Digital post – production is now a standard procedure for most digital wedding photographers. But because image manipulation and enhancement can be beguiling, it’s easy to get too involved – leading to wasted time. What you need is a good ratio between time in and value out. Every minute spent in Photoshop must be rewarded with a corresponding income.
So you should question everything you do, measure the time it takes you to complete tasks, assess the finished results, and ask yourself, ‘Could I charge more for my pictures if I spent more time working on the files in post-production?’ Equally valid is the question, ‘If I cut the time in post-production, would it affect the amount I can charge for the prints?’
There are obvious ‘no value added’ stages in any workflow that need careful scrutiny to achieve optimum efficiency. When you are dealing with a thousand or more files with each job, it’s easy to waste time on nonessential or duplicated tasks. You need to protect the integrity of the files, back up the right data, and avoid repeating the same tasks on the same image.
Here’s another time-saving tip: never hang around waiting for the computer. If you keep seeing the hour glass (PC) or beach ball (Mac) it’s probably time to upgrade your computer, buy it a bigger memory chip, or review any processor-intensive tasks. Time is money, or in some cases, the difference between having a life or not.
THE EDITING TOOLS
The wedding photographer Essex has an assortment of tools in this arsenal to help him do his workflow in a timely and aesthetically pleasing manner. The tools listed below are helpful in editing and production of raw files:
- Photo Mechanic; this was originally popular with the commercial photographers, but it is gaining popularity in other areas of photography because it offers a very fast and effective way to edit and rename your images.
- Ron Nichols Digital Learning Palettes: this program offers a free floating palette that sends scripting calls into Photoshop to control tools, blending modes, opacities and layers. It comes with integrated instructional videos that teach you the complete process. This is a great way to give your studio a systematic retouching method.
- Kevin Kubota and Parker Pfister’s Actions: actions, a recorded series of steps in Photoshop, are also very helpful in postproduction. Both Kevin Kubota and Parker Pfister’s Actions are real time savers to make above average images quickly.
STAGES INVOLED IN THE WORKFLOW SYSTEM
These stages adopted for wedding photographer Essex to have a better workflow system:
- Create a folder and download images to the original folder
- Import job folder containing the originals into a new light room catalog
- Batch rename using a sequence number/client name/job number format
- Backup the folder or original and the catalog to CD/DVD
- Mark keeper images with Pick flag or mark loser images with an X
- Filter to show only images marked without the X.
- Clean up by moving all x images (the losers) to the edit out folder.