After a physically and mentally exhausting day photographing a wedding, the first thing that you want to do I relax a bit and recharge. Taking a bit if time to get yourself back to neutral is fine, but don’t get to comfortable. The work that comes after the wedding can be just as demanding as the wedding itself. As a wedding photographer, you’ll have to come to terms with post processing. It’s incredibly important and adds the final touch to your (hopefully) already amazing wedding photos.
Depending on how you shot weddings, you coule end up processing anywhere from 200 to 2000 images. Don’t panic. Processing your wedding images is a matter of tackling one task at a time. Here’s a work flow that can help you get better control over post processing images in bulk.
What exactly is post processing?
Let me be perfectly clear here. Processing your images is done to enhance your images. It’s not meant to correct mistakes that you were too lazy to avoid when you were shooting. You should be striving to get everything right in-camera as much as possible. A good wedding photographer is a consistent wedding photographer. Getting things right in-camera and being consistent will make your processing life so much easier!
Post Production Workflow
Let’s go over the basic workflow that most beginning wedding photographers tend to follow. Over time, you’ll tweak this to better suit your style and needs but this is a great foundation to grow from.
Step one is transferring all of your images from your memory card to your computer. I would do this as soon as I get home from shooting the wedding. The last thing you want is to wake up the next morning and find out that a memory card got corrupted and your images are gone.
To take things a step further, I would also invest in some form of off-site storage. Off-site storage can come in the form of cloud storage or just backing up your data to a location outside of your home. Hard drives do crash so you want to make sure you have backups in the event of a hardware crash. Disasters also happen in the form of fires, floods, etc. The last thing you want to do is deal with one of those disasters AND have to tell a bride and groom that all of their wedding images were lost in that disaster. The moral of the story is backup your stuff. If you want to be extra safe, backup your backups as well!
You’ll want to establish a file structure that works best for you. I would suggest creating a folder for the year and then breaking each subfolder down by the name of the bride and groom along with the date. So, if their last name is Johnson and you shot the wedding on August 24 of this year, the subfolder would be names Johnson_08242107. This way, you can make sure that your folder names are all unique.
In your client subfolders, you’ll want to create one folder for your RAW files, another for processed images and other folders for low res jpegs, web exports, etc.
Sorting out the best images and feature images
The sorting process can be made easier using applications like Adobe Lightroom. In Lightroom you can give photos a rating of between 1 and 5 stars (5 being the best and 1 being the one’s that don’t stand a chance). You can also mark photos with a rejected mark if they are obvious goners. Images where exposure is way off, badly out of focus, and such qualify for those. Go through all of the images and rate them appropriately. Once you’ve rated all of the images from the shoot, you can sort them by their score.
Process the ones with the highest score and present those to your clients for proofing. If you have a set amount you’ll need to provide to your client, you’ll need to do some math to make sure that you have enough images to meet the requirement.
Renaming the files
Renaming the final files are easy. Keep your current naming convention while just adding a number that increases sequentially.
This is where being a consistent photographer really pays off for your post processing. If you are shooting in an area when the lighting values don’t change, your exposure values should stay the same. This means you can process one image, perform any necessary color corrections, and apply those changes to all the photos taken in that setting.
Both Lightroom and Photoshop have batch processing capabilities. I suggest learning those processes and and add them to your workflow. This will save you an enormous amount of time.
Copyright information should be added to the metadata of your images. This can also be done in Lightroom and Photoshop and can be done by a batch process. You’ll definitely want to add copyright info to every image because you can use that information to make sure your images aren’t being used without your knowledge. There are applications that you can use to search for instances of your metadata across the internet to make sure nothing is out there that you aren’t aware of.
Submitting the Images to Your Clients
Once you are done with the post processing, you can upload your images to a gallery that can be viewed by your clients. There are many options out there so do some browsing and go with the photo gallery that best suits your needs.
Hopefully this helps you on your way to establishing your own workflow that makes your processing life easier. If you like what you’ve read here, please subscribe and share via the social media links. You can also find MTM Photography on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so be sure to check out those pages! If you have any photography questions that need to be answered, feel free to ask me on any of those platforms! I’ll see ya next week!