I just sat down with my 3rd cup of tea and thought I'd take another look at the wedding pictures I took on Saturday.
I realized then, that I have a process. It's not really something that I thought about much - it's just the way I do things. I thought it would be fun to jot it down -
- The first thing I do when I download the pictures onto my computer is do a quick run thru the photos. During this quick run, I, without hesitation, delete all out of focus and closed eye shots. Pfft. Gone. Just like that. I don't even think twice about them
- The second thing I do is back them up. Always. I currently have Amanda's wedding in three places. My computer, my external harddrive, and they are still on the photo cards. I won't delete them, ever, from the photo cards until they are in at least two places - often three. The third being the delivery version. This keeps me sane.
- Now, the next thing I do may sound funny - but for some reason it's what works for me. I ignore the pictures for at least one day, sometimes two. This was by no means a conscious thing - but I've noticed more and more that it's what I do - I must need that time distance to be able to look at them clearly and objectively again.
- Now, this morning I'm going thru and my first thought is, 'oh...I really do like these' I had that thought when I briefed them quickly Saturday night, so it was a pleasant experience to have that thought again. LOL I needed, however, that two days in between to get that again. I have quirks - let there be no doubt.
- Now begins this side of the work process. First - I create a new folder within the wedding pictures folder. This folder is where I move all my favorites. So where there might be 6 shots of the extended family - there might 2 that are my absolute favorites. Everyone is looking - the light is right, etc. These 2 go in that folder. Again - I'm pretty decisive on what I like and don't like. I'm not deleting anything else at this point - just ranking.
- So now I have a folder of my favorites. I create another folder within this folder - this is for the photos that are complete and ready to deliver. Again, some instantly get dropped in this folder, they need no tweaking whatsoever, but there are many that won't be moved yet
- After that step - I begin playing. Tiny color fixes, converting some to black and white, cropping some closer, making sure some are good for 8 x 10 printing, anything that needs to be done gets done. This part takes several days - sometimes more. Total hours is more than the shoot itself. Always.
- As I complete groups of pictures - I continue to back up onto my external. This has become second nature and helps me sleep better at night
- After I have everything from the favorites folder moved over to the completed folder, I take one more glance thru the original set to see if there are anymore there that I missed, that should be added to the final set. There really aren't often many left in this folder - mostly duplicates.
- When I'm certain that the final folder has every image possible, I go thru and rename them. Wedding1 Wedding2 Wedding3 that type of thing.
- Then - I often share for a review or last second critique or constructive criticism (I love contructive criticism...so much to learn!) before really finalizing. This step doesn't always yield much, but gives me more confidence and another set of eyes. It does happen that I miss something entirely - a fix or perhaps not turning a pic to b/w that might really be good
- Then, when I'm really done, I copy to a CD and deliver
I'd love to hear what my other photographer readers do the same or different.