What Award Winning Wedding Photographers do?

McFade approach to Wedding Photography

The McFade approach to wedding photography in 2011 was to create classic shots with off camera flash adding that extra bit of magic, leaving minimal processing in Photoshop. Actively been trying to avoid things that would look dated – there are enough “filters” out there which are in fashion for a few years, then look as current as a Ford Cortina Mark 2.

Wedding Photography Course

Just seen some info on a wedding photography course being run by a multi-award winning wedding photographer, so decided to take a look at their work to see what they’ve been up to.

The “Heavily Processed” Look

So on looking at the course outline and the work on this guys site, I was firstly impressed, you can see why he’s got awards, and secondly, surprised at how “processed” they looked.

The shots with skies lo0ked like they were tone mapped using HDR software, the colours very saturated indeed and a very distinctive, photoshopped look.

Nothing wrong at all – just surprised.


Re-Creating the Wedding Photography Look in a Photoshop Filter

One of the shots was from a venue I’d shot in 2011, so I got to work in Photoshop and created a filter set to re-create that look. Then applied it to several shots to see how well it worked.

In a nutshell, the filter extracts detail, warms things up, increases saturation a little and gives thing a slightly soft feel.

Here’s a shot


Bridesmaids and Mum

So for starters, here’s a lovely couple of bridesmaids and their mum in North Yorkshire

For this shot I used 2 off camera flashes and a 2 stop ND grad filter to retain detail in the sky – so lots going on for a wedding photographer, but I do this all the time anyway, so it’s kinda second nature…

So put the shot through the “new filter”, and here’s what happened…

So more colour generally, more detail in the clouds and a slightly more “heavily processed” look. I guess the use of flash and filters on the original gives it a heavily worked look to begin with.


The guys enjoying a pint


So next onto the boys before the wedding in Harrogate – colourful enough scene, beers in hand and got them all looking away from the camera.

So through the filter it goes, and we see the same scene, more colour, brighter dark areas, slightly softer edges…. worked well really.

Black and White Bride

So lets try a black and white – lots of clouds on this one and lots of detail in Claire’s dress.

Here’s the result below

It’s certainly pulled details out in the sky, but also on the skin – which ain’t bad if you’re pretty toned I guess, but really you’re after something softer… so maybe the filter’s better for shots where the bride/groom are small in the photo?


Kiss in a Tree Lined Avenue

So here’s a shot in a beautiful covered pathway, dappled light in the trees, a brolly lighting the couple front right, and a bare speedlite behind then creating the glow on Jo’s dress. A shot we’d planned weeks before and which turned out just as we wanted.

Put it through the filter and you’re certainly getting more light and detail in the greenery, but the lighting, and great couple of course!, are what make this photo – and the filter just adds a bit of “warmth” to it.


So do you go natural, or go processed?

I guess if you’re winning several awards a year producing heavily processed work, the industry is recognising the processed look.

I do wonder what people in 50 years will think of the look though – maybe get the same reaction as those 1970’s brown kipper ties 😉


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