Written by Mark Mendoza on May 17, 2021
A professional photography shoot is a two-step process: The photoshoot phase and the post-production phase. Not very long ago, that second phase meant spending hours mixing chemicals inside a dark room. Today, it means sitting behind a computer running Capture One Pro and Adobe Photoshop. But regardless of the era, in order to deliver high-quality images, photographers need a fundamental understanding of how to clean up photos by adjusting color, contrast, saturation, and sharpness, to name a few.
But if you’re looking for a photographer that can save you time and money in the long term, you’ll want to consider finding someone with a more proficient set of post-production skills. This next level of photoshop is where you’ll start to experience the added value of real problem solving that can ultimately save you a lot of headaches.
What Problems Can Advanced Photo Editing Solve?
There are countless issues that can arise before, during, or after your photoshoot that can be resolved more quickly and cost-effectively with a more advanced style of photo editing.
Here are three examples I’ve experienced recently:
The key here is to make sure the person you hire has extensive experience with high-level photo editing so they can produce seamless-looking images. And of equal importance, this kind of experience also helps a photographer understand the limitations of post-production editing – ensuring that your images never look photoshopped.
Let’s take a deeper look at the three examples above.
Perkins and Anctil, a law firm in Westford, MA, reached out to me about a year ago looking to get some on-site headshots and some group photos of all their Principal Attorneys. Typically, in a situation like this, the most challenging part of the process from the client’s perspecitve is schedule coordination – trying to get everyone to show up on the same day, all scheduled in back-to-back 15 minute increments. Not an easy task. The shoot was ultimately a success and the client was happy. But a year later, I received a call from the firm. They had two new hires, and one of the Principal Attorneys had left. The group shot I had done was now outdated.
I knew that simply photoshopping the Principal out of this particular shot would never look quite right. However, if I was to setup the camera and lighting to match the original, arrange the background in the same way as last time, and if the new attorney agreed to sit in place of the person who left, I could edit her into the existing group shot seamlessly.
This solution saved the client from the hassle of re-coordinating everyone’s schedules while also saving them the extra time and money it would take to reshoot the whole group.
This is another situation where advanced photoshop can help make my clients’ lives easier. Oftentimes, a prototype will be ready before the artwork, either on the packaging or on the product itself. Developing marketing materials can be a lengthy process, so in a situation like this, it is really helpful for clients to be able to shoot their product before the artwork is finalized.
This is where enhanced post-production photo editing can really make a difference. Having the ability to photoshop the artwork in later, after the photoshoot, allows my clients to start the marketing process sooner.
There are several photo editing tricks an experienced photographer can use to help show off a product’s many different features without having to shoot the product multiple times in every one of its phases.
For example, I once did a product shoot for a light-up speaker where the client wanted to highlight all of the different color options available. Rather than shooting the product in every color, I shot the speaker once and later photoshopped each color in during post-production. Another time I shot a product with a rotating arm. I shot the arm in various stages of rotation, then ghosted the multiple shots to show motion. Both of these techniques saved my clients from having to do multiple staged shots of the speaker in every color.
If you’d like to learn more about the post-production stage of photography, read more here, or contact me any time.