Before and After

September 05, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

While I love the process of the actual photography session and all of the planning that goes into it, a big part of my photography work is the editing. 

My style has changed and evolved over the years and I think I can be quite versatile with client requests but the common theme in my work is that there MUST be an artistic edit added to all of my work. 

Some photographers choose to not do any retouching but depending on the photos and the client or model I will also do some basic retouching to remove blemishes and enhance the model as well. I will never change the way someone looks completely but I will play up features. I only want to showcase their natural beauty, not change it! 

I will also work on the setting, cleaning up distractions and hand painting colour for an artistic touch or to play up something that is already naturally there. 

Here are a few that were obvious changes...

This first one was so much fun! A friend of mine arranged this whole shoot and I am so thankful because it is still one of my favourites. Duke is a beautiful Great Dane that was a rescue. He was very well behaved and cooperated for the majority of the shots. He liked to have his mom close by though and doing this walk with our model Jayda was too challenging so I decided that I would make a composite of two separate shots! 
















Charlotte and her Dragon is also one of my faves! I met Charlotte and her mom at a hair salon and I loved her hair and her sweet personality. I asked them if maybe Charlotte would like to model for one of my ideas. Originally i was going to use her for a different theme but her mom mentioned in a conversation that she loved Dragons and immediately my wheels started turning and whole new concept was born. We shot this at Hately Castle on a bright afternoon. I knew that I wanted this shot to look like a late evening so I purposely underexposed my shot in camera. Knowing what I want the final shot to be can be very important while shooting. It allows me to shoot it with settings that I will be working with later in photoshop. I wanted this photo to look like her Dragon was visiting her up high on a castle balcony in the moonlight. I made sure she was facing light so that I could see her face but underexposed so that the treed area would be dark. I knew I could bump up the areas I needed to and then I closed the gap in the trees and added her Dragon and some moonlight in! 












This was not the original location that we chose to shoot in but as we were walking by I fell in love with the dreamy, whimsical look of this path and the light opening up between the trees. I decided to enhance that area with some added light rays. You will actually see a lot of added light rays in my work. Its a bit of a signature. It adds to the dreamy mood of a photo and helps emphasize light already present in a shot. I altered the tones of the leaves and made it a little darker to add to the mood I wanted to create. 











When I first shot this I thought I was going to edit with cool tones so my camera settings reflected that. You can see that the colour is quite cool in the raw image. I wanted it to have a dreamy yet slightly eery feeling. I also knew that I was going to be submitting these photos to an October Issue of Creators Magazine. It can sometimes take me several trials before I settle on something that I love. After cleaning up some details like the tree trunks and branches that I didn't like (adding more leaves instead) I decided that using warm tones actually suited the Autumn setting more. Her natural red hair made these tones an even better choice. I removed a lot of the fallen leaves on the path and hand painted a lot of orange and rust into the path and background. The most obvious addition is the light shining from the lantern. Having a lit candle wasn't practical and the battery operated candles didn't give off enough light, especially since we were shooting while it was still quite light out....yep...more underexposing my shot! 


















Sometimes the photos are more straight forward portraits but still require some tedious editing. When you choose to shoot in a busy city alley there will be a few distractions. I cropped this shot of Karter to clean up the left side of the photo a bit. This was my favourite image of the multiples I took of him walking towards me in the alley. If you look closely though you will see that a man decided it was the perfect time to throw something into the dumpster. Rather than have the photo unusable I went in and removed him from the shot instead! 


















This next session gave me Disney Princess vibes and near the end I thought it would be cute for her to have a butterfly sitting on her nose. We tried a few different things but in the end the best way to get a butterfly sitting in a position I liked was to have someone (our makeup artist Emily) hold the butterfly which was already attached to a wire. I asked the model to make a cute scrunchie face and then took a second shot with Emily holding the butterfly in place. I then could go in and merge the two photos and remove the wire and Emily's hand! 
















Working with animals is always interesting. You never know how they will react or if you will get the shots you are hoping for. Aurora has made a few appearances in my portfolio. She is a sweet old gal and has provided me with some beautiful photos. For one shoot we were close by home but not in an enclosure and she got away from us and took off for home without us! We phoned home and she was met with an open gate after her two minute gallop home. This time around we stayed at her home where she was inside her fenced yard. Jordan was experienced with horses and even though it was -30 degress we toughed it out and got some beautiful photos with Aurora and she didn't miss her herd since we were home. We kept her in a halter and lead to make positioning her easier but it doesn't make for a pretty photo so I removed them creating the illusion of a free horse moment. She was definitely hanging around getting cuddles of her own free will with the lead not even being held but it was still a more beautiful moment without the halter and lead in the photo. 












This beautiful boy is Wasco and we were shooting in a public park near a beach with many other people and their pets walking nearby. Being off leash was not an option. Wasco is a big and very strong Doberman. His collar is heavy duty and totally necessary to keep a muscle bound boy like him close to his mom in instances when running feels like the more fun option! haha I couldn't help but remove it to add to this beautiful moment between him and his mom Nikki! 











This is just a small example of the kind of edits I may be doing to your photos. I do not do mass edits where a preset is applied to multiple photos at once. Every photo is individually retouched and edited to make sure each one is produced with the same quality. So if you are wondering why it takes so long to receive your photos back hopefully this answers that question for you. Each and every photo receives the same amount of painstaking love and attention! 


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