Bit of light hearted banter with an usher was exchanged upon leaving Botleys Mansion, a Surrey wedding venue this evening and it was to do with an industry tool pretty much all photographers now use; Adobe Photoshop. There were a few creatives present at this wedding and I’d had another conversation earlier during the day with a guest who’d bemoaned the learning curve presented by Photoshop. “Try to think of it as a digital darkroom,” I’d said. “Simplify it. In films days there was no liquify control to lessen the effects of say, over eating. No clone tool to mask the odd stray pimple. Use the basics, dodge, burn, add some filmic grain by all means, but don’t think you have to retouch everything until it becomes plastic. Life is real. Present it that way. Enhance a sky, maybe. Vignette for drama, maybe. But keep it simple.” I digress. Back to the usher. There was a suggestion that the next stage is quick, that my job was pretty much complete. Actually the next stage involves several steps. First I sort the images from the day, retouch a few (in Photoshop), in fact I’m doing that right now. I’m at my computer screen, and they’ll be dancing at the wedding still. It’s 11.15pm. I’ll lay a guide process across a handful of others, section by section, then tomorrow, I’ll sit down with Nat, my pictures editor, and go over the photographs again. Different day, different thought process, a further sort. Over the next week we’ll both revisit the images at different times and in different intensity, for different reasons. Course later, there will be an album design and for my documentary books, research and addition of text. I didn’t discuss this with my new found creative friend, but I did think driving home that many guests probably see my rear numberplate as a job completed. Far. From. It. For those in the industry nodding in agreement to the next sentence, and those entering, I think that digital has allowed us to become prolific shooters for sure. But for those hiring, it’s worth remembering one important thing when considering why you commission a professional. It’s not for their knowledge of Photoshop. It’s not for the albums, or packages or the excessive amount of files they can store on a camera card. It’s for knowing how a wedding ticks. For second guessing what will happen next. For understanding the human psyche and emotional charge that surfaces along the way at specific moments and in particular places. It’s for knowing that you should over expose against a back lit scene or perhaps drag a shutter to create movement in a dance sequence. It’s for understanding that some grooms will react to what’s about to happen in exactly the way above. For knowing when that moment will arrive. For appreciating how emotionally connected some humans are at particular junctures of the day. Photoshop is a part of it. But so is humanity. Quick note on the above. I could see the groom, Adam, becoming increasingly thoughtful with around a minute to go before the music would play for the bridal procession. I had an instinct his anticipation would vent somehow, so stuck with the story and let it develop.
SURREY WEDDING VENUE: Botleys Mansion near Chertsey
SHOOTING DATA: Canon 5DMk3, 24-70mm at 35mm, F2.8, 1/400, ISO 1250, over by a stop.