My Photography editing - how it's changed
Stu Tucker Photography's Editing Appoach
As a photographer, my editing style has undergone a significant evolution over the years. When I first started out, I was drawn towards overly saturated colours, high contrast images and darker skin tones. While these techniques initially helped me to stand out from the crowd, they ultimately left me feeling unfulfilled. I began to question the ethics of drastically altering the appearance of my subjects, and I also grew tired of producing images that lacked a certain authenticity. It was then that I made a conscious decision to shift my editing style towards something more natural and real. While this transition was by no means easy, it was one that I knew was necessary if I was to grow and develop as a wedding photographer. In this blog post, I want to share with you the journey that led me to where I am today, and why I'm so proud of the progress I've made.
When I first began experimenting with natural editing techniques, I quickly realised that it was a lot more challenging than simply cranking up the saturation or applying a heavy-handed skin smoothing filter. In order to create a natural looking image, I needed to focus on a variety of factors, such as composition, lighting, and the use of shadow fall off. I also had to learn how to work with my subjects especially with the portriats to ensure that they were positioned in a way that flattered them without being overly contrived. Something that we photographers like to say is "Guided"
One of the biggest challenges I faced during this period was re-training my eye to see beauty in imperfection. When I first started out, I was obsessed with achieving what I considered to be "perfect" images. This often meant that I would spend hours retouching blemishes, whitening teeth and smoothing out skin textures, I even used to use HDR which if you are familiar with this, isn't ideal for people photography. However, as I began to shift my focus towards natural editing, I realised that the things I had previously viewed as flaws were actually what made my subjects unique and interesting.
This realisation was a turning point for me, as it allowed me to start embracing the natural characteristics of my subjects, rather than trying to mould them into a certain ideal for me personally I see a lot this on my instagram feed and its just appealing to me. It was incredibly liberating to stop worrying about achieving a certain level of this unauthentic "perfection" we have all for some reason become obsessed with, and instead focus on creating images that were authentic and real. As soon as I did this my photography became notably better.
Of course, this transition wasn't without its challenges. For one, I had to invest in education, which costs money and also the time to be able to lear the and tools to help me achieve the natural look that I was after. Most which is achieved camera. This included things like high-quality camera lenses, editing software masterclasses that allowed me to work with a more subtle true to life feel the training courses and workshops have help me develop my skills. At times, this investment of time, money and effort was frustrating, as it felt like I was starting from scratch with my editing techniques.
However, as I began to see the fruits of my labour, through people booking me for it, I knew that it was all worth it. Being able to create images that feel authentic and real is incredibly rewarding, and it allows me to stand out in a crowded wedding photography industry. Another challenge that I faced during this transition was overcoming the expectations of my clients. Many of them had come to me because they liked my previous style, which was much more heavily edited and stylised. I thought it was going to be difficult for them to trust my new approach, and in some cases, I lost a couple of clients because they didn't like the more natural look that I was going for.
However, I knew that in order to truly develop as a photographer, I had to be true to myself and my artistic vision. This meant that I had to be willing to let go of clients who weren't aligned with my new style, and instead focus on attracting clients who appreciated and valued my approach and it didn't take long for those clients to start flocking in and helped me to continue to build a loyal following of clients who appreciate my approach and development. It didn't take long to attract these new types of clients, who were looking for something real and genuine compared to the heavily edited and stylised wedding images that were so prevalent in the wedding industry and in some cases still very much are. When you come into this industry there is so much pressure to work a certain way and to be honest it took me a good few years to realise I didn't need to feel like that. I told myself Just shoot what I feel edit what you like and they will come. ( Sounds like that film ).
As I began to gain more confidence in my natural editing style, I also started to incorporate the other techniques that I had been using In the past to my fresh style, such as direct flash techniques, These additional elements helped to enhance the natural look of my images and give them a timeless and nostalgic feel that my clients love. When I started to experiment with different lighting techniques, such as natural light and ambient light, It allowed me to create images with a softer yet more balanced contrasted and natural feel. It all sound super techniqcal and but the reality is that it was all inside me all ready I just needed to let it flow.
One of the things that I'm most proud of when it comes to my editing style is the fact that it allows me to celebrate the diversity and individuality of my subjects. Instead of trying to conform them to a certain ideal of what a wedding image should be like, I'm able to embrace their unique features and characteristics, and showcase them in a way that is beautiful and authentic.
With my current editing approach, I'm able to create beautiful and impactful images that have deph and character.
My journey towards a more natural editing style has been a challenging but rewarding one. It's taken time, money and effort to perfect this approach, but I'm proud of the progress that I've made. By embracing the natural beauty of my subjects and letting go of the need for absolute "social media" perfection, I've been able to create images that are authentic, beautiful and timeless for my couples. I'm excited to continue developing my skills and exploring new techniques as I move forward in my photography career, and I look forward to seeing where the editing will be in the next decade.