Forums > Photography Talk > Why Do Some Photographers Not Believe in Editing?

Model

Sarah Lynn Modeling

Posts: 158

Asheville, North Carolina, US

This is something I've been wondering about for quite some time and would be curious to know.  I can tell, based on the look of some photos I receive back from photographers, that they've worked hard at editing and post-production work.  The colors, lighting and even the look of my skin and hair, is really gorgeous, and there are no imperfections. 

However, some photographers I've worked with seem to either not believe in editing or only do very, very minimal editing such as only fixing the exposure and contrast.  Sometimes, with these unedited photos, I'm very self conscious about them because they show things like fine lines, minor skin blemishes, circles under the eyes, etc.  I guess I just have trouble understanding why someone wouldn't want to edit these things. 

It seems like the photographers I work with are split 50/50 between those who do quite a bit of editing, and those who don't do any at all or very minimal editing.  So I'm just very curious to know, why is that?  Personally I would love it if every photographer edited photos, but maybe there's a good reason why they don't?

Jan 18 13 07:26 am Link

Photographer

Hero Foto

Posts: 878

Phoenix, Arizona, US

TFP or Paid shoots? Makes a huge difference in the amount of editing I am willing to put into images ... I will edit a "few" (3-5) for TFP shoots, but Paid shoots, I edit for days/weeks ...

Jan 18 13 07:31 am Link

Photographer

Jerry Nemeth

Posts: 27978

Dearborn, Michigan, US

You should ask the photographer about his editing before you shoot.
I believe in editing to improve the image!

Jan 18 13 07:32 am Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12831

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Well the best reason I can see why some don't is that are bad at it.  I would suspect unedited images are better then some of the messes I have seen posted.

Its important to put your very best work out, and I think if you are not proficient at it you should hire someone who is - but obviously not everyone does.

Jan 18 13 07:32 am Link

Photographer

William Kious

Posts: 8841

Delphos, Ohio, US

There are a variety of reasons...

- Some photographers are "purist" who feel that it should all happen "in camera".

- Some lack the skill (and have no interest in developing said skill.)

- Some lack the software knowledge (or the software itself) to perform more "high-end" retouching.

- Some don't want to take the time for fine fixes.

- Some are just shitty photographers who are more about the shoot than the finished product.

If you're frustrated with the results you get, ask the photographers you work with to outsource their retouching. If they don't want to do that, then request permission to have the images manipulated on your own.

Jan 18 13 07:34 am Link

Photographer

Loki Studio

Posts: 3019

Royal Oak, Michigan, US

You should be more careful about picking photographers that deliver photos that meet your needs better, or offer to pay for retouching with the photographer's permission.

Also don't forget imperfections are critical to capturing true character.  Plus highly edited photos can be a serious problem for clients when you don't actually look like your photos.

Jan 18 13 07:34 am Link

Photographer

William Kious

Posts: 8841

Delphos, Ohio, US

Hero Foto wrote:
TFP or Paid shoots? Makes a huge difference in the amount of editing I am willing to put into images ... I will edit a "few" (3-5) for TFP shoots, but Paid shoots, I edit for days/weeks ...

I have mixed feelings about this practice.

Why would I give a trade client any more/less effort than a paid client?

Jan 18 13 07:36 am Link

Photographer

Bill M

Posts: 71

West Boylston, Massachusetts, US

Many people just do not know what to do or how to do it. That'll be the #1 reason. I'd suggest chekcing photogs' work beforehand if you are relying on the results and are not just shooting for fee comp.

Jan 18 13 07:40 am Link

Photographer

Jhono Bashian

Posts: 2432

Cleveland, Ohio, US

Editing you own images is subjective v.s. the llama editing v.s. magazine editor and not everyone is good at it.
Some are lazy, some don't have the time, some don't do it just and would rather have you edit the images.

Jan 18 13 07:40 am Link

Photographer

GM Photography

Posts: 6100

Olympia, Washington, US

They and/or their cameras are so awesome that photos just pop out of their cameras already perfect. 

I'm not that skilled and I use a pretty cheap camera, so I spend a fair amount of time retouching (I know you meant that when you said "editing").  I kinda want my images and the subjects I'm shooting to look their best also.

Of course that often leads to the "why don't I get more pictures?" question.

Always a good idea to take a close look at the work already in the photographer's portfolio and make sure you understand what is included in the finished images you receive (along with how many you'll get, how long it will take to get them, how you can use them, etc.).

