There is a lot of lingo here in photo land and one of the most confusing parts of the process for many clients is what exactly happens to the images from the moment it is taken to the time you see it.
After a shoot, your raw, unedited, untouched images are downloaded (and backed up! I will get on my soap box about this one!) They are edited down to only the best images. Each and every one of those selected images are then taken into professional editing software and adjusted for overall exposure, color, contrast, saturation, highlights, shadows… Blah blah blah, its all mombo jumbo that means I make it look beautiful! This is by far the most time consuming part of the process. At this point your raw image has become a proof! Yay! If included in your package, these are the images you will get on a CD or have little 4×6 proof prints made from. These images will remain in the standard crop ratio that all professional digital cameras create images (2×3)
So you get your proofs, you love them and say, “Jenna I love this one image so much I want it as a 16×24!”
I will then take that image and process it further to become a Final Print. A final print means there are more adjustments made, but to specific areas, such as removing blemishes, slimming down body parts, smoothing out skin, removing distracting elements in the background, etc. If necessary, it will also be cropped to the proper crop ratio and sent to print.
See examples below of the evolution of a raw image to a proof to a final print.
Black & White vs. Color?
As I go through the process of creating your proofs I will process some in black and white. The reasoning behind this varies from image to image. Sometimes it’s because the color simply doesn’t add any interest to the overall image. Sometimes there are colors being cast onto the subject due to a brightly colored wall nearby. Sometimes the image has a really strong emotional component and I just want to clear away all the elements and distill it down to focus my viewer on the emotion. Basically there is always a good reason as to why I make an image black and white. Some people might ask to see it in color but I can promise you, It was made to be black and white for a reason and it will look better that way.