You’ve finished your boudoir photo shoot. What happens next? You’ll receive hundreds of proof images from your photo shoot, unedited images as they come out of the camera, bearing a “proof” watermark, like the example to the right. Once you pick the images you want for fine-scale, touch-up editing, what happens? What kind of editing takes place and what can you expect your final images to look like? We used an example image from a photo shoot we did recently with model, Ris. Below you can follow along step-by-step to see what corrections are made in touch-up editing.

After Your Boudoir Shoot: What Happens in Photoshop?
After Your Boudoir Shoot: What Happens in Photoshop?

Raw, unedited image after cropping (left) and final, edited image (right)

editWhat’s Not Considered Touch-Up Editing?

The touch-up editing tasks described above (and shown in the animation at right) are included in your boudoir photo shoot package. We’re happy to provide additional, more complex editing but charge an additional fee, depending upon the time required. This includes body shaping (such as slimming effects, breast augmentation, etc.), adding/removing features to/from the image,  and special effects, such as superimposing the subject on another background or creating reflections and other effects.

In the end, editing is an important tool that we depend upon. But tools like Photoshop are quite powerful and too much editing can leave the subject looking like a completely different person. We think that’s a mistake. Our goal isn’t to change who you are but to bring out your very best. Toward that end, we use a light hand in editing and rely more on the fundamental tools of lighting, camera angles, posing technique and creativity during the shoot. This helps minimize the need for post-production editing and helps ensure that your shoot features the real you.

After Your Boudoir Shoot: What Happens in Photoshop?

Edits Step-by-Step

  1. Crop Image: The image is cropped to eliminate excess and/or unwanted background to feature the subject and optimize the artistic impact of the image.
  2. Remove Tattoo: Tattoos, small scars and blemishes are removed from the subject.
  3. Enhance Eyebrows, Lashes, Lips: Eyebrows, lashes and lips are enhanced. The effect is typically subtle, but can help to bring out these features when makeup is light.
  4. Soften Skin: A skin softening filter is added to give skin a smooth, silky look and reduce glare. This technique, also known as “digital airbrushing,” is best applied moderately as too much skin softening can result in a plastic look.
  5. Sharpen Eyes: The eyes are sharpened and slightly brightened, which helps provide additional drama to the image.
  6. Remove Distracting Background Elements: When unwanted elements are visible in the background — whether they be studio equipment, people wandering into the frame, or in this case, a linear feature created by the edge of a sheet — they can be removed.
  7. Adjust Exposure, Color Balance: A range of lighting adjustments are made, including the overall exposure (brightness) and color balance, which compensates for the type of lighting used. In this case, the final image appears warmer (more yellow) after the adjustment compensates for the flash units used. In this step the image could also be converted to black and white. (All digital images are captured in color.)
  8. Add Vignette: A vignette, darkened border around the subject, can help add drama and emphasize the subject, helping her “pop.”

Three Editing Examples

Editing - Before & After

Note how skin softening helps de-emphasize under eye circles, forehead lines and other unevenness in the face. We love our model’s blue eyes and brightened them a bit for emphasis. Finally we lowered the exposure a bit and darkened the background to add richness to the blue headboard color and provide better contrast with the model.

After Your Boudoir Shoot: What Happens in Photoshop?

For our Aspiring Model, Vivien Louir skin softening was effective in covering bemishes which can sometimes appear more pronounced under more angular light. We sharpened and brightened her eyes for emphasis. Finally we lowered the overall exposure a bit and added a vignette to focus attention on the subject.

Editing - Before & After

For this mirror shot of our Aspiring Model, Bleuwolfe, we first needed to adjust the overall color tone, which appeared yellow-greenish due to the bright incandescent lights around the makeup mirror. To add drama, we darkened the blacks in the image while sharpening Bleuwolfe’s eyes.  We also darkened much of the background to emphasize the subject. Finally, we used skin softening to create a beautiful silkiness to Bleuwolfe’s skin.