper posing and exposure. But, sometimes, a little Photoshop lets us capture the best of Miss L AND Miss A’s expressions from two different images, plus a third image was combined to fill the now new space between the little ones 🙂

So here’s a little behind the scenes to show you the transformation!

Now, if I get *really* brave, I will show you a before and after of my headshot to show you just what can be done, but I’m almost afraid to put my unedited image out there for all of you on the Interwebz to see, yikes!

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