What exactly does a “Hand Edited Image” mean?
Think back to when all cameras were film and the photographer would have to capture your images and then take the film to be processed, dipped in each chemical to bring the colors to life. The photographer would not just give you the film and say here you go, they process it and give you the final processed images. Well, my “Edited” images are similar in this sense, I will take your images during your session, I take the time to adjust my cameras settings to capture the image correctly in the camera, I then upload them to my computer and even though I adjust all the settings in my camera to get the aperture, and light correct when I take the image, they still need to be processed. The images captured on my camera are so large and unusable by the average person because you need a special program to even open them, so part of the processing is transferring this large file into one that can be printed. Now, this is where the term “edited” is used lightly by me. I use this expression as it is easiest for non-photographers to understand, as I prefer the term “Processed”.
Unfortunately with popular apps and social media rolling out these “filters” and “edits”, that you click and instantaneously get images with better colors and smooth perfect skin; this has made people think that all photographers do once they upload is click a button and that is not the case. On top of transferring the files into ones that are usable to the average person I go through and remove any unflattering images that may have been taken during your session; think blinking, sneezing, moving during the shot, etc. Then I go through and hand adjusts every color in the image, even ones that you may not think would be in the picture. I utilize color theory to adjust skin tones and the colors of greens. I adjust shadows, highlights, blacks, and whites to give you the crisp clear true-to-life colors you see in my portfolio. So no, I do not just slap a filter on your images and call it a day as you can do on Instagram, Snapchat, or even Facebook. I process and hand-edit each image individually to give you the best images, and the best quality. This rolls into the question I get daily; “Do you give all the “Un-Edited” images. The short answer is no, I do not because that would mean that the images are not “processed”. And no it is not that I do not want you to have all your images, it is that it takes a lot of time to get the images processed. This also means you would receive unflattering images, which at the end of the day are you going to want to be printed and put on your wall? No.
I like to use the example of a painter; a famous painter would not give you a canvas and paint on their palette and call it finished, you would say “well this is not finished work, this is just a canvas and a side of paint”, “this is not cohesive to your portfolio”, and the list could go on, and on. Now take that concept and apply it to a photographer. If a photographer gave you un-processed images, they would be giving you an unfinished product similar to the canvas and side of the paint. This in turn leaves it open to you being able to interpret or change the work, which if you loved your images and wanted to tag the photographer in the images on social media; anyone who saw those images would assume that is how the photographers work looks even if you were the one to put a filter on them. If you are going to pay to have your photos taken wouldn't you want to be given the finished product? One that you do not feel compelled to edit or change yourself? Part of the process of finding a photographer is finding one that you love their work, you love everything about their portfolio, or everything about their previous sessions. If you see their portfolio and think “I do not like how these look” then you should keep looking until you find one that's work you adore. The reason I and other photographers cull and process your images to a set number is so that you are not overwhelmed and have the opportunity to print the images into a cohesive album or gallery wall in your home. At the end of the day, you want images that you can print because what is the point of hiring a professional for your images to sit on your phone?