From Raw to Retouched: Brantford Hamilton London Wedding Photography

You’ve probably heard photographers talk about “editing” or “retouching” the pictures they take.  But what does that mean?  Every photographer’s definition is completely different, so there’s no one correct answer.  When you have a session with In Bloom Photography, your photos go through 3 different phases.  To explain it a little better, here’s a quick reference of what I do to your photos after a session.


This first image is straight out of my camera and it’s just as it’s described:  completely “raw”;  no adjustments have been made, it’s just as it was taken in my camera.  Without getting too technical, this is a Nikon .NEF file, and it’s only readable with specialized computer software.  These files are enormous because they contain huge amounts of information and detail about each image.  Unfortunately, these .NEF raw files can not be printed as is and there are no photo labs that will be able to accommodate them.  These images need to go through some Photoshop processing to convert them into a file that all computers can read.

So my first job is to go through all of these raw images, and cull the ones that are worth keeping.  All of the “outtakes” are deleted and only the best shots end up making the cut.



All of the remaining images are then put through a program where I adjust the colour, sharpness, brightness and contrast.

In this example, you can see how the bride’s dress and skin have been brightened up while the groom’s vest is less saturated with pink.  The blue wall in the background has had the colour adjusted slightly.  The blacks are “blacker” and the whites are “whiter”.  But none of this is considered “retouching” in my view.  These are simple corrections done to give the photo a bit more of a lively “POP!” in the colours and contrast.   And they are then converted into .JPG files, which any computer or photo lab is capable of viewing and printing.

These colour corrected .JPG files are what everyone receives on their disc after their photo session — they are in high resolution format and perfect for making prints or archiving your special memories.



Once you receive your disc of images, there may be a few shots that you’d like retouched further.  These can be ordered through your online viewing gallery.  Things like cropping, more creative colour work, skin & hair retouching, body reshaping or removal of distractions can all be done at this point.

In this example, the cracks in the blue wood were removed.  The bride and groom’s skin was retouched to be a little smoother in tone, especially around the eyes.  Teeth were whitened.  Some wrinkles from the groom’s pants were removed.  Colours are given more of a “POP!” and there is a slight dark vignette around the edges of the photo.  All of the finite little details are enhanced to make a great photo an amazing photo!


See how many differences you can spot in this close-up comparison of the Colour Corrected image vs. the Fully Retouched image!  Notice things like flyaway hairs have either been curled or erased… eyes and teeth have been whitened… skin looks smooth but not plastic.  These are all traits of a fully retouched image!

Some people are perfectly happy with the colour corrected images they receive on their disc and that’s great!  Others want some extra work done and that’s when I really get into the retouching process.  But either way, I hope that explains the editing process that I use after every photo session!