My Editing Process for Weddings

Many people think photography is such a great job. I get paid to take photos? Taking photos isn’t even a 10th of my job as a photographer. Most of my time is sitting in front of a computer editing. I know several photographers that shoot and print but I’m not one of those. I think the editing process is as important as taking pictures. 
After shooting an event I go home download and backup all my files. Then I load all those photos into a laptop so I can go through and check focus. Which means I blow up and check thousands of images, to make sure the focus is exactly on the focal point. (When I was in school one of my instructors was nicknamed the focus Nazi. He scared me for life.) 
After the focus check I do a quick run through looking for images that aren’t up to my standards, then batch process for the initial color saturation, rename the files, back up and re-upload. 
At this point I’ve put a couple days of work into the event. Once the files are all re-uploaded color and I go through correct each file. Then I organize the files and upload them oto an online gallery. At this point, I will email my clients and let them know that the gallery is up and they can start picking out their final images and share the gallery with family and friends. 
Once they have made their final selections I will double check their final images, confirm their address and mail them out a disc. 
While my process is very long I really think it’s the best way to ensure that my clients receive quality images. I know most photographers limit their editing and some only spend 4hrs max. Can’t imagine their clients being happy with the final result but….

 

 

 

 

 

Things to consider when looking for a wedding photographer….

There is a lot to consider when looking for an event photographer. Event photography is very different from other types of photography. A good event photographer should be able to shoot everything, in every lighting situation, relatively quickly.

If I were looking for a photographer to capture my once in a lifetime event I’d do my research because there are no second chances.
First, you want to hire a professional photographer who shows up on time and dresses appropriately.
You want to find out about their experience level how many years have they’ve been shooting events? Did they go to school for this? And is this their full-time job?
You want to read their yelp reviews and ask for references. Yelp is uncensored resources when it comes to reviews and any professional photographer should be able to give out a handful of past clients that will speak on their behalf.
You need to find out if they bring professional backup equipment and what steps do they take to back up their work after an event.
You want to find a photographer that will get involved in your event. Someone that will show you weddings with similar lighting situations, someone that will scout the venue before the event and someone that will help you lay out your timeline relative to light.
When looking at a photographer’s portfolio you need to consider their portfolio as a whole and look for a consistency in their style. You want to fall in love with all the images, not just a few.  In general, overly photo-shopped portfolios are red-flag.
I’ve been shooting events for years. I graduated from brooks institute of photography.  I think part of a being an event photographer is to plan for cameras to fail so that when they do fail, know body knows about it because you’re prepared with backup gear.  My motto is that I keep a back up for my back up. After an event, I back up all my files to my desktop, laptop, two external hard drives, and online gallery and a disc. I have a 5-start rating on yelp because I take care of my clients. I get involved with my events. I have a 5-start rating on yelp because I take care of my clients. I get involved with my events. Before I meet with clients I research their venue and show them images from weddings I’ve shot with similar lighting situations so they know what their wedding photos are going to look like before their event. I also go over timelines and advise clients as far as lighting.  When you look at my portfolio know that nothing has been photo-shopped. I believe part of being a professional photographer is not having to rely on Photoshop to make great photos; you should be able to do it for the most part in camera.
I recently read that the number one regret most brides have is their wedding photographer because after the cake’s been eaten, the dress has been boxed and guest have all gone home, all you have is your photos. Most brides don’t consider that when choosing their wedding photographer.

