Congratulations! Your wedding photography career is finally starting to take off and you just finished shooting your first solo wedding.
While you may have already had quite a few second shooting gigs, acting as the lead photographer brings a whole new element to the table.
Along with added responsibility and independence, shooting lead means that you’ll have the distinguished honor of editing all of the wedding day photos.
While this may seem like a daunting task, editing your own photos allows you to incorporate your unique style and vision to create a work of art.
Still, you may have a few reservations about diving head-first into the world of editing without first doing a little research – that’s why we’ve compiled the very best tips to show you exactly how to edit wedding photos.
Editing in Lightroom
We’re starting our list with a straightforward piece of advice that every photographer would swear by. Lightroom is easily the most popular and user-friendly software that you can use to edit wedding photos.
No matter what type of tools you’re looking for or the effects you’re planning to create, Lightroom has got you covered.
There’s no other editing software that is as beloved by hobbyists and seasoned photographers alike, making this tool the obvious choice for quality edits.
When editing photos, there is a wide variety of adjustments you’ll need to make to bring those images to life, so it’s extremely important to start with a good foundation.
That being said, let’s move on to some of the most important things to look out for when editing in Lightroom.
Contrast can either be your worst enemy or best friend, so it’s going to be critical to find the balance when making your edits.
It’s the meticulous process of bringing out the shadows and lights in all the right places that will help you to paint a picture-perfect story of romance for your lovestruck clients.
Contrast correcting refers to balancing the differences of tones in an image, a skillful art that even the best photographers can struggle with during the editing process.
Don’t be afraid to adjust the sliders within Lightroom accordingly until the image is completely balanced.
While this process may be somewhat tedious, trust us when we say that it will be worth it in the long run.
Plenty of time and practice spent perfecting the contrast will help you to create an image that your clients will hang in their homes for years to come.
Filtering Out Noise
Let’s be real, sometimes even the most gorgeous wedding venues end up having less-than-desirable lighting.
In these cases, it can add unwanted noise to your photos that needs to be filtered out during the editing process.
This noise can often be shown as a “fuzzy” image covered in bits of white, causing the picture to appear unclear. Noise is most likely to be observed in photos taken at night or in unusually dim lighting conditions.
Luckily for you, a few minutes of editing can easily adjust the image to block out any noise present in the raw wedding photos.
Once this is fixed, you’re one step closer to having a finished product that your couples will love.
While cropping photos may seem simple, this is one of the most essential wedding photography editing tips that we can give.
Creating a truly breathtaking image starts with great composition, which means that the focal point of your photo has to be perfect.
With large weddings, in particular, you may have to navigate around dozens of people wandering into and out of frame during your portrait session.
While this is an unfortunate scenario, you will inevitably end up with a couple of incredible photos that just happen to have an extra arm or leg creeping into the frame.
For this reason, it’s important to keep a keen eye on your images when editing so that you can catch these issues before sending the full gallery out.
Utilizing the crop tool can help you to direct the focus to your subjects, creating a clean, finished image that captures the beauty of their special day.
You will want to get into the cloning tool once you start editing your dramatic close-up shots.
In these photos, it is more likely that you will come across blemishes, stray hairs, or any other unwanted marks that your clients may not want to show up in the finished product.
Be sure to talk this over with your couples before the shoot, as some may have significant birthmarks or scars that they consider a part of their identity.
If you’ve got the green light from your clients, we definitely recommend using this tool to correct any undesired imperfections in the raw image.
The general method of using the cloning tool is that you will be able to completely cover these imperfections without taking away from the realism of the photo.
When used properly, this tool can flawlessly correct any distractions, leaving a picture-perfect image that will blow your clients away.
Dodge & Burn
Another tool that works perfectly when editing close-up photographs, dodge and burn is a trick of the trade that you will definitely want to get comfortable with.
Utilizing this method will help you to create a portrait series that your clients can’t get enough of.
When taking more intimate photos with a couple, it’s normal to close in on their faces in an attempt to capture the passion that they feel for one another.
Unfortunately, this makes it easier to notice small imperfections, blemishes or smeared makeup that viewers wouldn’t notice from afar.
