AI Editing Lets This Wedding Photographer Focus on What’s Important

Capturing vibrant Indian and Southeast Asian weddings is no small feat, but Charmi Peña has managed to strike the perfect balance between a rewarding wedding photography career and a family life filled with memories.

Full disclosure: This story is brought to you by Imagen.

In the 16 years Peña, from New Jersey, has built her career in the photography industry, she has also earned other titles: Nikon Ambassador, leading educator, activist, mother and wife. All of this has harmoniously contributed to shaping who she is today.

As Peña puts it in her own words, she is “obsessed with feelings” and flaunts it in her vast, award-winning portfolio of Indian and South Asian weddings. Peña’s photography features bold colors and poses, as well as delicate and intimate moments between people – soft touches exchanged between the couple and powerful emotions on the faces of family and friends.

“The weddings that I photograph, there are very, very happy times and very, very sad times, so you really cover the emotional range that humans are capable of,” she said. PetaPixel. “It’s funny.”

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“I like to observe, I’m an observer of people,” continues Peña. “Weddings in Southeast Asia give me all of that – I can observe a lot of chaos, which I love because my brain is chaotic. And add to that a lot of feelings. I love that.”

But, with high-energy weddings that can last four days each, this comes at a cost: they can be exhausting and taxing both physically and mentally. Peña used to film 30 four-day weddings a year, but made a conscious decision to slow down and reduce her wedding coverage to around 12-14 bookings a year.

“You work for hours and hours,” she explains. “Even though I insist on a break because I’m human, they’re still very tiring. It’s a lot to stay emotionally engaged when your body tells you it’s over. It’s a challenge.”

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Last year, she photographed 27 Indian weddings in 22 weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic which led to many rescheduled bookings, forcing her to fit two years of work into a single year.

“I was so overworked,” recalls Peña. “It was really stressful for me, it was too much. It’s not the life I want to live.

Not only that, for the first time Peña had spent every summer weekend with her children while the lockdowns were in effect. It made her realize that her children were getting older and that she didn’t want to miss making memories with them before they became adults.

“I’ve decided that the summers are ours now. Not to me, to all of us, this family,” she said. “I also lost my grandmother during Covid and all of that made me realize that while I love my career goals and being ambitious, and doing all the things I want to do, there’s also this whole life, these relationships and these memories that I want to Make. You have one life and there is more to it than work.

AI editing app that learns your style

At some point during that time, Peña feels she must have complained a lot about her workload because an Instagram ad for the artificial intelligence (AI) editing app Imagen appeared. She wasn’t convinced the software would help her, but decided to give it a shot anyway.

The standalone editing app works with Adobe Lightroom Classic and uses AI to learn the photographer’s editing style based on already post-processed photos, then applies the edits to new catalogs accordingly.

As part of the Imagen profile setup, users can choose to use an out-of-the-box Talent AI profile, based on an already established photographer’s editing style, or create their own personal profile. To create a unique personal profile, photographers must upload at least 5,000 edited photos to train the software.

indian wedding This helps the AI ​​learn how the photographer edits in different scenarios and allows it to deliver edits in line with the photographer’s current editing style, unlike presets which apply global adjustments regardless of how the scene is lit or what is in the frame.

Peña spent 16 years refining his distinct editing style and so immediately settled on a custom profile. With so many weddings in her portfolio, it was not difficult to upload the required number of photos.

“The first wedding came back 20 minutes after I sent it and my second shooter and I watched it and our minds were blown,” she recalled. “And it will only get better.”

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Imagen has a fine-tuning feature which can be used after completing each gallery to teach the software the adjustments made and follow the photographer’s editing style which may change and grow organically throughout their career.

Save time for the things that matter

“Once I started using it, it gave me all that time back in my life. I was already outsourcing some of my weddings to an editor, but even that editor couldn’t be in my brain” , explains Pena.

“It took three weeks to get the catalog and then I ended up changing a lot again because I wanted what I had in mind, then Imagen made software that has my brain,” she adds.

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“The timing couldn’t be crazier because what I wanted was this lifestyle where I am everything that I am, including the photographer that I am but not exclusively a photographer. I want time to be a mom, a wife, a woman, an activist, I do a lot and I want to be able to do all these other things. I take care of my parents.”

Since Peña introduced Imagen into her photography workflow, she has been spreading the word among her friends in the industry, including Susan Stripling who has since joined Imagen as a foundation of one of the Talent AI profiles that she has. other photographers can download and use.

Likewise, after one of Peña’s talks at the International Wedding and Portrait Photography Show (WPPI), Imagen approached her and asked if she wanted to be part of the talent as well, which Peña agreed to. Now other photographers can use its editing style, “Cinematic Luxury”, as a starting point for their post-processing workflow.

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“If using my talent can help people move forward and live their lives better, that’s good,” says Peña.

Although some photographers may feel vulnerable exposing the public to part of their creative process, Peña believes his unique identity as a photographer is strong with or without editing.

“Your voice is in the picture,” she explains. “Your voice is in your selection when you do the showdown. During editing, you train your voice and it can be repeated. I can edit a photo and someone can edit the rest and they will match, and that doesn’t bother me. takes anything away as a photographer.

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“As much as editing is part of my voice, it’s a more defined and less variable part of my voice. Giving it away doesn’t change anything because I’m still the one who has to chase a feeling, I’m still the one who decides to composition, I’m always the one who looks at a set of ten images and chooses the ‘one’.”

Throughout her career, Peña has developed skills in lighting and composition to ensure that the photos are what she needs later. Peña’s confidence in her ability to capture the right moments the right way has also helped her feel comfortable cutting down on hours spent manually editing and outsourcing them to Imagen.

“I have no arrears,” says Peña. “My Saturday wedding is already done. I don’t care about deadlines. I’m very paranoid about the cards and don’t erase them until I send the wedding. Now I really don’t have to worry about it because it’s downloaded long before I shoot another wedding.

Take steps towards a balanced yet rewarding business

In addition to reducing the number of marriages and freeing her weeks from the hours and days spent in front of a montage on screen, Peña also introduced more corporate and studio motherhood work as part of her services.

“I can do more than a wedding doing business stuff on a Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and I can come home and be with my kids,” she explains. “It may not be my passion project work, but it’s definitely a lifestyle passion and the studio is right at home.”

“Diversification has helped me live the life I want to live and it’s more important than just being passionate about what I film all the time,” she adds. “We are so lucky, we already love our jobs. But, you don’t have to be passionately centenarian all the time.

Recent workload changes have also ensured that Peña avoids burnout and repetition as a creative. Instead, with the time she has regained in her life after using Imagen and doing fewer weddings, Peña can go to each new wedding from a healthy place – ready to be creative, full of energy and capable. to do the best job possible, knowing that she will be there for her family after the job is done.

Other works by Peña are available on his website and on Instagram.


This story is brought to you by Imagen. Try Imagen today and get 1,000 AI-powered edits for free, then just $0.05 per photo after that. See all options on Imagen-AI.com.


Picture credits: Pictures of Charmi Pena.

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