While I haven’t had too many questions from clients regarding my editing workflow, I’ve been having this conversation with a lot of photographers lately. You can hand me and any other photographer the same RAW file, give us the same editing software and we’ll come up with different looking images. This is style, and in terms of post production editing, it’s actually a pretty personal thing, and EVERYONE has an opinion on how it should be done, what’s the most efficient, and what qualifies as a correctly processed file. I’ve drastically changed my editing style since I first began learning photography, and I know I’m not alone in looking back on some of my earlier work and cringing.
First things first, I only shoot in RAW and I try to nail my exposure in camera, every time. I can thank Jack Mader for teaching me everything I know about the technical side of shooting. And guess what? Mr. Mader taught using Bridge, so that’s what I use to view, cull and sort my images when I first download the files after a session. I’ll then import the files into Lightroom, where I make minor adjustments: color balance, exposure and sharpening. I used to do all my editing in Photoshop, which is beyond ridiculous, but whatever. I’ve now started using VSCO presets in LR, which emulate film, and these babies have forever changed the game for me. I love the look it gives to my images, and overall they are VERY subtle compared to other actions & presets I have tried. VSCO changed everything for me. Here’s two examples of an image straight out of camera (SOOC), one with minor adjustments, and one with VSCO presets:
Here’s the thing. I edit each photo that my clients see to this degree. Every image gets this treatment. Not all photographers do this, but I think it’s important for my clients to understand a couple things: 1. This is why it takes the time it does for your images to be ready. I edit each file individually, and that is a meticulous process. 2. This is just ONE reason why professional photography costs what it costs. 🙂