Thursday, December 2, 2010

Regarding Wedding Photos, From An Editor's PoV

I have recently acquired an unpaid internship editing wedding photos, to fulfill a graduation requirement. I have found that I rather enjoy the work, the people who work there, and even the building's quiet location, which is so near to both a peaceful lake and the insanity that is deep downtown Orlando.

The passing-thought purpose of wedding photos is to record the event that is supposedly the happiest day of your life. The cynical corollary is that the event is so expensive you'd better be able to re-enjoy it for many, many days afterwards. The purpose of editing wedding photos, as far as the bride is concerned, is to make her special day look as pretty as possible. As far as editors are concerned, the purpose is to generate money. For photographers, the purpose is to allow them to pay less attention to things like white balance, lighting, exposure, and crooked shots. An idealist would say this allows photographers to focus their attention on getting the most romantic and memorable shots. A cynic would say it's so the photographers can be lazy.

I contend that the true job of an editor is to make the bride, the groom, and the whole event appear, in recorded form, the same way the couple should be remembering it for the rest of their lives - a beautiful and holy beginning. More importantly, an editor tries to make the bride and groom appear, in recorded form, the same way they actually see each other in real life. So we take out the imperfections and the rough edges. We add a little glow. We make the sun shine brighter. My favorite weddings to edit are the ones where the groom cries because he's so happy. It feels like finding a four-leaf clover. At that point, it doesn't matter what the cynics have to say, or how expensive the wedding was, or why the photographers take photos or why the editors edit, because what matters is not the purpose of the photos - it is the purpose of the wedding.

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