My Editing Process for Weddings

Many people think photography is such a great job. I get paid to take photos? Taking photos isn’t even a 10th of my job as a photographer. Most of my time is sitting in front of a computer editing. I know several photographers that shoot and print but I’m not one of those. I think the editing process is as important as taking pictures. 
After shooting an event I go home download and backup all my files. Then I load all those photos into a laptop so I can go through and check focus. Which means I blow up and check thousands of images, to make sure the focus is exactly on the focal point. (When I was in school one of my instructors was nicknamed the focus Nazi. He scared me for life.) 
After the focus check I do a quick run through looking for images that aren’t up to my standards, then I batch process for the initial color saturation, rename the files, back up and re-upload. 
At this point, I’ve put a couple days of work into the event. Once the files are all re-uploaded color and I go through correct each file. Then I organize the files and upload them on to the online gallery. At this point, I will email my clients and let them know that the gallery is up and they can start picking out their final images and share the gallery with family and friends. 
Once they have made their final selections I will double check their final images, confirm their address and mail them out a disc. 
While my process is very long I really think it’s the best way to ensure that my clients receive quality images. I know most photographers limit their editing and some only spend 4hrs max. Can’t imagine their clients being happy with the final result but….

Color Correcting & Calibrating

Life for photographers used to be so easy we would simply shoot film, drop it off at a lab, pick up prints and deliver them to you the client.
Now the editing process is very long and tedious but has been done correctly to give you the client quality prints.
After I get done shooting a wedding I immediately download and back up
All my files. Then I load everything on to both my desktop computer and laptop. Typically I spend a day editing down photos looking for closed eyes, checking focus getting rid of doubles. (I overshoot all my weddings). After this is done I organize the shots into categories bride getting ready, groom getting ready, first look, formals, ceremony, and reception. Then I color calibrate my professional NEC monitors so I can see all the colors correctly when I color correct. The reason I color calibrate is because I shoot my entire wedding in a raw format. Raw format is a larger file format that captures a lot more information than the standard JPEG format. Color correcting is a long process it typically takes days. The reason is when I color calibrate I have to adjust the contrast, color casts, shadows, highlights and the mid tones all independently to ensure great prints. 
After I color correct the files I back up and load them all onto an online gallery where you the client can pick out your final selections and share the photos with family and friends. 
Tips: Look for consistency in a photographers work. Have you ever seen a photographers work that seemed washed out or too dark? The reason being is usually because they’re not calibrating their equipment correctly.  Believe it or not, this one thing that I’ve never had a bride ask me but it’s one if the most important steps to loving your wedding photos. 
In addition to calibrating your monitor, you also need the lighting controlled in your workspace. If the lighting is constantly changing in the room you’re working in your going to get inconsistent results. 

The Natural Light Photographer

First off I prefer natural light to artificial light. However, if you understand lighting you can have amazing results with artificial light.
Recently there has been this flourish of “natural light photographers.” Most photographers use natural light but for the purpose of this blog we’re only going to talk about wedding photographers that only use natural light. Since I’ve been doing weddings for almost 10 years I know the idea that a photographer would claim to use only natural light sounds like a disaster after sunset especially during the winter, outdoors at night and dark venues with no ambient light.
I recently met with a bride whose sister hired a natural light photographer for her wedding and had less then amazing results. When she told me she hired a natural light photographer I just shook my head. She laughed. “I know right, I didn’t think about. What if there wasn’t any natural light?” 
As a seasoned wedding photographer, I will say I use flash at all my weddings. The only reason I’d use natural light for an entire wedding is if it was a June wedding during the day but even then I’d probably want to flash fill a little. 
Tip: If you’re planning to meet with a photographer that only uses natural light ask to see wedding he or she has shot at your venue or venues with lighting similar to yours. Also, ask to see lots of night photos.

Why Engagement Sessions and Second Photographers?

Engagement Sessions are really important. They’re not simply to have a fun photo shoot and the result being great photos. I look at engagement sessions as dress rehearsals for the big day. I get the chance to teach posing techniques, see how a couple photographs together and we get the chance to bond before the big day. I find all people that do engagement sessions have better wedding photos. When you’re planning your engagement session its important to consider what you’re going to wear very carefully. I like it when people coordinate their color pallet, dress in the same style and look like their dressed for the same event. In plain English, if you’re planning to wear royal blue, then the other person should dress in a complementary color like royal purple, red… If you going to dress in a sweater for the session then the other person shouldn’t be dressed for the beach. If you’re planning to wear sophisticated evening outfit then the other person shouldn’t be dressed to go bowling. In addition, you want to pick colors that look good on you. As a blond, I can’t wear most yellows, oranges, and purples. You also want to stay away from clothing that reads anything including branding and logos.

