Black, white and sepia all over

I took this crummy capture of a very sweet, unplanned intimate moment after a best friend’s wedding (when all the guests had already tucked into their cars to head off to the reception and all but a few people lingered behind). It was December 2015 and I was still treating my DSLR camera like it was an iPhone, snapping shots on auto caring only about composition.

When I saw the photo the next day, I knew it would never be shared — because who wants to put their name on a photo that out of focus, poorly composed, with artificial uplighting, my camera’s flash, people milling about behind them. And those colors. The bride and groom never knew about the photo — they were too busy making out — so no one was the wiser.

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Original photo taken at a best friend’s wedding when I walked in on a sweet moment between him and his new bride.

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Histogram of my photo at a best friend’s wedding.

Post-production wouldn’t help much, either, as the histogram information showed that all of my values were flush to the left — very dark and not that much data otherwise. Friends who shoot in raw and who use fancy things like LightRoom and PhotoShop used the moment as an opportunity to encourage me to always shoot in raw.

But then a little over a year later, in a photo workshop, when the instructor suggested making our “color mistake” photos black and white, I knew exactly which image to try first. I cropped, warmified, sharpened and then made the photo sepia (the image wasn’t sharp enough to pull off the black and white). I was now able to share this with the bride and groom who responded with joy and then by making out again.

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Corrected photo. Cropped, sharpened, increased contrast, warmified and with a sepia filter.

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