How using different filters change the look of a photo

When a newly engaged Couple begins researching ideas and inspiration for their wedding, many of them turn to Internet– be it wedding blogs, pinterest boards, instagram – there is a plethora of inspiration images at the touch of a button. But, just how true to life are these photos? Can they be replicated in real life or will it be virtually impossible to replicate that effect on the day of the wedding?

Over the past 10 years, we have had many experiences with Brides using internet images as inspiration, most of which have been great experiences and a few that have been not-so-good. In order to shed some light on this issue, I have decided to explore it in-depth by doing a styled shoot and seeing how the results vary based on the effects that the photographer uses during  the editing phase.

Original photo directly from the camera

Edited for washed-out color effect

Edited for high greens color effect

Edited for flour colors effect

Edited for desaturated colors effect

Edited for greens color effect

As seen above, the styled shoot was of a table, dressed and decorated for two, placed outdoors in a lovely Spanish garden.  Based on the experience, here are just a few of the things that you should bear in mind at the time of using internet images as inspiration:

  1. The focus of a photograph is on a single frame; there is no “noise” from other visual aspects surrounding the frame. In real, 3-d life, we not only see what we have in front of us and what we are focusing our attention on; we also passively see many other things that are in our range of vision – both frontal and peripheral – which changes our visual perception and experience in comparison to a photograph.
  2. Each photographer has their own personal style, and will shoot according to that style. This will change how the photographer shoots, how much the photo is over- or under-exposed and how much light the photo has, etc.
  3. A photo taken directly from the camera (without any post-production or editing done on it at all) is already slightly manipulated because of the medium itself. If a photographer shoots directly in raw format or jpeg, or even both, the photos that comes straight out of the camera without doing any post-production work at all are already different from each other.
  4. Lighting varies tremendously depending on the time of year and the part of the world where the photo is taken. That is why a photo that a Bride uses as inspiration of an outdoor wedding in Napa Valley, California, will look very different than a photo of an outdoor wedding in the Mediterranean Coast of Spain – even if the photo is of exactly the same element (for example, the Bridal bouquet) with the same background (a white-washed wall) and during the same time of the year.
  5. Colors also vary tremendously depending on the editing that has been done. In certain photos, you may find flowers that are unnaturally green or washed-out. This is not due to the colors of the flowers in real life, but is due to the colors that the photographer has edited during the post-production phase. (And yes, when everyone was in a craze over succulents, those specific bouquets’ colors were not so bright – but even so, the colors of the succulents in real life were brighter than in the edited photographs).
  6. Replicating a photo in real life is virtually impossible to do. Yes, you can replicate a frame (where you are standing in the photo, for example) but in real life you will not perceive the same effect as in the inspiration images. In the post-production phase as well, a photographer can take your real wedding images and edit them so that they are visually similar to your inspiration images – however your perception on the wedding day will be different than the inspiration images.

Overall, using images from the internet as inspiration is great because you can easily compare different styles, themes, colors, etc., without putting too much work into it – can you imagine doing this 20 years ago, using magazine cut-outs, for example?!?!

However, as with everything wedding-related, it is important to have a bit of room for flexibility and for allowing your wedding providers to guide you with their expertise. If the florist, for example, states that the exact color of the peony flower in the bouquet image you are using as inspiration does not exist, see what the florist can advise to source one as similar as possible as opposed to being fixated on that exact color.

In the long run, not only will you end up with a beautiful wedding, but you will also have a wedding that is as clearly unique and exceptional as you are. And who knows? Perhaps YOUR wedding will end up inspiring many future Brides as well!!!

Many thanks to La Floreria and Cañigueral Mesas con Esencia for their contributions to this styled shoot.

Photo credits: Carolina Sainz ©

Photo taken directly from the camera

Edited for washed-out colors effect

Edited for high greens color effect

Edited for flour colors effect

Edited for desaturated colors effect

Edited for green colors effect