We have been asked on a few occasions now to share before and after photos of our work. Whilst we’re happy to share such images for anyone who’s interested, this is something that we do not do routinely.
There are a number of reasons for this and we’re aware that it is something that some photographers like to do alongside each image they post. Each photographer has their own way of doing things and there definitely is no right or wrong. For us, it isn’t something that is part of our workflow. Everyone approaches how they present their work differently. Some like to include their settings alongside their photographs, others give some background information about the shot or the context of the image for example.
The primary reason that we choose not to include before and after comparison images as standard is because on the whole, we don’t feel that they’re massively relevant to what we do. Particularly as wedding photographers. We see our role as story tellers and as folk who’ve been employed to capture emotive, beautiful images. Each photograph, as a final product, is just a small part of the overall story we’re telling. For us, our job isn’t about how much we can edit an image. We love real moments and real moments form the basis of our work. How different a photograph looks as a RAW file vs how you can make it look afterwards isn’t really the story that we wish to tell.
Of course, editing is part and parcel of digital photography. Shooting on a DSLR means that post processing is a massive part of what we do as photographers. It’s certainly the bit that takes the most time! Sometimes you shoot an image knowing that the way the camera sees a scene and the way you envision the final product are completely different. Sometimes you shoot knowing that you will dramatically alter an image in post. Under those circumstances, the “before” photo is of course relevant. A before Vs after photo is a good way to demonstrate skill as an editor as well as a photographer. But again, most of the time at least, the editing process isn’t the story we wish to tell, nor the skill we wish to demonstrate. Fundamentally we want to demonstrate our skill as photojournalists.
Sharing before and after images does however have other purposes, which we gladly acknowledge. Sometimes a before and after comparison is a great teaching exercise. A demonstration of what can be achieved. So often when you’re first starting out as a wedding photographer, you see polished images of perfection from others. As the saying goes, comparing your behind the scenes view to everyone else’s highlights reel is a surefire way to feel crappy about yourself. If you’ve acquired a following, sharing a before and after image once in a while is no doubt a virtual pat on the back for anyone struggling.
They can also be a good way to chart progress if you’re looking to improve your accuracy. Getting things right in camera is a brilliant way to cut down on editing time if your style allows for it.
Over all there are many reasons why some photographers like to share their before and after images. It’s not something we’ve ever really considered making a habit of, but we appreciate that it can be a useful learning or teaching exercise for some.
You can see our “after” images in our website portfolio here if you’d like.