Jan 18 13 07:42 am Link

Photographer

B R U N E S C I

Posts: 25319

Bath, England, United Kingdom

Everybody has their own idea of what is required and what looks best.

Presumably you looked at their portfolios before working with them? Was it not apparent then that they didn't do as much retouching as some others?





Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

Jan 18 13 07:43 am Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12831

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Hero Foto wrote:
TFP or Paid shoots? Makes a huge difference in the amount of editing I am willing to put into images ... I will edit a "few" (3-5) for TFP shoots, but Paid shoots, I edit for days/weeks ...

So your own book is worth less effort then a clients???

Jan 18 13 07:43 am Link

Photographer

Fotografica Gregor

Posts: 4122

Alexandria, Virginia, US

honestly not every photographer is about creating glamour.   Some are less into fantasy and more into realism.....

I go both ways depending on the subject, the concept, and whether the image is really being shot for me or for the model -

when trading,  I try to make sure the model has images that flatter her.  That being said I abhor plastic skin and editing that makes the model look fake.  There are certain imperfections that, though you may be uncomfortable with them,  are beautiful.   I try to find a balance in my editing in this respect...

but the images I shoot for my own use are often more "real".

Jan 18 13 07:45 am Link

Photographer

Neil Snape

Posts: 9473

Paris, Île-de-France, France

As in editing if you mean retouching:

I used to retouch the snot out of pictures.

Frankly for me they loose their honesty, and integrity. If no one can look like the finished product then you are nothing more than a 2D plastic wax figurine.

I posted my avi today. Never opened in Photoshop. IF the light is right, mu etc there really is no reason to retouch that I can see.

Jan 18 13 07:46 am Link

Photographer

Kaouthia

Posts: 3152

Lancaster, England, United Kingdom

Hero Foto wrote:
I will edit a "few" (3-5) for TFP shoots, but Paid shoots, I edit for days/weeks ...

I'm generally the other way around.  For TF, I might only edit and deliver a few images, but I'm willing to work on them for much longer.  If I'm being paid, I'll work on them for as long as their payment allows.

I'll still do it to as high a standard as I can in the time allotted, but I'm not going to spend an hour or two on each image if they want a hundred images delivered and I'm not being paid for all that post processing time.

I've spent 18 hours working on a single TF image before though, and I've got a composite I'm working on right now (approx 200 images in total) that was born out of a TF shoot that's already taken about 15 hours, with plenty more to go.

For the OP though, as others have mentioned, a lot of those that don't do it, it's usually because they don't know how, or can't do it well.

Occasionally, they'll spout of some "purist" nonsense about "getting it right in camera" (shooting RAW and post processing doesn't preclude "getting it right in camera"), having never actually used a darkroom and seen what's capable with film.

Jan 18 13 07:46 am Link

Photographer

Hero Foto

Posts: 878

Phoenix, Arizona, US

William Kious wrote:

I have mixed feelings about this practice.

Why would I give a trade client any more/less effort than a paid client?

It depends on the agreed amount of edited images ... some only want a few, others want ALL images edited ... where do you draw the line?

Jan 18 13 07:47 am Link

Photographer

Kaouthia

Posts: 3152

Lancaster, England, United Kingdom

Hero Foto wrote:
some only want a few, others want ALL images edited ... where do you draw the line?

If a model wants to shoot TF and wants every image from the shoot post processed, the line is drawn by saying "No thanks, next!". wink

Jan 18 13 07:49 am Link

Photographer

-Ira

Posts: 2187

New York, New York, US

I edit all of my photos.  Paid or TFP because its my work and I want it to represent me well.

To the OP:  Did the photographer deliver photos which did not resemble whats in their portfolio?  If so I'd ask them why the difference.  If not you should be sure to select photographers based on their quality of past work.

Jan 18 13 07:49 am Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12831

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Kaouthia wrote:

If a model wants to shoot TF and wants every image from the shoot post processed, the line is drawn by saying "No thanks, next!". wink

QFT

Jan 18 13 07:50 am Link

Photographer

Hero Foto

Posts: 878

Phoenix, Arizona, US

AJScalzitti wrote:

So your own book is worth less effort then a clients???

short answer: Nope ..

shooting a concept for myself IS a "paid" shoot IMHO ... and the talent will get edited images ... again, how many depends on the agreement ...

