I've had a handful of people ask me about my editing process recently so I thought I'd share some before+after photos here. I've always loved keeping up with Bobby Earle's Before and After Wednesday's and wanted to show the typical actions I run on my photos. A few things I want to add about how I approach editing:
-I edit every single photo meaning I never deliver an unedited photo to a client; I'm able to edit photos quicker by syncing my settings in Lightroom but every single photo has some kind of VSCO action or adjustments.
-I try to get my lighting the best I can SOOC (straight out of camera). The closer you are to having a correct exposure in camera will allow for faster processing and the photo looking more natural.
-I edit about 90% of the time in Lightroom 4 and open Photoshop CS5 maybe once or twice a month. Aspiring photographers are always asking for tips for shooting and this is one: Get Lightroom! (Note: Lightroom 5 was just released but I have no reason to upgrade for a while. For anyone looking to buy Lightroom, get this newest version. Adobe even offers free, fully-functioning 30 day trials)
-I strictly use VSCO Film actions on my photos. In layman's language, an action is a series of adjustments-exposure, hue, sharpening, etc.-that is applied to a photo with the click of a button. I can't express to you how much I love (and rely on) these actions. I have Pack 01 and 02 but rely primarily on Pack 01. VSCO Film essentially create the effect of film; the actions are all named after different film and film speeds (what the digital era knows as ISO), so Fuji 160 is running adjustments that will make the photo look as if it were shot with Fuji 160 film. The packs also come with tons of additional adjustments such as Fade, Sharpening, Grain, Orange Skin Fix and so many more. VSCO also offers awesome VSCO keys for speedy editing and they just released an awesome new (free) app for the iPhone-it's like having a miniature Photoshop in your phone. So, so incredible!
-Besides running VSCO Film actions and adjusting from there, I rarely do any other editing. Sometimes there will be a stray hair I'll remove (with the clone tool in Lightroom or in Photoshop) and sometimes I'll smooth skin, but nothing too dramatic. If I ever need something removed that I know I can't do myself or would spend too much time trying to do myself, I send it off to ReTouchUp. They always return the editing photo in less than 24 hours!
So here are a few before+after shots from some recent weddings and sessions I've been working on. I've included all the steps I ran and the in-camera settings below each photo.
Kodak Portra 160/Exposure +.30/Highlights -22/Fade++
Shot with 50mm L f/1.2 lens, ISO 640, f/3.5, 1/200th shutter
Ilford HP5+/Exposure -.45/Grain -.15/Highlights -.27/Highlight Tones -31/Dark Tones -.18/Sharpening +43
Shot with 50mm L f/1.2 lens, ISO 400, f/3.2, 1/500th shutter
Kodak Portra 160 (that's it!)
Shot with 50mm L f/1.2 lens, 1000 ISO, f/2.2, 1/160th shutter
Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below!