Using dodge and burn allows you to minimize pores, soften markings, and smooth out minor issues without negatively affecting the overall composition of the photo.
Start practicing with this tool today, and come wedding season, you’ll be editing close-ups like a pro.
This is another trick to help new wedding photographers handle those pesky lighting issues.
The dehazing tool acts like a magic wand of sorts, allowing you to balance the lighting in a particular shot seamlessly without overcomplicating the process.
You can adjust the level of haze in a photo by adjusting the slider to your desired setting. This allows you to have complete control of the finished product, giving you the power to deliver an image that fits your unique style and preferences.
Don’t be afraid to move the dehazing slider around, as it may take some practice for you to get a feel for what looks right to you.
Once you find that sweet spot, you can begin developing your own signature images that will draw in even more clients to be a part of your artistic vision.
Whether you’ve been taking wedding pictures for five, ten, or twenty years, you’re bound to end up with a few blurred images on your memory card.
It happens to the best of us, which means that there’s got to be a tried and true method for resolving this issue via editing.
Adjusting the sharpness of the image in Lightroom will help you to eliminate most – if not all – of the blurred space in a raw file. Clarity and detail will reveal themselves, as if by magic, as you locate the perfect sharpness setting for each photograph.
This tip is especially useful when editing action shots or photos that include small children.
No need to stress over moving subjects in the future, because this tip will help you to capture all of those vibrant, dynamic moments with the greatest of ease.
Blurring the Background
Just as important as unblurring images is knowing when and how to blur a photo in order to create a desirable effect.
The most common use of intentional blurring is related to decreasing the clarity of the background in order to draw attention to the focus of your photo.
While you certainly won’t be expected to blur out the background of every photo, this method can be used periodically to create a sense of drama and develop a clear composition.
When the background of the raw file doesn’t quite fit with your aesthetic, use blur to guide your eyes to your focal point and remove distractions.
This small editing choice can take a decently shot photograph and turn it into a timeless image that couples will want to pass down to their grandchildren.
Trust us, you’ll definitely want to take some time practicing this tool to provide your couples with a photo album that truly honors their love story.
Best of Bokeh
In the world of wedding photography editing tips, a little blur can go a long way in turning a raw image into a vibrant masterpiece.
Rounding out our group of blur-related editing suggestions is bokeh, a tried and true method for adding yet another layer of depth and emotion to your wedding photos.
Bokeh is another way for you to block out any background distractions and shift the focus to your intended subjects. Generally, this will be the lovely couple, but feel free to utilize this method when editing bridal party sessions or family portraits as well.
While adding a bokeh effect doesn’t necessarily mean that your original background was unsightly, it does allow you to account for unwanted figures or surprise photo-bombing during each shoot.
As a bonafide professional, you now have the power to create a clean, classic backdrop for each photo in the wedding gallery.
Black & White
In order to add a timeless touch to your final photo delivery, don’t be afraid to try out the monochromatic – or black and white – setting in Lightroom. You will be surprised at how quickly your clients fall head over heels in love with this classy editing trick.
While we love dynamic coloring just as much as the next photographer, there’s something to be said about the elegance of a black-and-white image.
These types of photos tend to remind us of a simpler time and create a sense of tasteful nostalgia.
When you edit out the vibrant coloring of a raw image, there’s nothing left but pure, unadulterated emotion between the photo subjects.
Sparks will fly when your couples get a glimpse of their black-and-white pictures, causing a passionate and swooning response that they may not have felt otherwise.
Perfecting Your Presets
One of the best wedding photography editing tips we can give is that it’s never too early to start building your library of presets.
Whether you’re purchasing from others or developing your own, presets can be a lifesaver that will take your editing game to the next level.
Editing an entire wedding gallery can be incredibly tedious and time-consuming work, which means that you should take any opportunity you can to make the process more efficient.
Starting with preset settings can cut out a large portion of the job, allowing you to quickly finish the photos off with a few final touches.
The most difficult part of using presets is finding the one that fits your style or the overall theme of the wedding.
If you’re willing to put in the work to find a few presets that align with your image, editing the remaining details will be an absolute breeze.