Many people are under the assumption that once a photographer takes pictures at a session, their job is pretty much done. While shooting is a vital component to our work, there are plenty of things that still must be done after the pictures are taken. Each photographer’s “post-session process” (AKA what they do from the moment they are done at your session until your gallery is delivered) is different and unique to them. If you’ve ever been curious, this is my post-session process that occurs after each session, no matter the type.
Culling + Back-Up
Right when I get home from your session, the first thing I will do is pull out the memory cards that I used at your session and load them onto my computer. Once I get them uploaded to my computer, I will back up ALL the RAW images from your session onto several external hard drives. I have 3 hard drives which will contain the exact same images from your session. Why do I do this? In the case that a memory card or hard drive would corrupt, I would still have your pictures saved onto a different hard drive and they wouldn’t be lost forever! This ensures that you will receive your pictures safely, without the risk of anything being lost or corrupted.
After everything is safely backed up, I will start a brief culling process. If you are unsure what this is, culling basically refers to the process of going through each picture taken and determining if it should be kept or deleted. However, the culling that I do here will only focus on the best pictures captured during your session. This helps me narrow down the images that I will use for your sneak peeks!
Side Note: I’m also an extreme perfectionist and type A person, so all of my hard drives are precisely organized into folders and albums in which I can easily find your session. So, don’t ever worry that you aren’t in good hands :)
After the first culling and back-up is completed, I will move into editing some sneak peeks. Every session, regardless of the type, is guaranteed to receive a handful of sneak peeks from their session within 48 hours. To do this, I will use 5-10 pictures from the session that I previously culled in which I thought were some of the VERY best & that really encompassed the session as a whole. I will then upload these said images onto my editing software, in which I will edit and fine-tune each picture to my liking. Once they are edited, I will export them to my hard drives in the designated folder. From there, I can send the edited sneak peeks straight to your email or phone and you’ll be able to look through a few snapshots from your session within no time!
Remember when I said I did a brief culling right after your session? This next stage is where most of the culling from your session occurs. You may be wondering why I don’t just cull all the pictures right from the start. Often times, a simple 30-minute session can easily have 500+ RAW images that need to be culled. In addition, I can have dozens of sessions in the post-session process that I am working on at a time, and it wouldn’t be fair to cull your session all the way through before getting to a previous session.
Now, don’t worry, we don’t just go around deleting a ton of pictures in culling. In reality, the only reason we would not keep a picture would be if it were out of focus, a member of the session wasn’t smiling or had a silly expression, or if we already had several of the same picture in focus. Once your session is culled, I will back-up ALL the RAW images onto several devices.
The bulk of the post-session process is spent editing all the images from your session. Despite popular belief, photographers do not simply “slap a filter on an image” and call it a day. I spend hours hand-editing every one of your pictures to absolute perfection… seriously, like I said, I’m a perfectionist so this can take some time. I will start will a base preset that I use across all pictures, and then tweak each aspect of it individually. Throughout editing, I will fine tune the gallery so that the images look consistent in the editing style and don’t look different than the others. I like to describe my editing style as true-to-color, vibrant, and bright.
Once the major edits are done to the picture, I will then bring them into Photoshop to touch up any things that may be distracting or unappealing in the picture. For example, this can include a woman running behind you, a “no smoking” sign on the wall next to you, or even a small pimple that you specifically wanted out of your pictures. No matter how big or small, I’m dedicated to making sure that your pictures are the best possible, because you deserve that!
When I am finished with all editing and fine-tuning of your images, I will first upload them to my hard drives (yes, again!). Then, I will upload the final images onto my online gallery system. Depending on how many images are being delivered, this can take some time, but is worth it. This online gallery system allows me to upload all your pictures in high-resolution so that the quality remains clear the whole time.
Once uploaded, I will publish your gallery and send you a link to your session pictures right to your email. The online gallery is perfect in that you are able to view all your pictures, download them (as many times as you want), share the link to any family or friends, and even order any prints that you may want! I always like to send you a quick text message as well just letting you know to check your email because your pictures are done!
After your gallery is delivered, you will have 30 days to download and order any prints before your link expires and you cannot access them anymore. THIS is why it’s crucial to download all your pictures in several places. I also highly recommend printing your images whenever you get the chance. The online gallery platform prints images through a high-quality printing lab that will ship and deliver them to you once done. Your pictures are not meant to stay inside a tiny screen! They are meant to be brought to life and displayed in all the special areas!
There are no secrets that I like to keep from you. You deserve to know my exact post-session process and see into my workflow. Your session should capture treasured memories, and therefore, should be treated with special care. THIS is why my post-session process is so important to me and the mission as a photographer. This may also help you to understand why it takes a photographer so long to get you the edited images. It’s not a simple, one-step process, but a series of steps that come together to deliver beautiful, lifelong memories. This post-session process is what makes your images worth it!
Indy-based wedding photographer for the joyful, classic-living couple