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8 Photographers, 1 Photograph

No two people can take the same photograph, and the same can be said about the way they interpret it. Editing is unique to a person's style, to the way they decide to bring a story to life.

Last fall, I conducted a small editing experiment by asking 4 photographers to edit one of my unedited Raw photos. The results were so interesting that I decided to do conduct the experiment again with a different image. This time, I reached out to 7 different, local photographers and asked them to edit the photo below as they pleased, to sum up their style in a few words and to tell me about their editing process. The image of choice? One of my favorites from 2016: an image taken in a less than ideal setting but that captured a moment of pure summertime joy.

Let's see what happened!

The original unedited RAW photo

MELANIE of Melanie Mathieu Photography

Clean, Simple & High Contrast

"Editing is one of my favourite aspects of photography. For me, it is like unwrapping a gift after each session - I can't wait to see what I captured and how to bring it to life. I don't typically like to be too heavy on the editing. I like to keep it simple to bring out the subject and to let the photo speak for itself. While I may use batch editing (applying the same effect to several photos) for some adjustments like white balance, I usually edit one image at a time because I feel like I need to see each one individually and make the judgment on how it should look. It may take longer but I can't help it! I use a lot of black and white because I feel like it simplifies and pares everything down so that you can really see emotion and the play of light.

For this image, what struck me was the movement of the water and the water droplets. I wanted to bring those out and for me it became the subject of the image. I chose to convert to black and white and added contrast so that the darks were deeper and the water droplets became even more noticeable against the black. I also like how the black and white enhanced the textures of the boys' hair and the surface of the water in the pool. I cropped the image a bit tighter to really use the lines of the railing to frame the two boys and the lines allow the eye to move around the image."

MARIE-ANNE of Painted Turtle Photography

Vintage, Emotive & Simple

"I wanted to give this image a vintage-feel with a focus on leading the eye to the almost mirror image of the two boys. I first played with the crop in order to have the viewer really focus on all of those details of summer: the wet hair, the popsicles, the water splashing, the perfect chubby hands and feet- I wanted the eye to lead from one child to the other, and I loved that you can see some of the orange suit reflected in the bar on the right. My process involves some work with the curves and tones in Lightroom, and then some sharpening and a bit of healing brush in Photoshop, to really make the hair pop and eliminate a few details that were pulling the eye away from the subject. I finished by adding some grain to give it a 70's feel, because I felt it was great for a summer picture, that might take the viewer back to these times."

JUSTINE of J.mcneely photography

Soft, Warm & Intense

"I approach editing with a 'less is more' mindset. I often like to add light where images seem flat and create a little drama. I try not to make every photo black and white. :p"