I think first and foremost this blog should start with your time frame of editing – and I may have mentioned this before, but I think it’s just that important. I’m sure we’ve all heard the horror stories of couples having to wait five, six, nine months, even over a year for their pictures, and sometimes they don’t even receive all of them yet in that time!! WHAT?!!! It takes shorter time to build a house or even an apartment complex in that time. I’ve heard these stories and it kills me, because your wedding day is such an excitement moment in your life and obviously the pictures are the captured memories of your day, so it’s understandable if you’re a little antsy to see them, right? When we first started, I knew wait time was an issue, but I also knew there would be a learning curve into the business, but even then I strived to have pictures ready to view in no more than 1.5 months. Last year I strived for no more than 4 weeks. This year, though, things have completely changed. It’s quite clear we are in a digital age, meaning everyone and their dog has a camera, and most of those people (and dogs) have facebook profiles. This means that the following weeks after your wedding you have ALL these pictures of your wedding being tagged to you. Let me ask, if you had to wait six months to receive your pictures, do you think you’ll really be excited?
Obviously, I love the excitement of weddings and the excitement you have seeing your pictures (it’s kind of the reason I got into the industry). Just today a couple viewed and ordered their pictures and their wedding was 2.5 weeks ago. Talk about quick, they just got back from their honeymoon and barely had time to kick off their shoes. So how is it that it can take six months for some couples to receive their pictures? That’s a mystery I’m still trying to figure out myself. 🙂 And I’m not the only photographer (in this area) that has a quicker turnaround time, there are definitely options. This is simply to bring attention to couples to ask your photographer how long it will be till you see your pictures.
I know that when I first started in the industry, if a photographer told me to get my pictures done in 2.5 weeks, I would think they were crazy. Or if it’s possibly my quality will be lacking. But that’s so far from the truth, in fact, maybe this is just me, but I feel so much better about the quality of my work now than ever! The secret is (and hold on for this one), take your pictures correctly and you spend less time editing. *GASP*!! Crazy, right? I think often times when a photographer first starts out, because we are our biggest critics, our confidence in our work is very lacking and we feel like photoshop is the only way out. So 50 edits later we feel that our picture is ready to be viewed by the public and what you have is a high contrast, pasty looking picture. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Or God forbid, a photographer doesn’t even use professional editing software and stoops low enough to use places like piknik. Eck! Here’s another secret I learned as a graphic designer:
“LESS IS MORE”
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my share of pictures with off camera flash, textures, creative edits and when done right these types of pictures look amazing. But for the most part, what kind of pictures are going to stand the test of time with new trends coming and going. See Above: Less is More. Working on this type of approach saves you A LOT of time, seeing that you know your camera well enough to take a picture correctly. I’ll give some examples below:
This picture of Matt and Maria is practically straight out of camera. A few color corrections ran and that was it. Editing time took a matter of a few seconds. But the great thing about this picture is that it is timeless. Five, ten or more years from now if this was hanging on their wall, they would enjoying looking at it for many more years. The thing about this picture is that it captures a moment of love that’s so sweet and so real, and I think that’s a memory anyone would want to remember for many years. 🙂
This picture of Cory and Kristina gets a little more complicated and added a little bit more time to the editing clock. With a handful of edits from dodging/burning, sharpening, contrast, color effects it took a few minutes to edit. Now, I know what you might be thinking, “A few minutes is nothing,” and keep in mind that this was till a fairly quick edit. But a few minutes editing 1000 plus pictures adds up quickly! The other thing to keep in mind is; if every picture from a wedding looked like this, do you think the couple would enjoy them as much? I don’t think so.
Lastly, we have a picture that was edited like crazy. While not the high contrast – pasty type of picture I mentioned above, this still took a bit of time. To see somewhat of how it looked before, you can check out Kyle and Carol Ann’s blog here. There was a massive tree to the left and the sky was awful distracting on the left side as well. To get a cleaner look with no distractions and quite a unique look, I had to spend a lot of time editing everything out. I can’t remember for sure, but I want to say that this picture took upwards of 20-30 minutes to edit. Multiply that by 1000 and forget any kind of social life or shooting any other kind of session. HA
To close, this blog is meant only for awareness. Awareness to couples to ask their photographer how long their turnaround time is and if it is lengthier, ask why? Is it because they take on too much work that they aren’t able to give you that personalized experience? Are they newer? etc. In either case though, I do not feel a couple should ever have to wait 6+ months to even see their pictures for the first time. Awareness to photographers to dig down and see if this is truly the experience you want to provide your couples. If it’s taking you 6+ months to edit pictures, ask yourself, “Would I appreciate the photographer I’m paying good money to take this long with my pictures?” I’m going to guess the answer is probably no.
But most importantly, LOVE WHAT YOU DO! We get to work on the happiest day of a person’s life and if that isn’t inspiration enough to finish those pictures quickly to see their reactions, I don’t know what is. lol I love this job, and while editing pictures can be a time consuming bit, there truly aren’t many jobs where you can smile and even sometimes laugh as you do you job. Oh yes, I’ve laughed out loud from moments captured on camera. 😀 Have a great day everybody. And remember (as I’ve said many many times before) – The Only Constant is Change.