Even the most seasoned photographers “tweak” their images in Photoshop or the like. A nice edit can make a dramatic change to your photos and even bring you more business. But on the flip side a badly edited image can have your clients running for the hills. We have all seen those badly edited photos that make you cringe but when editing - how much is too much?
And, when you are being paid by a client do you edit as you see fit or seek permission from your subject first?
As a photographer you will be asked for all sorts of editing requests from the dreaded selective colour to removal of things from double chins, back fat on strapless dresses to braces on teeth. But what if there is no request from the client. Do you edit to your hearts content and remove everything YOU consider a flaw or imperfection or do you wait for the client to request it?
Editing is also a personal taste. What you think is an amazing edit might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
In my opinion (and this is my opinion) I say ask the client if they would like any edits to their images. I usually ask at the consultation stage prior to even picking my camera up. “Do you have any areas of concern or areas you would like me to try and hide?”
This is enough to open up the lines of communication and by photographing their “good side” might just save you precious editing time.
By all means adjust lighting and small distractions such as a wrinkle on a shirt but don’t do too much in adjusting the appearance of a person.
Also remember at the end of the day yes they may be paying you for the images and have a right to ask but you also have to be happy with your work. You are running a business and don’t want badly edited photos reflecting on your overall portfolio of work.
When I edit I work through a flow of; removing small blemishes, fly away hairs and correct lighting etc. Everything else gets negotiated with the client.
Always ask as the client may love that long black hair on their chin and you may offend by removing it without them asking.
Have a think about the type of photographer you want to be and factor this into your editing.