Insight into our editing process + sunrise by the water

We recently posted a question on Instagram asking what you wanted to know about our post-processing, and we got such a huge response I thought it would be easiest to keep all the answers in one place before they poof out in our stories and are lost on a highlights reel!

Accompanying this post are a few of our favourites from Rachel + Spencer’s sunrise beach portrait session – enjoy!

How do you edit so that the sky and skin tones are properly exposed?

Shooting in RAW has a lot to do with this – we underexpose images slightly. After the initial preset is applied in Lightroom to lighten the image, we pull each image in to photoshop and apply a layer mask, keeping clients’ skin in tact while painting back highlights in the sky.

Do you use masks?

Yes, we have several actions in Photoshop that we combined into a group and apply to each image after they are edited in Lightroom. Depending on the image we will mask away bits of each action, increase or decrease the opacity of the layer, etc.

How do you bump shadows without it looking ashy?

We only take the shadows up a little bit, if it gets too grainy we will apply some noise reduction to smooth the image.

What is your post-shoot workflow?

After a shoot we load the images to two external hard drives. Once that’s done, we pull them in to a new Lightroom catalogue and apply our preset on import to give the initial look and feel to each image. Once that’s done, Adam culls the images down to the set package amount (usually a few more), and we export the images and pull them in to Photoshop 5 or so at a time. We then apply another group of actions to each image and work on editing each image individually to achieve the finished look.

What retouching do you perform?

For close-up shots we’ll smooth skin texture while retaining pores (humans have these, ya know) and cut back the focus on any acne. Stuff like scars, birth marks, etc. we don’t touch unless asked because we feel it’s who you are – I personally feel weird when a photographer takes away my acne scars (which are very obvious.) I am totally comfortable with them so when they are taken away I feel as if what, I wasn’t good lookin’ with them?? Having said that, if a client expressed in their questionnaire they feel self-conscious about a certain aspect of themselves, we keep this in mind while shooting as well as in post-processing.

Do you shoot in RAW?

Yes!

What app/software do you use?

Lightroom and Photoshop – both on Adobe Creative Cloud.

Do you use fake skies?

No, all the skies in our images are “real” – they’re just enhanced. That’s why we shoot in cloud, in sun, and somewhere inbetween the two – everything is beautiful.

Do you have a question about our editing process? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

April 29, 2019

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