Getting the Photograph Right

Someone once made a pretty sweeping comment to me, probably not knowing that I was a professional photographer - “With photography, it’s all in the post-capture now, the actual photograph doesn’t matter anymore”. Hmmm, quite a sweeping statement. I thought that now enough time has passed I would tackle that for today’s blog, so here goes.

To a certain extent I would agree with the person as we can manipulate digital photographs like never before, in fact, I believe we are steadily heading towards the day when, like in the day of film, retouching of photographs has become a specialist art. See “Creative Photography”

But at the end of the day, even with extensive experience with post-capture processing, we have to start with an image that is of a high enough quality to work on. What I mean by that is the basics have to be right. Exposure, focus, white balance and color balance or you really are in a GIGO - (garbage in garbage out), situation. 

Here’s the background on the “before” and “after” images below. We started out on a freezing cold day, cloudy, late fall, lots of gray, dark browns, light browns, gold and the occasional blast of autumn red. I shot one of my full frame Nikon cameras, 70-200mm lens, aperture f2.8, iso 100. Using only one off-camera speed light (flash), Nikon SB910and a basic diffuser. The thing with the before the image is it is sharp and balanced, the composition was perfect and it’s a really nice image to work on!  

I’m not saying that a poor quality photo cannot be improved, but the question is can it be improved to be acceptable by the client? The steps I take to get an image to a client acceptable state after the photo sessions are:

Crop to finished size, balance color, adjust exposure if necessary, enhance the eyes, smooth the skin, then move into another program to remove small blemishes and spots. That’s it!

 Professional Photographer, families, weddings, portraits, people
 Professional Photographer, families, weddings, portraits, people

Hope you got a glimpse into how I work and the quality I strive to get with each and every photograph I take and work on.

Chris Chris Cottrell, CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) is a British Wedding and Portrait Photographer based just outside of Atlanta, Georgia USA. and available worldwide for near to home or destination weddings. on IG @cottrellandco, FB Cottrell & Co. Photographers or