Ever wondered what kind of work your photographer will put into your photos after the wedding? What happens before you see your photos? How much time does it really take to edit them? What kind of editing does your photographer do before you see them? What is taking so long?! She shot on a digital camera. They should be ready the next day! Well, this post is an answer to your questions!
Here is a quick run-down of my not-so-quick process starting the night of your wedding.
I drive my assistant home and I drive myself home without drinking coffee (because if I do I’ll never get to sleep). I lug all of my equipment out of the car, into the house, and up the stairs to my office. If I have a wedding the next day I’ll spend the next couple of hours downloading your photos, formatting memory cards, and charging batteries so that I’m all ready for the next day. Then, I promptly pass the heck out.
One Day After
If I don’t have another wedding the day after yours, I’ll spend the next morning downloading all of your photos from the many memory cards my team and I filled. This starts first thing in the morning when I’ve just gotten out of bed. It usually takes a couple hours because these files are darn big, so I get the import started and spend the downtime doing laundry, drinking tea, and answering emails. And maybe I check Facebook once or twice.
Once the files have downloaded I organize your photos into the appropriate categories such as hair and makeup, the ceremony, photos of the family, photos of the wedding party, and of course, photos of the two of you. Finally I backup all of your photos onto an external hard drive. (Within a day my computer does a second automatic back up to a second external hard drive. Better safe than sorry!)
10 Days After
In the week following the wedding I do my best to get the bulk of the editing completed.
First I do a run through all of your photos and remove any blurry or poorly exposed ones, and any in which you’re blinking or making unintentionally (and unattractively) funny faces. This can take a full 8 to 10 hours. I look at every one of your photos, flag the ones I love, and removing the ones no one will.
Because I have other tasks to attend to during a regular working day I can’t complete this process in one sitting. (And if I tried I’d be stiff for days.) It usually takes me a full 3 to 4 days to finish this initial edit.
With all of your photos sorted, I do some basic editing. This includes fixing exposure and applying colour filters and vignettes, for example. To do this, I choose one of my favourite photos. Usually it is my favourite photo of the two of you. I adjust the exposure, apply a subtle vignette, and finally apply colour filters which compliment the season and style of your wedding. I use this photo as a sample for the rest of the wedding, applying the same colour filters so all of your photos compliment one another. This, believe it or not, is probably the quickest part of the process, because modern photo editing software makes it so easy.
Next I go through all of your photos again making sure each photo is properly exposed and coloured. This is painfully boring so you’ll usually find me rocking out to music while I do it.
Then another backup.
Hopefully, I’ll have time to post a preview from your wedding to the blog that week. I’ll export my favourite photos from the wedding and draft and post your preview to social media.
Finally, I’ll export low-resolution copies of your photos and upload to your online proofing gallery. This is when you get that oh so exciting email saying your photos are ready for viewing!
30 Days After
In the month following the wedding you’ll be able to view your proofs and you, your family, and friends will be able to order prints, albums, cards, and such.
This is also when I go through all of your photos again and make special adjustments to exposure and cropping.
When you’ve had a chance to look at your photos and request your edits I get to work on the nitty gritty. I’ll airbrush, fix your hair, and shave off those 10lbs the camera added on your favourite photos. If there are lots of edits, this can take a long time. I can easily spend 30 minutes to an hour straight editing one single photo. Generally, though, you won’t ask for too many edits. Because honestly, you looked stunning on your wedding day.
It takes me a couple of hours to export your photos and install them on your USB, then package it. Computers are still imperfect. I spend the time I’m waiting for your photos to export answering more emails and checking Facebook.
In all, your digital files take about 6 weeks to arrive following the wedding. Prints, on the other hand. They’re another story…
Prints, Books, and Keepsakes
Once your print order is in I edit your photos and send them off to the lab for printing. If you’ve ordered an album, I’ll create an album proof and send it to you for your approval. We go back and forth over the next week or so perfecting your album and once approved I send it along to album company for printing. This is when the waiting game begins.
In the height of wedding season and just after it, print companies are absolutely overwhelmed with orders and can only move as fast as their printers will physically let them. Many of my albums are handbound in the United States, which adds more time to the process (but the results are absolutely worth it). With that in mind it can take about 8 weeks for prints to arrive after they’ve been ordered (and even longer if a lot of changes are requested for your album, for example).
Finally, I back up your photos again, and wait for the exciting news that your album and prints have shipped!
Whew! That was a lot of work. And this is all assuming everything moves smoothly. But don’t worry. I’ll keep you up-to-date every step of the way.
If you’d like to learn more about how I work and talk to me about your wedding, contact me here. I’d love to hear all about your plans!