There are many things that make a good wedding portrait. Lighting, posing, background, just to name a few. Don’t let anyone fool you, they are all important, but lighting is the most critical. Light is what allows us to take a picture in the first place. It is a necessary ingredient to every photograph no matter the subject. So when I am ready to take pictures of the bride and/or groom, first I look at light. When I find good light, I stop looking. Sometimes, the background is less than ideal, but since light trumps all other components, I will usually try to make it work, knowing that it might add a little work in post production. For me, that’s okay. I’m not one of those photographers who takes thirty photos of the same thing. I take 2 or 3, then choose the best picture, and work on that single image. At Pabst Photo, we are in the mindset that we are creating art, not just taking pictures. This mentality really frees us from the banal work. In all honesty, do your clients really want 30 almost identical pictures? No, I don’t think so.
The image below is just such a case. The lighting was good, but the background left much to be desired as the church was under construction or something. Bummer. Doesn’t matter. It took me less than 2 minutes to fix the background (video below). Now, it’s a great picture. I’d also like to point out, the retouching is often associated with celebrities and magazines and ‘going too far.’ This post is not about retouching people, but there are purists out there who don’t think any retouching should be done. What do you think?
Below are a couple additional images taken in the same location. They are examples of different ways to deal with the background. I don’t want to take every image into Photoshop, so all I did was darken the background and let the subject pop. If I can do the work in Lightroom I will. I used the brush at -3 f-stops to darken the tape line and voila. We really want our subject to pop-out from the background anyway. We are not looking at this picture to admire the wood working details.