Retouching | Before + After

Happy 2017, everyone! Cheers to a fresh new start in the new year. I know some of us have goals and resolutions that we hope to stick to this year...I am sending out my good vibes and positivity that we can all attain them, especially if they're simple. (For example, one of my goals for 2017 is to focus more on flossing my teeth. I'm in a terrible habit of not doing it and my dentist is sure to point it out every 6 months! Tired of it, so I'm going to take 30 whole seconds out of my day each day to do it! I even wrote myself a note on my bathroom mirror with a dry-erase marker! I've found that notes help a lot too.)

Today, I'd like to touch base on what retouching looks like in the eyes of a photographer and what the client might miss being "behind the scenes." Each photographer has their own post-processing style, some being bright and bold, others being more "contrasty" and some being a bit more "soft" or "flow-y". Regardless of the style, each photographer all must dive into your hundreds (or even thousands) of images to choose the perfect ones and then retouch them to fit our liking as a photographer. We spend countless amounts of hours staring at a computer screen, sometimes taking longer breaks than we want to because we're constantly looking at a digital screen! There are also times that we must step away from retouching a session because all of the images sort-of run together. Stepping away and coming back refreshed is one of my favorite techniques because my job never gets boring! It's like coming back to a whole new session each time! (I recently had an eye appointment with a new optometrist and he shared with me that my eyes have drastically changed because I switched professions. I told him I quit working for the Starbucks Corporation in June and that I'm a full-time photographer now. He 100% blamed my computer for my change in eyesight! Crazy! Moral of the story, be sure to keep up with your Optometrist! An updated prescription can make a ton of difference and your eye health is SO important! Take care of them eyeballs!!!)

Okay, so back to the actual action of retouching. What is retouching, you ask?! Well, to put it simply, it's (for me) finding all ranges of the images' tones and then applying those tones to be 100% true. 100% blacks, whites and middle grays. I prefer Adobe Lightroom over Photoshop. I was taught how to use Lightroom in college and I feel that it is a program that respects the actual idea of the "truth" in photography. In contrast, Photoshop allows the user to completely turn an image into a lie, and to me, that's not photography. Photography is TRUTH. Photography captures "facts". Actions in Photoshop, I think, allow the photographer to completely change an image into what it is not.

As a Professional Photographer, I get asked frequently after MANY sessions if I could slim faces, hips, waists and other body parts while in my post-processing mode. My answer is always going to be NO. I studied photography as an art in college. I learned the truth of this medium and that's why I love it. I refuse to change my style due to clients not wanting to accept the "truth" about their images. If you want your body parts fixed/retouched in post-processing, I hate to say this, but it's the truth and I back it up...I am NOT the photographer for you! If you want raw, real and truthful images...moments captured that other photographers aren't focused on, I'm your girl! The truth is such a beautiful thing!!!! 

 

Styling Guide for Whitney Brewer Photo!

I usually only blog Wednesdays and Saturdays, but consider today a treat! I've been at my desk since about 9am working diligently to get this out to my viewers and potential clients! I am excited to announce that I am going to release some juicy content for you all regarding how to dress yourselves when you come to get photographed by Whitney Brewer Photography! It's a little in depth, but totally worth the read. It's informative in both the DO's and DON'Ts...and the best part about all of this information is YOUR feedback! Yes, that's right! I want your feedback! Is this information clear? Mean? Too straight forward? Gentle? Informative? Too much? Too little? You guys are what makes my business so magical. If it weren't for you all, I wouldn't be here, so your input is just as important as my blogging!!!!

Here we go friends. Whitney Brewer Photography's version of "What Not to Wear"!

 

Whitney Brewer Photography Style Guide

 

Coordinate, but don’t match.

When styling a photo session, I like to start out with a basic color palette and go from there. It can aid to have one “star of the show” in the images who wears a pattern in their outfit that the rest of the group’s clothing or accessories pulls from, while keeping everyone else’s outfits more simple! You can do this with a neutral and a few bright colors (stay away from NEONS!), or you can also try a softer color palette that has different tonal ranges of the same shade. It tends to be easier to find the “center stage” pieces in the female’s clothing, so I will often start with the girls and then pull colors from their outfits to create a look for the guys!  Choose clothing that will be timeless!
 

