Thursday, January 14, 2010

My workflow & post processing

I love the wedding industry.

There are countless articles on the internet about other photographers sharing their tips and knowledge, their wisdom, their mistakes, and I love how they look out for their fellow photographers in hopes that someone learns from their experiences.

But in order to succeed, one must fail first.

This applies to just about anything: Cooking, sewing, painting, walking, riding a bike, and the list is endless, but it also in particular applies to photography. It took many trials to learn how to shoot in manual. Sometimes, I go through my old work and compare it to what I have know and I cant believe that all these photos were taken with the same camera, same lens. It really goes to show that sometimes, it's not all about the latest and greatest gear, but it's about learning how to use your camera, making a connection with it, feeling comfortable with it, and learning how to express yourself with it. A big part of the learning process is connecting with your surroundings. Learn how to find the most flattering light, angles, reflectors. There is so much more to this art than just picking up a fancy camera.

With that said, it is also important to know how to preserve those treasured moments. Here is what my workflow looks like after shooting an event:

1. Go home and immediatly start uploading all the photos onto your computer.

2. The culling process. This is where you look through the thousands of photos you've just taken and decide which ones are the keepers.

3. Once the culling process is done, I backup all the files onto my external hardrive. I label the folder with the date of the event and the clients names. Then within that folder, I make seperate folders labeling those as well: Getting ready, pre-ceremony, wedding party, bride & groom, ceremony, reception, and seperate the photos accordingly. For even more protection, you can download all the photos onto a DVD and store it in a safe place.

4. Flag the images. I first flag the images that are my favorites and those are the one's that I will edit first and then blog.

5. Editing and enhancing. I normally edit all the photos to make sure exposure, contrast, and color is correct. I then sharpen as the last step and save the file. There will be images that just jump out to me and with those, I normally like to enhance them a little bit more, either converting to black and white, or adding another affect according to my style of post processing.

6. Once I'm done editing and ehancing all the photos, I batch number them in numerical order and in the order that they were shot.

7. Next comes the uploading process. I offer my clients the option of online viewing, so once all the images are done, I upload them to the online gallery for viewing and ordering.

8. Lastly, I put all the images onto a disk, which will be mailed to the client as the final product. The edited images are backed up as well onto my external hardrive for storage. I like to keep both the raw image and the edited version in case I want to do something else to the original one in the future.

It may not seem like a long process, but in reality, this process can take up to 3 or 4 weeks. Lots of time, and love, is involved :)

Next, I'd briefly like to share a little bit of my post processing. I normally don't do heavy edits to an image and slap all kinds of actions because I think it takes away from the cleanliness and simplicity of the moment, and quite frankly, the photo will look outdated over time. It's best to keep things simple and timeless, but with an edgy look to it. It really depends on your style though.

Before, Straight out of the Camera, & After

A little contrast and sharpening was done to the image. Simple but really effective.
Here's another example of me using one of my favorite actions: Pro Retouch, for retouching the skin:

Before & After

A little bit of contrast, a little exposure adjustment and skin retouching. This action alone is worth what the entire set cost!


~~JAZ~~ said...

Great post Jackie!! I love how your post-processing is so subtle yet so striking!