Jan 18 13 07:50 am Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2964

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

It's a lifestyle choice....lol

Or so I'm told by those who "don't" retouch/edit. In my experience the ones who go that route are typically weak in terms of editing and retouching skills. So they invent the idea of doing "everything" in camera.

It's a competitive world and the ones who make it and survive develop the skills to make images that people want to see. If your shooting for yourself then none of that matters. It helps if your blessed in shooting the kind of people that you find attractive or interesting...and you don't need to waste your time in post processing.

I wouldn't use the stuff you see on MM (in general) as a true gauge of the industry. Most models are not agency standard and photographers are often forced to retouch them into that...ya know; turning fatties into skinnies.

Jan 18 13 07:51 am Link

Photographer

Lifestyle_Images

Posts: 3998

Albuquerque, New Mexico, US

-B-R-U-N-E-S-C-I- wrote:
Everybody has their own idea of what is required and what looks best.

Presumably you looked at their portfolios before working with them? Was it not apparent then that they didn't do as much retouching as some others?





Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

THIS...  There is no standard out there.  Each of us gets what we negotiate and specify.  If we do neither, we get what we get.

If you have aspects of your appearance that you prefer to always be retouched (editing is the process of selecting images, retouching is "photoshopping), then you can either do as Stefano suggests and select your collaborators based on their ports AND request the same retouching, or you can hire the photographer and specify exactly what you want.

What I think you'll have a hard time doing is asking for trade or to be paid, and then expect (without prior negotiation) to get something back other than what the photographer wants to do.

Jan 18 13 07:52 am Link

Photographer

Fotografica Gregor

Posts: 4122

Alexandria, Virginia, US

Illuminate wrote:
In my experience the ones who go that route are typically weak in terms of editing and retouching skills. So they invent the idea of doing "everything" in camera.

LoL -    I've been doing "everything in camera" - and darkroom - for decades -   

I take the opposite view -  I see too many "fauxtographers" who could not create a decent image in camera to save their a$$  -  they just throw whatever they get into photoshop and try to make it look like something.....

my "balance" on this is pretty much the same as it always has been -  something on the order of 85% in camera and the rest with fairly restrained retouching

those who do not have the patience to learn to "get it right in camera" are and always will be behind those who do in terms of their final production.....   some things - if you don't get it right, or close, in camera, you can't "create" it in photoshop....

Jan 18 13 07:56 am Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12831

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Hero Foto wrote:

short answer: Nope ..

shooting a concept for myself IS a "paid" shoot IMHO ... and the talent will get edited images ... again, how many depends on the agreement ...

I see what you are saying.  I think the difference is I don't shoot TF unless I think it's something I can use in my book, or by your example a "paid" shoot.  I just can't spare the time for much else these days...

Jan 18 13 07:57 am Link

Photographer

Lifestyle_Images

Posts: 3998

Albuquerque, New Mexico, US

Neil Snape wrote:
As in editing if you mean retouching:

I used to retouch the snot out of pictures.

Frankly for me they loose their honesty, and integrity. If no one can look like the finished product then you are nothing more than a 2D plastic wax figurine.

I posted my avi today. Never opened in Photoshop. IF the light is right, mu etc there really is no reason to retouch that I can see.

Bold added by me for emphasis.  This really hits it on the head for me.  Fashion is about an idealized fantasy, so "perfection" via retouching makes sense.  Portraits, IMO, are about documenting the person as they are, fine (and not so fine) lines, pores and all.  Each genre has its own purpose, and therefore its own "best face."

I certainly realize that most of my stuff is "under" touched, and as I have time to devote to going back and re-working images, I do.  But for the most part, the bulk of my work is about documenting the now, even if today's now has a better handle on some technical aspects, etc.

@OP, the real key is for you to identify what your ideal is and communicate that with prospective partners.  Depending on the financial arrangement, you may get more or less of what you want, but that's the way t is.  What anyone other than you and your chosen collaborators do is entirely irrelevant.

Jan 18 13 07:59 am Link

Photographer

Mortonovich

Posts: 5538

San Diego, California, US

Why do some musicians play acoustic with no effects?

Because there is no one "right" way to do things and some prefer a stripped down, rough, raw look.

Audience and intent always has to come into consideration as well.