Another thing to consider when planning your wedding is a second photographer. Personally, if I were getting married I’d want 3-4 photographers covering my event. Additional photographers provide additional angles of multiple events and overall more coverage. One of my favorite examples is when the brides walking down the aisle, when you have second photographers you get both the front view and the back view. The front shows the brides nervous, overjoyed face and the back shows all the guests looking at her. Another great reason to have to photographers is the getting ready portion of the day. While I’m with the bride the second photographer can be with the groom. You get a lot more when you decide to go with additional photographers.

Color Calibration:

Have you ever gotten back a photograph that was either really blue or really orange?

Every photographer should know the importance of color temperature, color calibration and then color correction.
In a Nutshell, Color temperature has to do with the color of the lighting used to illuminate the scene. Two of the best examples are your traditional light bulbs that tend to be orange/yellow and an overcast day that tends to be blue. Professional photographers often have to change their camera settings and use colored gel over their flashes to adjust for the different lighting temperatures and then color correct after their shoot.
When color correcting it is very important that the photographer is able to see the colors correctly through their monitors. All computer screens are different and the screen’s colors tend to shift over time. Which means the photographer has to have a piece of hardware that actually reads the color of the monitor and adjusts the color temperatures. Then when the photographer goes to make a print the photographer will need to apply a print profile to the image which corrects the color for the printers.
Recently I was hired by a business to photograph some products along with these products the colors had to be printed perfectly.
When I look at these images without using the printers profile the colors look really off however the prints are perfect.

Wedding Photographer

When I photograph a wedding my goal is to create quality images that aren’t going to look dated tomorrow. I want my clients to look back at my photographs 10 years later and think wow we looked amazing, what a special day, and do you think we could get away using these photos for Christmas cards 10 years later? My theory when it comes to photography is that I like straight up good photos, no silly Photoshop actions to make mediocre photos look cool, which is why when you’re looking through my portfolio know that none of my images have been photoshopped.

I have a 5-star rating on yelp. Unlike most companies that do reviews, yelp doesn’t allow business to take down negative reviews.  In addition, if you are a first-time yelper your review won’t show up, yelp doesn’t post new yelper reviews is to protect the consumer they want to make sure business aren’t posting fake reviews. On my Yelp page, I have 8 reviews showing and 10 that are hidden, which really sucks.
I think my clients are more likely to be first-time yelpers. I am very hands on with my clients, I cater to them, I’m part-wedding planner/maid of honor and I capture amazing memories.  Honestly, my business is my love, my baby and to be able to do what I love more than anything… I’m truly blessed.  To take it a step further I want my clients to be blown away, so I always go a step above and beyond for them. So after my clients get their photos they tend to want to rave about the quality of my work. Some of the reviews that are hidden had me in tears after reading them. I’d like to share a review with you.
We hired Sara for our engagement photos and Wedding photos.  We couldn’t have been more pleased and happy with our decision.  We had interviewed a few photographers prior to hiring Sara and came across good talent but lacked professionalism and a sense of them really loving what they do-Wedding photography.  Sara was not only extremely talented in her work, she is very attentive with any little or big questions we had, even if it had nothing to do with photography, she was always willing to go the extra mile for us-it made us feel special and that she genuinely cared for her clients.  She always went out of her way to support us in any way possible and we will be forever grateful for that!! 
Our photos turned our AMAZING!!!!!
We wouldn’t recommend anyone else she’s as good as they get!!

Xo
Gina and Nelson

Custom Printing Explained…

What is Custom Printing?

Custom photo printing is when you get to choose any size, finish, format, crop and the prints are made to perfection. Typically a photographer when offering custom printing will make test prints. Typically test prints are used to check the tone, contrast, and color. When I do a custom print I generally like to give the test prints to my clients.
My clients can order custom prints right off my website and the print will be mail to them in less than two weeks.