To someone who is not a photographer, this may seem like a strange request. Everyone loves those Instagram filters. Everyone except photographers, that is. Since this blog is for client education, as well as sharing sessions, let me explain to you why this breaks my heart a little when it happens. And I am one of the lucky ones actually. It's only happened to me twice, but still, it was a little disheartening.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about professional photography is that you show up, press a button and your job is basically done. But that just isn't so. This misconception is something that can really be it's own post, but it does apply here too.
First of all, if you're a good photographer, you're prepping before the session. Creating shot lists, sending client questionnaires (so you can get to know them better), discussing wardrobe choices and assisting with styling them, and choosing the best location to fit their vision. This is before you have even picked up a camera.
Then you have the hour or sometimes 2+ hour session with the client.
What's next? The most time consuming part of the process. The editing process. You can be a really good photographer, but if you can't edit your photos properly and make them pop, or tell a story, then your gallery will likely fall flat with your clients.
I take a lot of pride in my editing! I am constantly taking courses to refine my craft and learn new techniques for my clients. Beyond that, I have developed a professional style with my editing that is consistent, so my clients know what to expect. I edit with lots of contrast, bold colors and a film look. Some photographers edit "Light & Airy", some are more "Dark and Moody". All of this takes a lot of time to achieve in post processing. I also do complimentary retouching for my clients as part of the package (removing a blemish, smoothing a bump, or fixing a stray hair) Each image is thoughtfully hand-edited.
This takes hours and days and sometimes weeks for larger galleries. Even when I think I'm done with a gallery, I step away from it for one day, so I can come back with fresh eyes and see if I still am ready to deliver it to my clients. Client satisfaction is of the utmost importance to me. It's not a process that can or should be rushed.
So now, I have delivered the gallery, the client says they love them, and we all move on happy with the experience. That is, until I happen to see my client (or one of their family members) post one of my pictures, with an Instagram filter on it. And my heart breaks a little, because of the hours I spent editing that one single image. Listen, those filters are fun for your random photos with your kids, I use them on my personal page sometimes, but they really have no place in professional photography. Often, they wash out the skin tones I labored over, or they add mattes, where there previously wasn't one. I've yet to see one and thought "Hey that looks good." I always cringe.
I didn't understand this until I was a photographer. It's not something you may think of, so that's why I'm here to say "Please don't do it!" If you have done this to me, I'm not mad at you, promise. If you have done this to another photographer, I am sure they are over it by now too. But before you alter your photographers final images in any way (and that includes cropping), please remember a few things:
1. Your photographer has spent HOURS carefully editing (by hand) your photos using a pro software, not a social media filter.
2. Your photographer most likely has also created a brand around their editing style, and when you alter images and share them publicly, you are misrepresenting the photographer's brand to other potential clients.
3. If you are unhappy with the style of editing, or if you have a specific style in mind, you need to discuss this with your photographer prior to the session. But one look at their portfolio should tell you if they are the right photographer for you. If you're not sure... ask.
4. If you need a consistent look for your IG's business branding, please discuss it with your photographer at the time of the booking. It will just make the whole process go smoother for everyone and most will be able to accommodate you.
I hope this has brought a little insight into what may seem like a harmless social media practice.