Wedding Photography Workflow
I’m back with yet another question.
I’ve read you edit ALL the images you shoot at a wedding in less than a week. I was just wondering how you manage to get that done, considering the fact that for 1000-1200 photos, after the selection, you end up with at least 800 to be edited.
I mean, that would mean 114 photos/day. For me, it takes about 5 minutes to properly touch-up a photo. On 114 photos that would mean about 9 and a half hours per day. That would be quite fatiguing in the wedding season when assignments stack-up.
Therefore, I was wondering how much time you spend (in minutes/photo or hours/day) on your editing process. And, if I’m not too daring, how you manage to get past the monotony of such a repetitive process and where you find motivation on a busy season.
The satisfaction of a job very well done and couple’s excitement when they receive the photos could stand as a reward in itself, but sometimes, after seeing the same faces over and over again during the editing process, I find myself “motivationally tired” and in need of inspiration to “reinvent” the editing technique.
The last thing any wedding photographer would like to hear from is that the photos are dull. I mean, I edit the photos, but not ALL of them. Once selected, I manually edit the best half and create a basic curves/auto colour batch process for the rest.
I’ve never had any complaints until now, they’ve been very satisfied.
Yet, sometimes I feel I’m not giving my best. Any motivational advice, guru Nick? 🙂
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Haha! Guru Nick…I like that although I hardly think I am a guru!
Before I start, you must check out a Photoshop plug in called Photoshop Autoloader…it will literally shave hours off your wedding photography editing workload…check it out. I use it all the time and have done for years.
Anyway, to cover your points. I think the most weddings I did in a 5 week period was 12 and that meant a lot of work. Some were small but some were huge 250 people affairs….motivation can be tough. I even had to send my family to another country once to get the work done!!!
To start with, I have learned to be ruthless with my images and now try to get the final batch of “givers” to around 400 (colour and B & W = 800) but I still keep the rest as back up. Any more is pointless and unnecessary (to me) as a few couples have pointed out to me in the past. They have actually complained of too much choice!
When in the middle of the wedding season, I immerse myself into it and have been known to start work at 5.30am and finish at midnight. I blitz each wedding as quickly as possible knowing that the money earned means I can have a good rest at the end of it.
I do work on every image to its best potential but bear in mind that there are quite a few that are done right at the time of shooting so they need little help in the way of manipulation. I do still crop, straighten, remove rubbish, stains etc to clean those images up though but this is quick work.
To get over the repetitive nature of the work, I wear headphones and listen to good music. For one it helps pass the time but also it helps me to mentally create a book or slideshow in my mind for that particular wedding as I work. At the end I have the finished product in my mind as I know the images so well, I know what goes well and where…make sense?
If you create good slideshows and sample albums/books, the brides and families normally drool and spend a lot more on after sales (I just had a single order for 2,000)…that is also something to get motivated about.
I have mixed feelings about batch processing. I find it strange that some pros talk about (when actually taking the photos) to make sure you meticulously get it right and do a manual exposure, get the white balance right, check the histogram etc, for each and every image, and then they recommend batch processing the lot, unraveling all that initial hard work.
I see each image as a separate image meaning I treat it differently to all the others but that is just me…maybe I am stooopid but it is how I work ; )
If what you are doing works…stick with it, as they say “If it ain’t broke…”
Sometimes the monotony gets too much I must admit and I threaten to give it all up so I switch the PC off, get up, go out and take some pics for fun or spend time with the kids. I think if you are incredibly busy you have to get into “wedding mode” and just put up with it…its the nature of the beast.
Weddings are stressful, tiring and since the invent of digital, the photographer has doubled (or more) his workload…but I must admit, when I turn up to a wedding at the start of the day…I love it. Not knowing what shots you will get and the buzz of it all comes flooding back!
Lastly, as for feeling that you are not giving your best, I feel that way too sometimes. Because Photoshop and other software such as slideshow makers or album templates give you so much creative freedom, it is easy to think you are missing something.
The couple don’t know this though, and as long as they are happy, you should be happy that you have done a good job.
I hope this helps and doesn’t confuse you!
All the best,
P.s. I sometimes spend less that a minute on a photo if shot correctly or (like yesterday) 2 hours on just two photos. The Bride cut short our formals and missed a couple of shots so I had to remove some people from the images I had taken…what a pain but it kept them happy and they may order more prints. The hardest part was re-creating the background…I must be mad!