Accessorize

…with accessories, try to think outside the box! Hats, scarves, jewelry, vests, jackets, flowers for the ladies, sweaters, etc…all of these things can really tie an image together. However, don’t let these accessories overwhelm the subject or images! I feel as though babies and children don’t really need any (or much!) accessories, as they are beautiful in their simplicity.  I’d rather have the kids be the star of the show, rather than the bow on their head and the big bucket that they sit on. I want the viewer to focus on the subject, not the props! Choose your accent colors and fill in outfits with those punches of color in accessories. For example, if big sister’s patterned dress has tones of aqua, coral and gray, have mom wear a coral headband and little brother in a aqua pair of converse and a bow tie. Show of the kids’ and your unique personality with accessories! The nice thing about accessories is that you can change them up during the session without having to do many wardrobe changes. They can also be something that the subjects interact with. A little sassy tip of the hat, grabbing the lapels of the hubby’s jacket while pulling him close for a kiss…these are all examples of using accessories at their finest!
 

Layers and textures

These two features are stunning and create interest in images. I love using multiple textures and layers, especially important when working with a color palette a bit on the soft/neutral side. When I say textures, I mean using tweed, crochet, embroidery details, lace, hand-knit items, smocking, ribbons and ruffles, etc. Having layers can add dimension to the overall texture of the image. These two details especially add depth and contrast in black and white images. Follow your own vision and style, also looking to what fits your subject best!    
 

Subtle props

Keep them simple, yet meaningful…something that can blend with the vibe of the session. A bunch of natural and neutral flowers that coordinate with outfits, a vintage camera, basket of apples, or a prop that is meaningful to the subject! Don’t let the prop be an odd distraction, make sure it “makes sense” being in the image and blends well with the whole vision you had in mind for the shoot.
 

Shoes matter!

Please do not wear sneakers-unless we’re talking about some funky converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break a session. A pair of hip boots or some colorful flats can tie everything together in an image.  For instance, if Mom is wearing a bright blue scarf, daughter can wear bright blue flats to complete the amazing vision! It ties everything together without looking to matchy-matchy. Believe it or not, many times, NO shoes at all look best! Don’t forget socks! You can get crazy fun with them; they are just another accessory!
 

Kids

When photographing children, especially in wide-open spaces, I tend to enjoy lose and free flowing clothing. Little ones love to jump around and play and I feel as though this type of clothing allows them to really be “themselves” in a session. A super hero cape can be fun for the boys and soft, flow-y dresses are fun for the babes!
 

Be comfortable!

Make sure the little ones are comfortable in their outfits and that they are not going to be pulling at their new clothes. We all want them happy and comfortable, it makes for the best images! (This means letting them have a small say in what they want to wear!) I promise you won’t regret this. Their personalities will shine in the images! Try to avoid having the children change into multiple outfits. Layers will be your best friend in this case. The same rules apply for all of the people in the shoot! Everyone should be comfortable and relaxed!
 

Patterns

These are always great, but in moderation! Patterns provide texture, interest and show a bit of personality as well! Please be sure that you are only allowing ONE person in the session to wear patterns. Otherwise, the image could get really busy and we want to stay away from that.
 

Location

Make sure that your outfit choices will not clash with your shoot location! It is very important to make sure that your clothing will compliment your surroundings. For example; if your session is booked at a rustic barn, it would be perfect to have your little girl in a sundress or vintage dress with a pail of wildflowers and pigtails. This same look might look weird with a graffiti wall in the background. Also consider how well the colors and patterns in the wardrobe might look against the background of your images. I tell all of my clients to stay away from green during the summer months because most likely, the background will also be green. Many times, I will select the location first and then create the wardrobe, accessorize and then find props to fit appropriately.
 

How are your images being displayed?

Think about the primary reason that you are doing the session and dress accordingly! For instance, if you’re going for a Christmas look, wear clothing that reminds you of the season. It’s more of a personal choice here, but I really enjoy clothing that never ages. You don’t want to look back on your images 5 years down the road from now and think “wow,  that outfit is so 5 years ago!”  Although I tend to stick toward neutral tones, brights are okay in some occasions. As long as the colors aren’t obnoxious and they don’t take away from the actual subject, I don’t mind a pop of brights.
 

*If you are unsure of what to wear and want the photographer’s input, please don’t ever hesitate to send photos via text or email! I am here to help you look the best you possibly can!

 

The DONTs

1) If at all possible, please avoid:

Logos
Graphics
Characters
Labels
Neons

2) If you are planning on getting haircuts, please cut ONE WEEK prior to the shoot. If you cut it any sooner, the hair may look unnatural.

3) Please refrain from making everyone wear the same color. Matching is boring and dated! Also, please no families in all khaki or jeans and white shirts.

4) Don’t wear pony tails around wrists or anything that is distracting in an image. Do not wear anything that will clash with the vibe of the session.