Photo Processing and Editing
I have many customers ask about processing and editing. This page is to answer some of those questions. This is not a tutorial or guaranteed process. This is only a brief overview of the usual workflow. Every photo session is different, so this changes for many reasons including customer requests.
Step One: Transferring Photos
At the end of an event/session, we upload the images from all camera cards used to a computer ASAP. This folder of all taken images then gets duplicated in an alternative location (usually another computer or back up drives).
Step Two: Sorting
Photos get sorted into sub-folders. Examples of these folders for a wedding would be: getting ready, formals, ceremony, details decor, reception and so on. For some smaller events and sessions, we do not use sub-folders.
Step Three: Culling
Culling basically means sorting out the unneeded or bad photos. This is a very important step for the customer to understand because from photographer to photographer it can be handled differently. The difference can mean lost important shots forever and inability to choose what you want. On the other hand, if the photographer does not cull enough you can feel your time is wasted going through a lot of mediocre or duplicate photos.
The process we use is one of the most time-consuming in the industry but gives the customer the most quality photos possible.
Being a husband and wife team, from beginning to end, allows us a major advantage to customers in the culling process. We sit down and cull the photos together. This means those meaningful moments, joking or personal moments (that may look unneeded or too silly), or out-of-context moments, get two perspectives and opinions. Most importantly, the moments are not lost by a photographer or average person sorting them who was not there taking them to understand the meaning behind those images. Larger editing and retoucher companies, that many other photographers pay to cull them, may not understand what happened the day of the wedding to know if something should be kept or not.
What we do remove:
The worst duplicates - Often during formals or group shots we take many of the same photos. The most basic reason for this is people blinking or looking. While we can fix blinking in the editing process, it is a lot less time-consuming to have a photo without people blinking.
Photos including unintended objects - No matter how hard we try, once in awhile you will get some body parts, cameras, cell phones, backs of heads, bugs and so on, entering your photos.
Blinking - It happens. And some people seem to blink more often than others.
Bad facial expressions - We will often keep funny ones but if they have no value at all they don't make it. This also includes accidentally getting someone eating. Cake cutting and eating photos make it through though.
Test exposures - We have lots of reasons for taking test shots. While these may provide us with critical information, I can guarantee you they are hardly anything you want on your wall.
Bad poses - Not every pose works for every couple, and sometimes those that don't, will not make the cut. This also goes for something accidentally revealed (like a button-down shirt opening at certain angles)
These are some of the more common reasons. We can often fix some of these problems in editing and often do if the photo has enough value otherwise.
Step Four: Basic Editing
We now will load the photos into Lightroom. I will go through some examples of basic editing below to hopefully provide a better understanding. Not all photos need editing. Editing is not always the sign of a bad photo. It is often an enhancement of a good photo, that did not have certain attributes available on location.
Cropping and/or alignment
Black and white and/or Sepia tone
Step Five: Lightroom Presets
Lightroom presets can be used to enhance photos. We make all our presets and sell them worldwide on Etsy. Here are some examples of a few presets I use and sell for others to also use.
Step Six: Advanced Editing
Advanced editing is often by request or if I see something that looks good as composite art. Not all are included in the price of a regular photo session or package. If you see something you would like let me know. Depending on the photo and project advanced edits can be simple to very time-consuming. In certain situations, some of these may not be possible or financially prudent. Possible additional charges may apply depending on the request.
Color pop outs
Remove or add a person and/or object
Adding something like a dinosaur, sparklers, or skies
Removal of objects in backgrounds
Double exposure art
Major body alterations
Unusual injury removal (like a black eye)
Step Seven: Upload to USB
Once all processing and editing are done, the images are placed on USB and backed up our external drives.
Step Eight: Shipping
We always contact the customer at this point to verify the best current mailing address before mailing out the USB. Even if we had your address on file or on a contract, we still ask because so many couples move and/or change their name.