A few days ago I launched an appeal to wedding suppliers asking if they’d like to take part in the Top Tips from the Experts regular series. This series is designed to bring you expert advice from wedding suppliers to help you planning your wedding or understanding your options so you can make informed decisions.
Today’s guest on Linen and Silk Weddings offering her advice and knowledge is wedding photographer Alethiea of Xander & Thea. Alethiea approached me a few days ago with this idea: “I thought about an article on everything brides and grooms need to know about the post-production process. It would be good to allow them to understand a photographer’s ‘work flow’, from backing up the images to colour correcting, converting files and ‘photoshopping’ them and the difference between burn and shoot photographers. I think it would help some brides understand the difference between a photographer who charges a couple hundred pound vs a thousand pound plus.” YES YES YES Alethiea! I loved this topic because, as Alethiea says, there are a lot people out there who, through no fault of their own, have very limited knowledge of the amount of work that goes into shooting a wedding and presenting the couple with a complete suite of images. Xander & Thea‘s post sheds light on the nitty gritty in very simple terms so that you, brides and grooms, can fully understand why photographers charge what they charge and why some charge more than others.
So, over to Xander & Thea and, please, if you have any questions or if you feel your opinion differs, we encourage you to leave a comment so we can have an open discussion about it!
When I decided to write this post I thought I’d research what others were saying, yet I couldn’t find one article on a photographer’s editing process that spoke to brides and grooms, and this reinforced to me the importance to talk about this topic. On many a photographers website (including my own) it simply says ‘Fully / Professionally edited high res images’ – do most brides and grooms really know what this means? It is a bit unromantic to let you into the ‘darkroom’, but here is the truth as to why many of us charge £1,000+.
I will not be the only photographer who has heard that infamous line: “£**** – not bad for a days work!”, which can often feel frustrating. ‘Creativity’ as a concept is intangible which is why it is difficult for many to understand the fees of such a practice. Hence, it is up to the photographers to educate people who through no fault of their own have no idea of how much money and time we spend working on the images. It is only fair that brides and grooms know what they are paying for.
The wedding day, although providing its own unique set of challenges, such as the need for patience, focus and direction, especially when there is no wedding planner, often feels like the starting point for us. Our job is to provide you with a beautiful cohesive set of products, e.g. USB/DVD/album/prints etc., therefore the aftermath of the wedding eats most of the ‘time’ pie chart up for us.
To edit efficiently and properly we must invest in professional software, an editing tablet, editing screen or colour calibration machine for our computer screens, as well as copious hard drive space.
Every photographer’s workflow will be different but to give you a rough indication of the process and the time it takes, mine consists of:
- The evening I get home from a wedding I re-back up all the images. Before deleting them from my memory card I ensure they are backed up in four locations, two external hard drives, my laptop and my google drive. A bit excessive but it is always better to be safe than sorry, as with digital products the risk of them corrupting is always a possibility. With so many files it is so important for me to invest in high speed external drives, memory cards, readers and high speed internet
- The next day, I categorise my images into sections of the wedding day to make the vast number of files easier to manage and then import my images into a professional editing software called Lightroom. I cull through the images taking the number from around 3000 to 800. This can often take me around a day and a half. The process of selecting the best can be tricky stuff!
- The ‘editing’ process starts from this point onwards. It is so important for me to focus and work hard on the wedding day. I shoot fully in manual mode; by slowing down and really focussing on what I am photographing and how, I reduce this phase of the editing process. I don’t use filters and therefore I edit each image individually staying true to my style, aiming for vibrancy and simplicity. I aim to spend 5 minutes on each image, although sometimes my egg timer beeps before I am finished