Attlee Weddings and Portraits has a reputation for hand retouching images for their clients. Hand retouching is an aspect of post production in digital imaging. Hand retouching involves the use of professional digital imaging programs such as Photoshop but instead of simply hitting buttons and automating the retouching process, Tracey Attlee actually draws and paints on the digital image with a graphic arts pen connected to her computer. That is how she can address details in wedding and portrait retouching that others would prefer to skip because its too much work.
Hand retouching means once Attlee converts the original image file from RAW to high resolution JPG she then makes whatever enhancements she thinks necessary to bring the work to its best for her client’s wedding album or picture frame. Attlee makes the enhancements by hand with her graphic arts pen so they appear natural looking and not overdone or automated.
Attached is a sample of a recent Before and After of our lovely bride and groom, Katy and Jim, whose wedding Tracey Attlee photographed in Spring Lake, NJ this September at Spring Lake Bath and Tennis Club. The finished image on the right was used in a program to support a Jersey shore charity called The Samaritan Center that specializes in counseling troubled high school aged youth.
On the left is the image as it came out of the camera. Notice how cold it looks. This is because everything in the environment reflects its colors onto people being photographed. The couple is under a canopy of leaves, green, under a blue sky. This colors the couple, their clothes and the bridge green and blue.
The finished version on the right displays corrected color cast that removes the ugly blue and green and makes the faces and gown and groom’s shirt warm and balanced with the proper colors and contrast. This is a tricky process because if too much blue and green are removed it will throw off the couple’s flesh tones. It requires an experienced artist's eye aided by the use of a calibrated monitor. With her calibrated monitors Attlee can see and measure the results of her retouching and render them correctly.
Once the colors are corrected in a picture the details are next. Notice how the leaves under the groom’s nose have also been adjusted, as well as the tree and disturbing boards in the distance behind the couple. The bride’s beautiful blue eye is squinting on the left and is reshaped on the right. The sunlight is making the groom’s fingers look too red on the left, there is a blue shadow on the bride’s wrist on the left and the groom’s face is much too dark on the left.
Now that you have seen this Before and After, which one would you rather hang in your home to show to the world? A picture straight out of the camera, left, or a picture adjusted by a professional photographer with the patience and expertise to see the details through for you?
Former White House photographer Tracey Attlee of Attlee Weddings and Portraits, Alexandria, VA, has photographed weddings in Washington, DC for 25 years in addition to her home town of Spring Lake, New Jersey and New York City. Attlee individually hand retouches every image her brides order for display in picture frames or wedding albums.