White Wash

As an amateur photographer, I understand the appeal of playing with the RAW settings on your digital images and increasing the brightness/exposure to the point where the whites are really white, bright, and dazzling. In fact, if you whites aren’t as white as Joe Biden’s teeth, most people feel you’re doing your photography wrong. But what I refuse to tolerate is wedding photography where brown skin is white washed into oblivion.

Prune Prune Prune

I’m Mexican-American, my skin is brown. I like it, enjoy it, and like that even in the dead of winter, I’m not pale. Well, that’s not true. I do become pale – just my version of pale which is a light milk chocolate. Not only do I enjoy my skin, I’m pretty proud of it and what it represents: my ancestry, my family, and where I come from. I enjoy the history of it.

But God help the wedding photographer who does to me and my lovely fiancee what they did to that couple I linked above.

The guy is Asian, his fiancee is white. By increasing the white wash factor, the woman of the couple fades into Casper land and the Asian guy skin tone ends up matching his future wife’s. The distinct individualities of the people in the couple disappear and they become merely some gelatinous blob of over exposed ridiculousness. In fact, her facial features seem to vanish into the background and where she starts and ends isn’t distinct. The photographer might have been trying to be artistic or trying to symbolically show that the couple is now “one flesh” but, come on, this is an unflattering and ugly way to do it. Or it’s possible that the young woman, who admits to being photographed, preferred the photographer to render her in a fantasy/un-realistic way but, ugh. This is not an appealing way to photograph someone.

I realize that at the more wedding photography I look at, my standards and wants are getting stricter. I’m starting to realize how big of a team I’d like, the equipment I’d want them to use, and the style I’d like them to use. I want a photographer who, when I look at their pictures, I can learn from them. I know I’m not that good but, from my first glance at wedding photographers in my area, maybe I’m expecting too much. We’ll see.

5 thoughts on “White Wash”

  1. I’m trying not to be catty, but I don’t appreciate your post. Yes, as a “Weddingbee” I’m putting my wedding planning out there for others to comment on, and I have a think enough skin to handle that. However, the Weddingbee site is a venue for idea sharing, not snarky comments.

    Photography, like any art form, is subjective, and many us prefer the high contrast approach to our photos, thanks so much.

  2. I understand what Wedding Bee is trying to be. I also understand what it isn’t. Surprisingly enough, this isn’t Wedding Bee.

    Your definition of snark is not quite correct. I’m being critical, not snarky. If all I wanted to do was waste my day snarking, I’d be hanging out on The Knot way more.

    And what you call High Contrast photography, I’d call white wash. It’s like HDR photographs that look more like watercolor paintings by 3rd rate impressionists rather than actual photos. Photography is subjective but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad.

  3. “High contrast approach” just reminds me that a whole generation has been ruined by Myspace-style photography. Sure it’s a great for easy blemish cover up technique for a kid with a cheap webcam and a pirated copy of Photoshop and yes, high contrast can be a cool aesthetic style for someone who knows what they’re doing and/or in relation to the subject material, but it’s hardly an “approach” for everything all the time. We’re talking about wedding photos here, not a opening at a gallery.

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