As photographers there is always the struggle of “how much time should I be spending in post?” There are two ways of looking at it.
1. Turn and Burn 2. Artistically Valued
The first is obvious and usually sloppy. The second implies too much time and noodling. I stay away from the turn and burn although sometimes things just need to be handed over quickly. I just photographed some invitations for Mistyka of Special Occasions and they needed them asap. They wanted me to just give them the photos straight from my camera and have me shoot in JPEG. I had to draw the line by telling them they would have them within 24 hours because I never shoot JPEG. Even though 99% of everything I shoot has minimal work done to enhance the photos I still like to make sure the photos I give clients are the best ones and they are color balanced and exposure corrected. Those of you who feel like the 20 hours you spend “artistically valuing” the 1 hour photo shoot you did for an engagement session should quit now and just put a sign up that says “will work for food.” What kills me even more (and has nothing to do with post production) are those people who give their potential clients 3-4 hour consults. Just keep throwing your money out the window. Anyhow, back to post production. We need to have a happy medium when it comes to working jobs. My rule of thumb is to try to keep my post to the number of hours worked. So, if I shoot an 8 hour event, my post production time is around 8 hours. Many shooters will tell you to work about half the time in post that it took you to shoot. I find that to be impossible if you include EVERYTHING other than the album design. We are talking about downloading the files, deleting bad images, color correcting, exposure correcting, and full enhancements on 60-100 images for online including watermarking, loading to my blog, loading to Facebook and tagging people. Then loading the full suite of images (for me that number is around 1500 for a full wedding) to an online viewing and ordering company. I use SmugMug. If you are able to do all that in 4 hours, PLEASE tell me how. I recently purchased RPG Keys and will be trying it out this season so I will give you the verdict soon but I am skeptical about it cutting my time in half. I am hoping to shave maybe 2 hours off my edit time. There is a lot of care that goes into post, but you also have to draw the line. I do not go back and re-evalutate images over and over. I do not give my clients multiple edits of the same image (it says that you are wishy washy and cannot decide how the image needs to look.) I do not fix every blemish and wrinkle on the bride (just on my main picks for my blog post.) I do not us preset enhancements or textures on my photos. Anything that is popular today will not be tomorrow. Wedding photography should be classic and timeless. I really think the textures on photos that is popular today are fun and sometimes work really well, however not on every photo. Come up with your own style and create your own look. Don’t follow others look by adding their prefab textures and stylized elements to your photos. Your work should stand on its own. YOU decide what your imagery should look like. Over time you will develop a signature look. Stick with it. Your clients will trust you more. Okay, enough ranting. Just remember to evaluate how much time you are actually spending on each job. Do it right. Do it well. But don’t get stuck archiving one job for too long or I promise you, you will learn to hate photography and that, my friend is no good for anyone!
(see below photo for how my actual archive system works.)
Copyright © 2010 by Jen O’Sullivan http://www.jenosullivan.com
Beverly Hills Wedding Photographer, Jen O’Sullivan is a boutique wedding photographer who specializes in portrait journalism.
Jen O’Sullivan Boutique Wedding Photography | 357 South Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California, 90211 | 310-494-6547