Digital Editing

Five stages in the life of a digital image

Digital Editing Example - original image

Sometimes the original image is a compromise - the photographer mustn't over expose the dress or detail will be lost. There are other things about the original image which also need to be looked at:

  • The dress looks washed out
  • The faces are too dark
  • The roses are too bright
  • The composition can be improved
  • The image is not vertical
All of these things can be improved with some digital editing - in just the same way as they would have been improved in the dark room in the days of negatives and prints.

Stage One - Crop to size

Digital Editing Example - Stage One
The first thing to do was to crop the image. The couple wanted square prints in the album so this was cropped to 1:1. This removed the stone step at the bottom of the original images that detracted from the garden feel.

Stage two - Straighten the image

Digital Editing Example - Stage two

We don't straighten every image - some picture benefit from not being square in the frame. In this case the vertical lines created by the frame supporting the roses emphasised the list in the original image.

So a small amount of rotation solved the problem.

Stage three - Lighten the Image

Digital Editing Example - stage three
After stage two it was obvious that the image was too dark. So the exposure was adjusted to make the whole image brighter.
A little noise reduction was added at this point to make the image look smoother. 

The changes in exposure made the top half of the image much lighter but the faces were still too dark. 

However, the bottom half of the image now looked too light - the dress was over exposed and lost any sense of detail. 

Stage Four - balance the lighting from top to bottom

Digital Editing Example - Stage Four

The solution required the use of two filters. A gradient filter was used to make the picture darker at the bottom than the top. A circular filter was then used to add some specific lightening to the faces.

This gave a more even look to the lighting, bringing out the details in the dress and lifting the faces to make them a focal point.

Stage Five - adding a little drama

Digital Editing Example - Stage five

The final touch for this image was to use a vignette that appears to darken the corners and edges of the picture. This helps to focus the viewer's attention on the bride & groom.