Brides are beautiful and because of that, the bride puts a temendous amount of effort and money into this one day. One of the jobs of the wedding photographer is to see that beauty in the bride regardless of circumstances or environment. It also means that at times you need to shoot knowing full well you will be doing something specific in post to make the vision a reality. This bridal shot which I took at Serra Plaza was one of those moments that I knew I had to shoot with postprocessing in mind and adjust accordingly.
When I reviewed the image in Lightroom, the raw image had some basic qualities that I thought would make a really good solid image in Black and White. At the time, the key issue to me was that the quality of light was shall we say, less than optimal. It was very late in the day and we were in the shadow side on top of everything else. There was a mix of daylight on her face and some type of sodium light behind her and over her head. There also was the same fact that hall lead to a bank ATM and it had a massive concrete trash can off to one side. But I knew with some cropping, I could clean it up quite a bit. And I also felt that I could clean up the image best in Black and White and dump the mixed colors.
In the image below, you can see the results of the cropping and the initial Black and White conversion. At this point, I had not removed the trash can or done any major retouching. But you can already see how the black and white treatment really brought the image to life in spite of the lousy lighting. I used Nik’s SilverEfex Pro 2.0 for the conversion and as always, it just works really well to get a clean black and white image.
In the final image here, I used the content aware fill tool in CS5 to remove the trashcan on the left side. Back in Lightroom 3, I also applied a sepia like tone preset called “Silver Dust Hue” from Gavin Seim’s workflow presets. to the image to give a very light vintage look to it. And I darkened the corners a touch. I paid very close attention to my bride to make sure I did not ruin the skin tones or the details on the dress. Remember, along with the look of the bride, its ALL about the dress. Ruining the details on the dress will ruin the image for the bride, she paid a lot of money for the dress so you had better show it off to the best of your ability.
Now we have a keeper of an image and it took about 40 minutes start to finish. I put one version into a digital frame and it looks spectacular.
- Portrait Retouching / Shaping Bodies With Liquify (pixiq.com)
- Easy Retouching With The Spot Healing Brush In Photoshop (blogs.sitepoint.com)
- 2011 Wedding Hair Trends (joyofspa.com)
- Beautiful Vintage Gowns For the June Bride or Mother of the Bride (thebestinvintage.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces And Bodies 2nd Edition by Lee Varis (blogcritics.org)