After The Shoot - About Fotoplicity Post-Processing / by Jennifer Evans

Interested in knowing more about what goes into the post-processing of a Fotoplicity Portrait Session?

If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen my LIVE FEED photo session from Saturday.  For fun I allowed my followers to see me in action behind the scenes and watch parts of my session (and in-between) live!  It was a long, yet fun day and I had a few hiccups thrown at me but I couldn't be happier with how things went.  You can visit my facebook page if you want to watch all the live feeds.

I wanted to follow up those feeds with a post about what happens when the photo session is over.  The reason behind doing this is because I think it's important to understand that the photo shoot itself is only one part of what goes into a Fotoplicity Photo Session.  As a matter of fact, I spend several more hours working on a session AFTER the shoot is over!  Why?  Because I take a very artistic approach to my imagery.  The image that comes out of the camera is great, but I am driven to make it better.  That is my brand, my style and that is what I do.

Here is complete overview of exactly what it is that I do AFTER I take the photos.... 

Download & Cull

For an hour long session I usually have between 100-150 photos to sort through.  I download all those photos into Lightroom and do a quick run through deleting any images that have blinks, blurs, weird facial expressions or compositions I do not like.  That typically gets rid of about 25% of the photos.  Next I run through the ones that are left and highlight the ones I absolutely LOVE and eliminate the ones that are just "ok".  I then do one final run through and I am typically left with about 25-35 photos.  These are the ones that will move on to the "Retouch" Phase.

This image made my final cut, it is technically sound and sharp but it has a lot more potential.
This image made my final cut, it is technically sound and sharp but it has a lot more potential.

Retouch

retouch
retouch

I re-touch every single one of my portrait images.  This means that I move each photo that made the cut into Photoshop and I inspect every face....close up.  I clean up any blemishes and fix any stray hairs.  I remove dark shadows from under the eyes and cleaned up the skin a touch.  This is a very subtle edit, but when complete makes for a great portrait!   

Notice the faces.  I have cleaned them up and brightened the shadows under the eyes.
Notice the faces. I have cleaned them up and brightened the shadows under the eyes.

Pop The Color

As great as digital photography is, the fact is when it comes to color and vibrancy, it just can't compete with real life.  I won't get into the details of why this is, but ultimately the best camera in the world cannot compete with the human eye.  So, I make a point of increasing the vibrancy of my images which make them more pleasing to look at.

photo editing by Fotoplicity
photo editing by Fotoplicity

Cool Things Down

Edit-Cool 4
Edit-Cool 4

I prefer my images to have a bit of a cooler tone so I make some adjustments until I get a look that I'm happy with.  

For a typical portrait session, I would consider this image complete and this is the what my client would see, however, when I get into my Enchanted Sessions I typically add a few extra steps which you can see below.

Enchanted Artistry

When it comest to Enchanted Images, I spend some extra editing time and allow my inner artist takes over.  While the re-touched images is beautiful, I can't help but want to add a little extra something to make it "magical".  Since this photo was taken mid-day, the gorgeous golden sunset light was missing so I want to bring it in by adding some flare and light.

Adding Light

I want the sun to shine behind these beautiful ladies, so I start by creating a burst of light.

I added a simple light burst.
I added a simple light burst.

Adding Flare

Next I add the sun which gives this image a lot more personality.

The sun really gives this image a feeling it didn't have before.
The sun really gives this image a feeling it didn't have before.

Finish

To finish the image I will usually add a light texture or deepen the matte as I did here to give it a more painterly or artistic feel.  At this point I also noticed that my daughter's dress was a tad too short and her shoes were showing so I extended the length.  Most people wouldn't notice this, but I do...so I fixed it.

Finished Edit
Finished Edit

I go through this process for each of the images that made the final cut.  Each edit can take between 10-30 minutes a piece.  Some will be purchased, some will not.  I don't let that stop me.  I approach each image as a blank canvas and work it until I am satisfied. To me, perfection is in the details no matter how small.  This is what sets my work apart from others and this is why my clients hire me.  My work isn't for everyone and I can completely appreciate that, but this is what makes my heart sing.  This is what makes me love what I do.  I am not just a photographer - I am an artist.