Come on, touch me baby, just not with a phone app
How much is too much?
I also will openly admit many years ago I did get seduced by the new plugins and programs that would smooth skin, whiten teeth and brighten eyes at the touch of a button. Over time I've come to realise that to create a truly timeless image, less is more.
these days I feel very strongly about keeping what i call a 'naturally enhanced' look.
I will airbrush a little but not a lot. Continue reading for my self implied rules on the subject
I'm not gonna lie, the first thing I do with a photo of myself is lighten under the eyes and remove any spots. If I'd eaten a little too much lunch that week I'm not opposed to reducing the food baby. So when editing other peoples portraits I ask myself "what would I change if this was photo of me?
The main rule is you shouldn't be able to tell if I've airbrushed you.
I was recently asked "Can you use an app to make me look good?" I refrained from replying with "no I use a very expensive camera, computer and editing tools combined with my knowledge and over 10 years experience" and just replied with yes.
With the technologies that are available to everyone today, I feel the true skill with editing is actually knowing where it's required and when enough is enough!
I'm working backwards here but even more importantly is how you capture the photograph in the first place. Believe it or not i am old enough to say i started photography with a film camera.
This ingrained a practice to shoot the final image with that initial press of the button, making sure the exposure is correct, analysing the quality of light to judge how flattering it is, selecting the correct lens and anticipating the best expression.
All of these thing reduce the need to correct the image afterwards. To quote Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment
"Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera."
Most photographers do shoot in a raw format which retains the highest quality file possible, but initially it will look dull and boring. This does need to be developed into the photographers signature colours and style and this is where the magic happens. I aim to enhance what I have already captured in camera, creating true to life colours that are fresh, vibrant but natural. Of course sometimes there's the odd moody look but this WILL NOT be a filter, it will be because a thunder cloud came over and the sky turned dark.
I hope this explains my approach to editing and airbrushing, i'm not expecting to stop people using the horrendous 'plastic' filters available on phones and such like, I can only stand by my beliefs and if you feel the same fantastic. Hopefully you can see from the before and after images how naturally I airbrush but if you have any questions drop me line or comment.