Why photo editing skills are equally or even more important than photography skills?

 RAW file from the camera

RAW file from the camera

Photography is an art and one can produce stunning photos straight out of camera. However, a skillful photo editor can elevate such photos to a completely new level. Photo editing is a huge knowledge and requires a lot of patience and time, constant studies from various disciplines, including human anatomy, color management, behavior and qualities of light, etc. To edit portraiture you literally have to be a painter, in order to blend and smooth out blemishes, unflattering skin shadows and skin tone issues. Human skin is complex and it is a theater for the game of shadows and highlights. It is virtually impossible to capture a relaxed and healthy looking image without any editing process. Now there are those who take shortcuts and do lazy editing, which results in blurry skin, loosing pore details and obliterating face features, and such editing is done by photographers who either lack the skill, or those who simply prefer to bulk edit photos and move on to another client to make more money. Those type of photographer also use presets and with one click sort out 10s of photos. This also why their photographs look all the same. Photo retouching is an art, and it is way more time consuming than actual shooting. A single portrait editing can take up from 1.5 to 4h, or more, depending on which direction I want to go with it. Is it a straight forward editing, a photoshop manipulation, a creative toning, etc. The devil is hidden in details, and when you take care of the details the rest will fall into place. I work on skin pore level, often zoomed in way past 100% of the actual image size in order to correct small issues that when fixed become apparent. Good photography is always vision-driven, and the shutter click is literally the last step in capturing a good image. No matter what gear you use, how many assistants you have, if you are not in love with light and do not understand human psychology, you will not make a good portrait photographer. Then come editing skills, and those are vastly important in combining all the elements together - the vision, the captured image, understanding of your model and the ability to feel the image. Those who think that photo retouching is unnatural should ask themselves those questions: Is art supposed to be natural or appealing? Is female make-up or hair styling natural? Were Picasso's paintings realistic? Are brand items really needed? Do you like concept cars? Should we all listen to the same music? I hear a lot of photographers say "I prefer to be out there shooting than sitting in front of the PC editing". For me editing is far more creative than taking photos, and offers a true freedom of creation. Being just a photographer sounds a bit limiting to me. I need more than that.

 final edit / model: Lena

final edit / model: Lena

Nude portrait photography made sensual and elegant to complement feminine charm

The less clothes your model wears the more difficult is to shoot a human form to make it look appealing and graceful. The most forgiving photoshoots are when the stylist goes bananas and the dress or whatever garment is overpowering the model, and she falls onto the second plan. Boudoir and nude photography are difficult for many reasons, and it goes both to capturing the image and editing it. Balancing of the body parts and their positioning with light and shadows, creating a light and ethereal but at the same time alluring scene, making sure that the background elements and the over composition of the image do not clash with the model and her pose, making sure that the skin tonality is even, capturing a natural body language of a model that will not hint to any discomfort of her being photographed nude, making sure that the model looks really sexy but not vulgar, and the list just goes on. Nude photography has many thin lines, and one has to be careful not to cross them.

I am currently looking for girls in Tokyo area for boudoir / nude / Chinese and Japanese calligraphy body art and cyber girl project photoshoot, please contact me if interested. You can see my full folio on my smugmug page.

 model: Lynn

model: Lynn