Now obviously there’s horses for courses but I can’t imagine giving over the images that I’ve sweated to create (and yes, if you’ve ever been at a newborn session with me, there can quite literally be sweat involved – it’s not a glamorous fact but there you go). The fact of the matter is that what happens in the studio is a very important part of the process – obviously – but it is only part of the process. What happens in my editing suite is what creates your finished image gallery at its finest.
Particularly in the case of newborn photos, there’s always an amount of clean up work to be done. There’s softening flaky skin, toning down purple fingers and toes (new babies are always like that, they’re not cold in my studio!). Then there’s also literal clean up work. If you take a nappy off a baby, there’s always a good chance that accidents will happen and if they do happen mid shot as it were, and it’s not bothering your baby, I usually just carry on taking the shot and clean them up afterwards. The blanket goes into the laundry pile and the shot gets cleaned up digitally. I guess you could trust this basic kind of work to a skilled editor with a good brief if you were of a mind to. In fact I get about ten emails a day offering this service at very reasonable rates.
It’s the handover of creative control that would bother me though. Every baby / family is different and I want my photography to suit them exactly. The crop and the colour balance are part of the process. Also there’s all those little quirky bits that you wouldn’t know about unless you were at the session and taking the pictures. You could easily discount or delete a shot not realising that it captures a baby’s trademark pout or funny little habit.
It’s not that I can’t see some advantage to an arrangement like that. I use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom like most professional photographers. These operate on a monthly subscription service so there’s obviously a financial cost to having them. Then there’s the actual time it takes to edit. Then on top of that, you invest in cool actions and ancillary bits and bobs to add to them, top of the range monitor and tablet and training to keep up with all the cool new features these incredibly powerful software tools have to offer. So I guess I could shave that off my work day and my budget. Still though, I kind of love the edit process. It’s a key part of the creative process for me. And not to geek out but Photoshop is awesome.
The edit is my digital signature and it’s what makes your pictures of a finished quality that I’d be happy with. Call me a control freak and you’d probably be near the mark. It’s also what makes them truly and especially yours. I wouldn’t give that up for anything!