How Molly Edits

I sometimes have people ask me what my editing process entails.  I sometimes have people ask me what “color-corrected” means.  I sometimes have people wonder why it takes 4 weeks to get an edited wedding back to them.  I sometimes have people think that we are shoot and burn photogs.

Therefore, I wil show you how I edit using a photo of a friend that I shot recently for her baby bump session.  This wasn’t my fav shot or anything, but it shows the process pretty well.



This shot is unedited, SOOC (straight out of camera).  I was shooting with the 70-200 L 2.8.  f:2.8 @ 1/320 sec on an iso of 320.


I edit the photos in adobe bridge first. For this one, I just bumped up the warm tones (I’m feeling warm tones at this time of year)  and bumped up the blacks a teeny tiny bit. I also did a lens vignette with the amount set to -10 (which I rarely do, but it worked for this image)  .  THIS is what I call a color corrected photo.



Next, I play my action in photoshop.  I call Molly’s Mix or Purdificator.  This is way too much (I don’t like neon grass) .    My action has several layers and groups. In one group called extras is the vibrance, exposure and two curves (one for dodging and one for burning).  Each layer has its own mask in case I only want to dodge one section with a paint brush. I always edit that group.

The next group is the section that takes care of the skin. It has a curves layer for the midtones and a blur layer for the skin set to VERY low opacity (11%). I hardly ever mess with that group.

The next group is the sharpening section that counteracts the skin blur.  It has an unsharp mask and a slight high pass.  This group has a mask so that I can erase it on the skin and the skin will look smooth.

Then I have an action that flattens and saves to a particular folder on my hard drive.


SOOO.. This image has been color corrected, and an action has been run, BUT it has not been fully edited. This is too vibrant.


Then, I reduce the vibrance, dodge, selectively expose, and burn where I feel like there needs to be a slight change.  Then I erase the sharpening group on the skin.  I don’t mess with anything else.  At this point, I flatten all the layers. If I need to do any work on skin, this is when I do that. I didn’t have to do anything to this lovely lady.


So, this is the finished image that the client receives!


If I know I want to use an image for the blog or for a special print, I will run another action I mad called “Together”  .  Together has two color fill layers (one pink and one orange). It also has some custom levels layers and a warmth layer.  I set the opacity low and paint the orange color fill layer on “soft light” to highlight the sun coming through the trees.


This is the one I would blog…




Do I do this on every image? No.. For weddings, I color correct them and use a finishing action. Which is like purdificator, but with a few different layers and opacity dropped. I do that by editing in raw in bridge and then running the action in image processing. So sometimes I run the action on 400 images at a time.

I do this process to most images in a portrait session and the portraits of the bride and groom .

Does Cristina edit like you?  No.. she has her own process, but she uses purdificator too.

Sooo.  Edited Vs. Original.. below… …. Thoughts?