Monday, September 16, 2013

The Signature Edit

Recently I've noticed several photographers discussing their "Signature Edits".  The definition varies but basically these are photos that incorporate advanced editing and printing techniques.  During the process they go from being "Ordinary Photos" to "Fine Art".

My definition of  a "Signature Edit" is an image that I'm proud to sign.  It's an image that I can look at repeatably over the years and continue to appreciate. 

Jeff and Mary posed on the shore of Lake Tahoe the night before their wedding.  I felt that this image had the potential to show the depth of their love in a beautiful setting.  I enhanced the color, added blur and grain and removed distractions.  The final result will look great in a large canvas wrap print.

It would be ideal for a Signature Edit" to begin with a perfect image file.  This one didn't.  We were on a public beach and were nearly out of light.  I was attempting to stay out of the way of my photographer friend Paul who was setting up his lights to practice lighting portraits at sunset.  I was using available light and took this photo during a peak moment of interaction between Jeff and Mary.

Photoshop cannot fix everything.  Mary and Jeff are an attractive couple.  Lake Tahoe is a beautiful setting.  Sunset is a great time of day for photography.   My camera was ready for the photo and I caught it at exactly  the correct time.  I had the darkroom skills to previsualize the final image and Photoshop helped me make the final edits.

Wedding photographers are a dime a dozen today.  Everyone with a digital camera and Photoshop tries to convince their friends that they have everything it takes to photograph a wedding.  You will not find anyone who says that their work is awful or that they charge too much.

If I needed to choose a wedding photographer, I would pay particular attention to the work that they consider to be their best - their "Signature Edits".  I would look for their images from weddings in venues within my intended price range. I would find out if the same person who took the samples will actually photograph the wedding. 

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