Editing images it is an art in itself, similar to the work a photographer in the past may have done in the darkroom. Creating these images can be a lengthy process - clicking the shutter button is a only a small part of that. I actually spend more time behind my computer for a session than I do on-location with my camera!
Once I get home from a shoot, every session is imported into Adobe Lightroom, cataloged and backed up on an external hard drive. I take the time to carefully go through every single image, sorting out duplicates, blinks, and any images that are not technically correct to ensure that your final images are the very best of your session.
I shoot in RAW format. Most cameras will be automatically set to capture JPG/JPEG. The camera has essentially edited these images already and rejected all the excess information that was used to make it. RAW files retain all the details captured by the camera and allow the greatest creative freedom for post-processing (though they don't always look very appealing straight out of the camera!). These files are very large, need special programs to open them and require editing and exporting.
Images are color-corrected, white balance is adjusted, contrast, vibrance and sharpening are applied along with retouching (whiten teeth if needed, clean-up minor blemishes and zits, heal small injuries and scratches) and any additional editing that may be required. Every final picture is opened in both Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop for an average editing time of 5-10 minutes per image.
Group pictures sometimes require the additional work of head-swapping. This often happens - everyone in an image is looking straight at the camera and smiling beautifully, except for one person (who was smiling three frames back when two people were blinking!). Say I have ten similar frames - I would carefully analyze each face to determine who looks their best in which frame. If needed I would combine these images. This is not always straightforward - in some cases it is incredibly difficult and time-consuming.
It is important to me that newborns are safe. Some of my newborn images are also composites made up of two or more images so that baby is being protected at all times.
Award-winning photographer Ted Grant once said that, "“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls.” Black and white images are stripped of many distracting elements that otherwise sidetrack the viewer from really noticing the individual/s in the picture. In most of my galleries I will add a select few images edited in black and white. Many images look better in color, and others are more intense in black and white. These are able to captivate their audience, convey deeper emotions and tell stories more profoundly than their color counterparts.
I love both the shooting and editing aspects of photography. Shooting allows me the privilege of developing relationships with clients, creatively setting up portraits, experimenting with different light, angles and camera settings. Editing, though time-consuming, provides an entirely different creative freedom to make an image really pop and stand out. It can help to convey a certain emotion or feeling and adds to the story element of images.