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The Fine Art Difference

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams

What goes into making a photograph is an ever changing formula and it starts with the original composition.  I believe, as did Ansel Adams, that 40% of a photograph is made in the camera, and 60% of a photograph is made in the darkroom. This sets me apart from many wedding photographers in that I believe a powerful photograph is one that is beautifully shot and fully edited to match my artist vision.

Before

After

Before

After

In the example above, I took a series of images of The Boy throwing the caber (always with help) at the Scottish Highlands Festival. I was compelled by his body language and stance in this particular image. However, I found the crowd and cars to be very distracting, therefore I removed them. This helped but I felt like the image needed more brooding drama. So I brought out the sky and emphasized the stormy clouds. One of the benefits of photographing in RAW is that the camera is actually registering more information than you can see. The result is a dramatic, compelling image that I adore.

Before

After

Of course, not all images require such extensive manipulation. Although, every image can be improved by working with it. Just as in the days when all images were printed in a darkroom, the hand of the artist can and should greatly improve the final print. In the example above, the exposures of the before and after photos are practically the same. The differences are in the subtle changes that help to emphasize the bride and the light. These small changes (brightening the bride, slightly changing the color of the image, removing a distracting pole and part of a person) help focus the attention onto the bride.

Before

After

Sometimes you shoot a beautiful moment and there is something that gets in the way. In this case a wash of light hit Amanda and Dave's faces and became a distraction from the loving moment that was happing between the couple. Bringing their skin tones back to the proper range and removing the wash of light made the photograph one of the most special from their First Dance and one of my favorites from the whole shoot. It was worth saving.