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Editing VS Retouching: What’s the Difference? | Interview with Lauren Bevilacqua of Sara Zarrella Photography | Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Welcome back to the Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast. We’re so excited to bring you another episode this week, featuring Lauren Bevilacqua. Sara has known Lauren since they were in high school, so this is a super special episode for them both. Today, we’re chatting all about what happens after your wedding is over in terms of your images. Most clients don’t realize there’s a lot that happens from the moment we stop shooting until your gallery delivery. We’re diving into editing VS retouching images and the entire process of your image prep. Let’s dive in! 

Meet Lauren.

About 15 years ago, I had this itch to get into photography. I don’t know what it was but I really wanted to dive in. After trying to find work in Boston and New York, I moved back to Rhode Island and saw Sara’s ad for an editor. From there, we started working together and now, I’m a mother to two young boys who keep me busy while I continue to edit for Sara and Dan! 

Can you tell us what “editing” means?

Editing is literally sitting and processing the thousands of images that get taken at each session. I go through every image, looking for the blurry ones, funny faces, or eye winks. To be clear, I do keep some of the outtakes but I remove duplicates, the ones with weird lighting or the in between moments no one needs in their final gallery. Technically that part of the process is culling. Culling is honestly the longest part of the process. Sometimes, I can spend 8 to 10 hours a day culling weddings. I don’t think clients always understand that this part of why turnaround times can be weeks. 

Editing VS Retouching: What's the Difference? | Interview with Lauren Bevilaqua of on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Is there a difference between being an editor and being a photographer when it comes to how you look at images? 

Absolutely. They’re very different mindsets. I realized early on that I don’t have the eye to be the photographer. But I can be a very good editor. And I think it’s 100% okay that photographers outsource their editing because of that. Honestly, if they’re going to be photographing most of the time anyway, they’re going to need help with their images. There’s just no way around it. 

What’s the value of having an editor for your wedding day images? 

Like your photographers, we put our heart and souls into the work we do. We’re putting the same love into making sure your images are edited and spectacular as your photographers did while they photographed your big day. And while it can take days to import and sort through these images, we do it because we love it and want you to have images YOU love, too. 

Editing VS Retouching: What's the Difference? | Interview with Lauren Bevilaqua of on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

What does “importing images” mean?

So that’s literally the process of uploading the images from the memory cards and getting them into our programs to review, sort through, and begin to edit. With wedding days, we’re talking about thousands of images – which can sometimes be a process we have to do overnight. It’s just so many files… especially when the images are in a RAW format, which means they’re super big. The files have to load and render so we can sort through them. That’s a LOT of pixels to go through!

And you have to remember that for every photographer that you have, there’s memory cards. So I’m going through two or three cards for each wedding from both Sara and Dan. When it gets to culling the images and removing some, I have to look at all the angles captured and decide which images will tell the story the best for your final gallery. 

Editing VS Retouching: What's the Difference? | Interview with Lauren Bevilacqua of on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Over the years, we’ve seen some editing trends come and go. What’s going on now in the editing world?

Yeah, we’ve definitely seen a lot in our time! Back in the early 2000’s, the popular thing was to oversaturate your images. If you see those really rich colors, I bet they’re from that time frame. A few years later, the pendulum really swung into the light and airy editing style. Honestly, it’s gone back and forth for many years. And now, we’re getting into the moodier edits – warmer colors and tones. But for Sara and Dan’s images, we’ve always just strived for a timeless and classic look – one that will outlast the trends. We want your images to be consistent, no matter the year. 

Can you tell us about the editing process? 

Of course! There’s just so much that goes into editing. It’s not simply pulling up an image in Lightroom and saying it’s good to go. I’m checking thousands of images to make sure they look nice. I’m checking their white balance, making sure the highlights aren’t too blown out (too much light on an image) and ensuring every detail is there and showing up. After we’ve gotten through the white balance adjustments, things get much easier. 

Editing VS Retouching: What's the Difference? | Interview with Lauren Bevilaqua of on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Are there things clients (or photographers) can do to make the editing process easier?

Yes! I always tell photographers to watch their clients closely. Things like hair ties on wrists or cell phones in pockets are so hard to edit. And while it’s possible to go into Photoshop and remove them, it’s a time-consuming process. If you can be mindful during your wedding day of those little details, it really pays off in the end for everyone involved. 

So, when it comes to retouching in Photoshop… what kind of things can’t be fixed? 

I want to be super clear that there is a difference between editing and photoshopping or retouching. I handle the edits then hand the files back to Sara and Dan who do the fine tuning and retouching. In this stage, we’re taking care of things that were out of your control – maybe the exit sign in the background of your first look or the tattoo your bridesmaid doesn’t want showing. 

In our studio, every image comes with complimentary retouching. That means the final image you print is going to be as cleaned up as possible! Not all studios include it in their packages, so it’s worth asking about if you’re concerned. Take a look at our editing and retouching process using the image below!


Editing VS Retouching: What's the Difference? | Interview with Lauren Bevilaqua of on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast


Editing VS Retouching: What's the Difference? | Interview with Lauren Bevilaqua of on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast


Editing VS Retouching: What's the Difference? | Interview with Lauren Bevilaqua of on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

When should clients check in with their photographers about their images?

Honestly, if you’re still within the gallery delivery window you were promised, let your photographers (and their editors) be. We want you to be so happy with your images! That means we’re working through all of this process so your final images are exactly what you always imagined they would be. And keep in mind, in a year like 2021, photographers and editors are on overload. We’re playing catchup from the pandemic and working as fast and as hard as we can! 

Wrap- Up Question

What are some key points that couples should be asking their photographers about the process of their images and editing to make sure that they are working with a professional company to ensure that their wedding days a perfect event?

Turnaround time. Find out how long, on average, it takes to get your images back. 

Find out how they’re processing their images. Ask what editing and retouching means to them. It can mean a variety of things.

Ask to see a full gallery. I would always ask to see a full gallery so you can really see what their work looks like… because wedding days are more than just pretty portraits. 

old high school photo of Sara Zarrella and photo  editor

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Learn more about Sara Zarrella Photography: Website | Instagram | Facebook 

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