Jan 18 13 08:05 am Link

Model

Sarah Lynn Modeling

Posts: 158

Asheville, North Carolina, US

True.  I think some of you have a very good point that if I wanted certain things edited, I should have communicated that to the photographer.  The thing is, sometimes as part of a TF shoot the photographer will agree that he will send me X amount of edited images.  But then I get them and they don't look edited at all.  When I've asked about it, they point out very, very minimal things that they've edited, but I get stuck on the imperfections I see.  While I always make sure I have an excellent hair and makeup artist, even for TF shoots, I still notice things like bags under the eyes and fine lines.  My appearance isn't perfect.  But I like your ideas, and I think from now on, before doing a TF shoot, I need to see based on the photographer's portfolio if he or she does do editing, and also communicate to the photographer that I would like to see certain things edited.  I don't want a "plastic" appearance or anything, just general appearance things like I mentioned.  But yeah, I agree communication is key.

Jan 18 13 08:05 am Link

Photographer

M Pandolfo Photography

Posts: 12116

Tampa, Florida, US

The reasons have all been discussed but I'm a bit confused as how that would come as a surprise to a model?

Unless you're saying they had images in their portfolio that were edited the way you liked but chose not to retouch yours? Then I could understand the confusion.

Otherwise, you can easily tell someone's post-production philosophy and/or skill by viewing their images and it should never take you off guard when the final images are presented.

Jan 18 13 08:09 am Link

Photographer

M Pandolfo Photography

Posts: 12116

Tampa, Florida, US

Sarah Lynn Modeling wrote:
True.  I think some of you have a very good point that if I wanted certain things edited, I should have communicated that to the photographer.  The thing is, sometimes as part of a TF shoot the photographer will agree that he will send me X amount of edited images.  But then I get them and they don't look edited at all.  When I've asked about it, they point out very, very minimal things that they've edited, but I get stuck on the imperfections I see.  While I always make sure I have an excellent hair and makeup artist, even for TF shoots, I still notice things like bags under the eyes and fine lines.  My appearance isn't perfect.  But I like your ideas, and I think from now on, before doing a TF shoot, I need to see based on the photographer's portfolio if he or she does do editing, and also communicate to the photographer that I would like to see certain things edited.  I don't want a "plastic" appearance or anything, just general appearance things like I mentioned.  But yeah, I agree communication is key.

That's always a good idea for any shoot. The more communication, the less chance there is for any gap in expectations.

Jan 18 13 08:10 am Link

Photographer

Fotografica Gregor

Posts: 4122

Alexandria, Virginia, US

Neil Snape wrote:
As in editing if you mean retouching:

I used to retouch the snot out of pictures.

Frankly for me they loose their honesty, and integrity. If no one can look like the finished product then you are nothing more than a 2D plastic wax figurine.

I posted my avi today. Never opened in Photoshop. IF the light is right, mu etc there really is no reason to retouch that I can see.

Interesting - some of my beauty work is the least retouched of all of my images -  just removing shadows from a few bumps or lines - and not many of those - 

if she has really good skin and the MUA is nicely done,  add good light and i agree - very little if anything to do to the images -   this was certainly the case with my recent images with Theresa Manchester even though the light was very directional

some of my light approaches though are rough on skin -  light at nearly 90 degrees off axis for a good bit of it -   I like the definition this creates but it can really be tough on faces.  I'm fine with that - I'd leave it sort of "stark" to my own taste -   the eye can tell, I think, what a shadow is, where it is appropriate, where textures are emphasized by the direction and quality of light -  to eradicate this in post work for the sake of softening the occasional imperfection, to my mind,  is destructive of the cohesiveness of the image

eg:

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121229/01/50deb2f3c5bfe.jpg

Jan 18 13 08:20 am Link

Photographer

SPierce Photography

Posts: 19790

Amherst, Massachusetts, US

I count as a minimal retoucher. I don't edit a lot, because I don't like the look of overedited skin. It just looks too fake to me- and most of the time the photos don't need that extra skin blur, anyway.

however, I do take out the circles under the eyes and any large blemishes (zits, moles, etc)

Jan 18 13 08:21 am Link

Photographer

Barry Kidd Photography

Posts: 2521

Red Lion, Pennsylvania, US

Well, if you want photos just for fun then the edited shots are great.  If you are actually looking for work then the unedited shots will likely get you more work than the edited shots.

The client wants to see who you are and what you are.  Not what someone has transformed you into.

Jan 18 13 08:27 am Link

Photographer

Fotografica Gregor

Posts: 4122

Alexandria, Virginia, US

Barry Kidd Photography wrote:
Well, if you want photos just for fun then the edited shots are great.  If you are actually looking for work then the unedited shots will likely get you more work than the edited shots.

