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Should You Be Happy Your Photographer Didn't Edit Your Photos?

Best Photo Editing

By Jeffrey House Photography


My photos are so great, my photographer didn’t even need to edit them!

A friend of mine recently shared this sentiment on Facebook after receiving the photos from his family portrait session.

I found it very interesting and it sparked my inspiration for this article.

Photographers have different editing styles, but when did editing become a negative aspect of photography?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about the overly edited photographs of celebrities we see gracing the covers of popular magazines.  That kind of editing often crosses the line, especially when they start changing people's physical appearance.  The best photo editing occurs when people look their absolute best and look natural.   

OMG, You're So Amazing!

There are a lot of photographers out there that will tell you, "I don't need to edit (or do much editing) because I get the picture right in-camera."

What does "getting it right in-camera" really mean?  

It means the image, without any editing, has nice color tones and is perfectly exposed.  These photographers are essentially saying they could download this image from their camera and give it to a client without any editing.  But getting your images right in-camera only makes your editing easier, it doesn't eliminate the need for it.  

I say good luck and here's why. 

No matter how great a picture is "in-camera," it will always require post-processing to bring it to the next level.

Let's take a look at a couple of examples to show you exactly what I mean.  

What you see isn't always what you get!

“A Photograph Is Not About The Thing Being Photographed, It’s About How That Thing Looks Photographed.”
— Gary Winogrand

It's very easy to take for granted how we see the world.  The human eyes allow us to see the world vividly.  But what about digital cameras?  They are amazing pieces of equipment and they do a remarkable job at capturing life.  But they all have their limitations.  Compared to the human eye, the colors reproduced by cameras are more muted or flat.  

Post-production allows us to restore the scene as we experienced it in real life.  The picture on the left is acceptable.  Great exposure, but it's lacking color and contrast.  Post-production provides a nice natural enhancement to the original photograph and creates a beautiful final image.    

Let's take a look at another photograph.

The picture on the left is straight out of camera.  But you can quickly see a couple bright looking dots in the image.  Those are actually bugs reflecting light and it would never be acceptable to deliver a client a photo with these imperfections present.  Sometimes, as photographers switch lenses, dust gets trapped on the camera sensor and will look very similar to the bug reflections we see above.  The only difference, obviously, is these dust spots will appear on every single image.  

If you look closely at the suit jacket, you can also see hair and lint, especially on the sleeves. Lastly, even though the image is well exposed, it looks a little cold.  

The final image on the right restores the colors back to real life, warms the image a touch, and removes the distracting imperfections.  

Post-Production Matters...A Lot!

Two components make up every image - 

1.  Image Capture

2.  Post-Production

Each of these aspects play a huge role in the creative process.  If one of these components is missing or lacking, so do your photographs.

Post-production is also an essential part of a photographer's style.  There are essentially endless styles when it comes to post-production, that's why it's key to make sure you like how your photographer produces their final images.  

Our Signature Production is clean and crisp images with vibrant colors.

And classic vintage.

Classic film.

And timeless black and white.

What do you think - Would you want unedited images from your photographer?