Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Fine Art Process

As a professional photographer, it is not only my job to capture beautiful images from your wedding day, engagement shoot, or portrait session, but also to help guide you through the photography process as a whole. There are many misconceptions about the differences between digital negatives, edited proofs and fine art enlargements. This page is here to help clarify any questions you might have regarding this topic and to help you fully understand the process behind transforming your photos into the fine art images that you see on this website, blog, and albums. The truth is, in today’s digital age, composing and capturing an image is really only half of the creative process involved in what we do as photographers. The other half is the tremendous amount of editing time that is spent with your images on an individual basis, transforming them into fine art images that will eventually go into your album design or hang on your wall.

What are digital negatives?
Digital Negatives are NOT the images you see in our portfolio, albums, or blog. The photos we present have had extensive editing and are considered “fine art”, the end result of the editing process. Digital Negatives are the images out of camera; no retouching, no resizing, no tweaking of any kind. They are, in a sense, a blank canvas with tons of potential with the right software and knowledge.

What does exactly does “editing” a photo entail?

There are two parts to the editing process. The first is an overall editing of color balance, exposure, contrast, etc. each image goes through to make it presentable for proofing which is why proofs take 3-5 weeks. For most images, the editing process stops here. The final step of the editing process is extremely meticulous and only done on images that are a part of the Wedding or Portrait Album, as well as enlargements 5×7 and larger. This could involve changing color hues, removing blemishes, removing distracting backgrounds, or adding special effects. The possibilities are truly endless, and since every single image is unique, they all require a different approach.

It’s much easier to answer this question visually. In the following examples, the original or “unedited” photo is the digital negative, straight out of the camera with no editing what so ever. The “proof” photo is the photo after the first round of editing (this is the image that you will see in your proofing galleries, as well as the image you will receive on DVD (if applicable). The final or “edited” photo is the image after extensive retouching work that we will use for prints, albums, canvases, etc.

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