The client wants to see who you are and what you are.  Not what someone has transformed you into.

Bullseye - but you are talking real industry -  not many here really do that lol

Jan 18 13 08:28 am Link

Photographer

jkcphotography

Posts: 50

Saint Louis, Missouri, US

Neil Snape wrote:
As in editing if you mean retouching:

I used to retouch the snot out of pictures.

Frankly for me they loose their honesty, and integrity. If no one can look like the finished product then you are nothing more than a 2D plastic wax figurine.

I posted my avi today. Never opened in Photoshop. IF the light is right, mu etc there really is no reason to retouch that I can see.

+1 most of my models from Slovakia in my port as "as shot" might have cropped a few but no retouching.

I do some retouching but it would depend on shoot requirements. I am an old film guy and we didn't have a ton of tools to retouch back then...

just my 2 cents

Jan 18 13 08:32 am Link

Model

Candace Rain

Posts: 476

Spokane, Washington, US

Regardless of WHY.. A photographer that 'doesn't edit' or does minimal adjustments in post probably has images in their portfolio that represent their style, so I guess my question would be why would you shoot with someone who does that kind of work if that's not the look you're going for?

Jan 18 13 08:36 am Link

Photographer

ShotbyRon

Posts: 767

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

I'm kinda middle of the road on this. When I edit any photos I make minor adjustment in light room, soften the skin  and remove moles that look out of place, cuts, zits etc. I don't go crazy with though. I kinda like the natural look.

Jan 18 13 08:40 am Link

Photographer

Image Works Photography

Posts: 2890

Orlando, Florida, US

To me there are two levels of editing. Level 1 simple slight exposure fix and level 2 in addition to expose they require taking out leaves, hair etc where possible. I normally fix all of them for my clients. For trades I only do level 2 on a handful which I consider worthy. They fluctuate- sometimes I narrow them down to 2 or 3. Again- they are the cream of the crop. It takes hours to go into fine detail. To the OP- you also have to consider it the photog has a busy schedule. Sometimes they are booked way over their heads and so they create a backlog. Its not unheard of models complaining about unedited pics and months of delays in getting the pictures.

Jan 18 13 08:40 am Link

Photographer

ontherocks

Posts: 22606

Salem, Oregon, US

some people don't care for the processed look and prefer to keep it more natural. for them it's a stylistic choice. and sometimes models don't like the way a photographer retouches.

i don't do heavy retouching on event photos (or even on my sets for zivity) but for mayhem i will bust out the photoshop.

also depends on the model. some models don't have any flaws! or at least it seems that way when you are in their presence smile

Jan 18 13 08:51 am Link

Photographer

Jean Renard Photography

Posts: 2080

Los Angeles, California, US

For the vast majority of jobs, editorial and commercial, the editing is done under the supervision of the art director or client.  They often have folks they like to work with, or trust the photographer's team to do it according to their needs.

As aware as we are about the overt amount of retouching that takes place, the industry for the models, HATES overly retouched images as casting directors want the truth of a model not what she could be with hours upon hours of work.

We do not retouch very much  on purpose other than to convert digital files into a useful final image and take out minor imperfections.  As for testings, If you need vast amounts of retouching all the time, you should not be modeling or someone else should have been cast instead.  Models with heavily  retouched images are not fooling anyone and are instead wasting everyone's time.

Jan 18 13 09:05 am Link

Photographer

ME_

Posts: 3146

Atlanta, Georgia, US

The best thing to do is to look at their portfolios ahead of time and see what kind of work they do and then agree to shoots based on that.

Asking a photographer who clearly does little or no post-processing to do it for you is probably not going to end well for you - they'll either not do it because they can't or don't want to, or they aren't good at it. If they're not processing the photos to your liking before you walked in, why do you think all of a sudden they'd be likely change their style? Maybe they will give it a try ... if you want to take the chance.

If I want a cake baked, I don't go to a baker whose sample catalogue consists of 20 pictures of square 1-layer cakes with vanilla frosting but then expect him to do a 5-tiered free-form rosette-decorated jam- and cream-filled wedding cake. I mean I can ask him; but if he's not done one before, I don't think I myself would take the chance that he could do what I'd like. Maybe I'll give him a try, if I want to risk it; or maybe I'll find someone who already does the kind of cakes I want and save the 1-layer guy for when I want to try a plain unadorned cake.

Jan 18 13 09:08 am Link