You can photoshop that, right?

During many of the sessions I’ve photographed since the start of my business, without fail, someone will ask, “you can just Photoshop that, right?” I think probably about half the time they are just joking and I know they are always coming from a good place.

I think it is fair to point out that most photographers likely cringe every time they hear those photoshop related questions & comments. But why? For me, here is the top reason why photoshop comments & questions are cringe-worthy: I don’t want my clients to have unrealistic expectations that may lead to disappointment!

Furthermore, I definitely think there are some misconceptions around Photoshop and how the program works. Trust me, I used to be right there with you! The biggest misconception, I think, involves a magic button. A photographer who pays the Photoshop premium has special access to this magic button that when pressed/clicked, makes everyone look like Kate Middleton, right? Even more, this magic button also removes unwanted objects, photobombs, closed eyes, and can even swap out a grumpy face with a happy one. Well, sort of. Sure, you can absolutely remove chins, make waists thinner, eliminate cars & signs, or remove tourists in the background of your monument photos, but it’s not just with the click of a button.

Photoshop is really its own craft outside of the realm of photography. Working in the program is incredibly laborious and depending on the task, working with one image can take minutes to hours. 

Therefore, I'd like to answer a few questions to ensure I am meeting realistic expectations:

Q. If you’re delivering “edited” photos, isn’t that the same thing as Photoshop?

A. No! When I edit your photos, I use the program Lightroom to ensure they all have the same consistent quality and style as the images you fell in love with. This means I apply custom presets (yes, I make my own) and edits that I’ve designed & developed over the years. Then I individually tweak your photos for things like white balance, exposure, and a myriad of other details. I also straighten every. single. image. No tilted horizons here! I can also do some very basic object removal editing in Lightroom.

Q. I've seen smartphone apps and other software capable of doing magical things to photos (face swaps, sky swaps, object removals, etc). How come you don't use these? 

A. This is a new and important question and the answer I have will probably change in 5-10 years due to the amazing developments in technology.  Until then...the most relevant answer is this: I do not use said apps , because I promise my clients high quality images. The high quality images I deliver, even if they require Photoshopping, are capable of being printed and made into all kinds of photo product creations, small and large that will look fantastic however you choose to display them. I refuse to deliver a low quality product that you wouldn't be able to display in your home.

Please understand that this answer does not apply to images intended only for social media. You would never be able to notice the low quality of an unprofessionally edited image posted to instagram. Maybe I should consider a social media only photoshoot package, but as of current, I do not offer one of those...let me know your thoughts!

More specifically:

     + Apps and computer software programs, especially ones incapable of editing raw images  will degrade an image. Every time a jpeg is opened, edited, and saved, the image loses quality and experiences subtle color shifting. My edits are seamless and unnoticeable.

     + It takes more (a detail-oriented, photo-editing professional human) than sophisticated AI software to remove items without producing noticeable color differences or leaving obvious compression artifacts. Please follow this link if your unsure what that means.

Q. Do you do any extensive retouching and how & when do you do that?

A. This is a two-fold question for me!  As I cull and apply my standard corrections to your images, I flag a few images that I plan to take into Photoshop for a bit of extra work. These include things like head swaps (if possible), to diminish or remove blemishes in close-ups, or to remove unwanted or distracting objects. These are simply things I do as a gift to ensure my clients love their photos. Keep in mind that this is not always guaranteed, because again, it is just not possible to perform extensive editing on all images. Also, I cannot always predict your perception.

Q. What if I want _______ edited? Can you do that?

A. Absolutely! But to be fair to all my clients across the board, there is an additional fee for above standard edits (those previously mentioned). The cost generally ranges from $5-$30 per image depending on the type of edit and amount of work requested. These edits usually take 2-3 business days and are uploaded directly to your gallery. The amount of time may vary and will depend on current client load.

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