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Sue Bryce’s Philosophy on Photo Editing: Keep it Simple

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
featured, photo & video

 To get more demos, how-tos, and master classes from photographers like Sue Bryce, check out Photo Week 2015, the world’s largest online photography conference. 

sue bryce photo editing

Photo: Sue Bryce

With the multitude of photo editing tools available to today’s photographers, it’s pretty easy to fall down a rabbit hole of healing and cloning — but unless you’re a professional retoucher, spending a ton of time on post-production is probably not your best idea. In fact, says master portrait photographer Sue Bryce, investing too much time in photo editing can cost you money.

During her CreativeLive Photo Week demo of Alien Skin‘s Photoshop plug-ins (which she swears by), Sue explained that she follows the “two-minute rule.”

“The whole point is speed,” said Sue, who explained that, even though there are a ton of customizations possible, having just a few go-to defaults, which often come right along with the software, is just more economical for your business.

“There’s a lot of fancy words and a lot of fancy techniques, but if I can press one button, I can make money.”

If you want super-advanced retouching, says Sue, hiring someone to do the work — like Pratik Naik, whose entire business is high-end photo retouching — is worth both the cost and the time it will save you. Award-winning wedding photographer Susan Stripling agrees.

“I found that if I outsourced [post-production] of four to five weddings per year, I would get back a month of my time,” she noted.

sue bryce photo editing

Sue Bryce at work.

Economical photo editing is especially important, Sue explained, not only because it’s necessary for the finished photos you’re trying to sell to clients, but also as a marketing strategy. Even candid and behind-the-scenes photos look better and are more on-brand for your photography business when they’ve been run quickly through a photo editing software like Alien Skin.

“I try to post as many photographs as I can, but I just don’t go out and spam out a shoot. I’ll post 1-3 images from a shoot, plus a behind-the-scenes, plus a video. I want to show and deconstruct the process of what I do behind-the-scenes,” says Sue, but adds that “when I share edited photos from behind-the-scenes, people go crazy for them.”

Quick photo editing can have its drawbacks, though; if you’re using stock defaults or filters, your photos run the risk of looking too similar to the work of others. The best solution? Spend a small amount of time with each photo, get to know the software and how to customize it, and, above all else, “use your imagination,” says Sue.

 To get more demos, how-tos, and master classes from photographers like Sue Bryce, check out Photo Week 2015, the world’s largest online photography conference. 

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.