After a full day’s shoot at a wedding, Simone can have as many as five thousand images to sort through and edit. So how does she create her striking wedding photographs? We asked Simone to talk us through her processes and share the secrets of her success…
First of all, I must say there’s endless ways we can edit photographs but I’m going to talk you through the workflow that, personally, works best for me. I’ll also guide you through the process for some of the more special images where a little more editing is involved.
So, let’s start. The very first step for me is to load them into Lightroom 6. Personally, I don’t use Adobes Cloud, and as Affinity Photo doesn’t currently offer a rating system, Lightroom 6 is my go-to program. I then work through each and every picture and rate it firstly with one star then review a further two times until I have my favourite images that really catch my eye and that tells the story of the couples wedding day best. For some of the more ‘special’ images, I would rate them with a colour so that I know later on which ones I’ll transfer to Affinity Photo and edit. Using colour coding, I would also select which ones will make it into the wedding slide show, on the blog and potentially into the wedding book too.
The next step is to decide an overall look for the images both in colour and black and white. I decide this entirely individually for each wedding due to different locations and lighting situations. To keep all these adjustments, I usually save a new preset in colour for every wedding—the black and white one is usually the same and gets a light tweak to contrast, highlight or shadow depending on the lighting at the wedding. The colour adjustments are usually with highlights, shadows, curves and split toning to define skin tone. I tend to put a light beige tone in either the highlights and/or shadows. These adjustments will be saved as a specific preset for the wedding so that I can use it for all the other images too.
Once that task is complete I go through each and every image to adjust the exposure or framing if needed and do some final adjustments—for example using the Brush Tool to set some highlights within the image.
If an image needs some more attention, for example a double exposure or anything a bit more artistic, I combine Lightroom with Affinity Photo. I do this by opening the relevant image directly from Lightroom and import into Affinity Photo. I then create the image I already had in mind while photographing the couple.
With the below image, I decided to do a double exposure look combining the couples kiss photo and the palm leaves that happened to be everywhere on their wedding day. I did this by opening up the two images (the couple and the palm leaves which I photographed separately) in Affinity Photo and created a new white square image.
After that I used the Selection Brush Tool and created a Layer Mask to make the couple stand out. The leaves were then added, and I set the Blend Mode and adjusted the capacity until I was happy with the result.
The last step was to create a new adjustment layer and by adjusting the contrast and saturation make the effect ‘pop’. I would then save the image and I would always recommend accepting the request to include the ‘layers’ in the file. If you work with TIFF files, you can go directly back into Lightroom and have the result from Affinity there. I would again apply my wedding preset and do some final tweaks until I was satisfied with the result.
The above is what I do with every image that needs a bit more attention. Also, I really like the integrated Frequency Separation filter in Affinity Photo for removing things other than just pimples if the skin on the couple needs a bit work. This can also be applied to removing unwanted objects like plugs or advertisements, or anything else that distracts my eye. I also edit in Affinity Photo if I want to combine images together. For example, we did a quick session with the stars at night on the beach, but my favourite image was when the couple was walking back so I used that particular posed photo and composed them into the starry night setting we had captured a couple of minutes before.