You've seen the fruits of Soul Dog Studios' shoots all over the Facebook page, Instagram, and here on the site. The final photos, fully retouched, the end results we've all been anticipating since booking day - ready to rock the portfolio, engage social media, and hang elegantly on clients' walls.
But what goes on behind the scenes? What's a photo really made of, and what happens during a session when conditions aren't quite (or at all) what we hoped for?
While a lot of photographers are afraid to admit this, let me be completely, unabashedly honest with you...
...Photography in the digital age often relies on Post-Processing - or simply, editing - to bring out the raw potential hiding in each image.
And while it would be glamorous and soothing to my ego to tout that all of my photos are perfect straight-out-of-camera (SOOC)...that's simply untrue. Moreover, it's disservice to potential clients and aspiring photographers alike to make that claim. Could you imagine being held to such a high standard? As client, what happens when you show up to your session only to find cloud cover dampening your hopes for the sunny, glowing photos you imagined? Or, as a photographer, when was the last time you looked through your viewfinder and saw the equivalent of the finished images your favorite professionals post online?
Probably never. And that's ok. Because in this age, the art of photography doesn't end with the camera itself - we're blessed with imaging software that helps photographers create photos that would never be possible otherwise. Like the photo of Evey above. Take a look...
Evey’s photo was taken on a dark and rainy late-afternoon hike. I had a vision in mind for the framing of the shot and knew I wanted to incorporate Aspen leaves in the foreground and background, but the less-than-ideal lighting conditions were standing in the way of the bright, vibrant picture I imagined. Sure, I could easily return to this location on a brighter day (and I still might), but I thought, why not challenge myself and see what I can realistically do with this, right here, right now?
This is so important to me because, as professional photographers know, you and your client can arrive on-location on the date of your shoot - maybe one that was scheduled months ago - only to be caught off guard by the weather. Some clients have the flexibility to reschedule or wait for conditions to improve. Most don’t. So it’s up to you to utilize your skillset to make the absolute best of the situation and deliver the kind of photo you promised your client the day they booked. Regardless of the external conditions.
This used to terrify me, but I’m learning to let it inspire me instead, and push myself to do more and better with the shooting conditions I am given (with the help of editing software, of course). And now, my clients can rest assured that whatever the world throws at us on their big day, I'm equipped to handle it and come out on the other side with impactful, inspiring images.
While the lighting conditions in Kali's photo are mostly fine, and the client may have just been happy with a slightly brightened version of the original, the photo is not completely true to my style of soft, dreamy light and backgrounds. So I brought it into post and made it that way.
I have an obligation to my clients to deliver the best experience and the best images possible. They have trusted me to capture memories of their pets that they'll look back on for a lifetime, and to meet their expectations, it's up to me to use every tool at my disposal. Not just the camera, not just the lens selection, not just reflectors and props. Editing software included. Because it's an integral part of creating the kind of art my clients booked for.
And for those clients who aren't local or don't have the time to book their own shoot right now, I pour my heart into my photo retouching service for the same reasons. As a lover of pet photography, I know there is potential for every photo, even if it seems to be hiding. With skillful use of the editing software at my disposal, I can take someone's special (but often technically lacking) photo and breathe into it life. While the two photos featured in the post are both fully my own, I work with other people’s photos every single week, helping the owner fall in love with them again. And I can help you, too! (Follow this link to the Soul Dog Studios photo retouching page).
Stay inspired! And let me know your thoughts by commenting below!