So you booked your session, you coordinate the family outfits, you arrive a few minutes early to the session and we have a blast playing around capturing your family organically interacting with each other. While we are packing up I will tell you that the turn around time is no more than a week before the gallery will be delivered. But what really goes into that week of editing?
First and foremost I am a mom and wife. Family always comes first. My husbands schedule isn't conducive to him running any errands during normal business hours, so anything he needs to get done that I have the ability to do gets taken care of. My two kids are young and require my attention during the day. As much as I would love to ignore them sometimes to cull and edit a session I can't. So that all has to happen after 8 pm when the Smith household is asleep.
So what is culling? Culling is the task of going through every image of your session and whittling it down. You see the good, the bad, the unfocused, the over exposed and the ugly. During a normal 1 hour session I can snap 150+ photos, and my job is to decide which of those make you look the best. I might have 5 of the same pose, but there are small changes in every one. Perhaps someone has their eyes closed, maybe there was a gust of wind that moved your hair, maybe someone sneezed. Whatever happens I am able to pick out the best, and only focus on those.
As far as editing goes, I try to only enhance your natural beauty, and like it to look dramatic yet minimal. However what seems like it should be quick work can sometimes turn into hours. Let's look at some examples shall we?
Ok so this photo took a lot longer than I would like to admit, though I am still finding things I would like to change. In this situation I only had seconds to capture a life changing event, and we were dealing with a heavily pedestrian area (I mean LOOK at that view!). Clearing the ground beforehand would have taken time and might have alerted the bride to be that something was about to happen, though she claims she knew something was up when the groom to be put on a tie that morning because wearing a suit on vacay is normal. A lot of time was spent cloning out gum and cigarette butts, unsightly imperfections in the stone, and that long scratch on the wall. Even more time was spent working on the removing the branches and making the clouds look realistic. This one photo took approximately 10 minutes, which might not seem like a lot but if I had to do that on every photo in the gallery it would take about 5 hours. That doesn't include culling time.
Onto example number two. This pretty face is my friend, and as you can see he doesn't need much work done. This look was achieved by warming up the photo a tad, working on his skin tone, lightening some shadows, bringing out his eyes and blazing white teeth. This photo took under 2 minutes to finish. It helps that he was an easy model and we were able to get a decent photo SOOC (that is straight out of camera for those not hip to photographer lingo), so it made my job real easy.
This final example is an example of a normal length of edit time. So again, the SOOC shot was in my opinion decent and just needed some minimal tweaking, and it took me roughly between 4-5 minutes to be happy with the results. Again colors were enhanced and the photo was warmed up a bit. The tricky part came with skin tones and color casts and baby girls face.
So next time you have a session, just remember that there is so much more that goes into a session than just showing up and snapping pictures. Knowing the right camera settings, and knowing how to make your clients comfortable quickly are just what you see upfront. Behind the scenes there is location scouting, prop making, finding and purchasing gowns and outfits for stylized shoots, editing, culling, blogging, marketing, education and so much more.
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