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Post Production

Learn about our editing process & everything that goes into your final end product.

1. Upload & Backup

 

Upon leaving a photo session or an event (like a wedding), the very first step we take in our Post Production process is to upload and backup all of our files from said assignment.

As professional photographers, all of our images are initially captured in a raw/ proprietary format native to our camera company. (This type of raw format file varies from camera company to camera company.) Capturing the images in a raw format ensures that the images are able to be edited in the most customizable way possible. Raw/ proprietary files are not considered a universal format, and require select specialized softwares for viewing and editing. Because raw/ proprietary files allow for the maximum amount of customization in the editing process, the files themeselves carry a LARGE amount of data and require vast amounts of disc space in the initial capture as well as long/ short term storage solutions.

Upon arriving back in studio after a photo session or event, all files are uploaded to a local hard drive and simultaneously uploaded to our online cloud backup system. The physical copy on the initial memory cards are then stored separately until all images have undergone the editing process and have been converted to finished JPG files.

At any given time throughout the editing process, there are at least 3 copies of all images.

 

Total Time: Approximately 1 hour for Photo Sessions. Approximately 3 hours for Events/ Weddings.

2. Image Selection

 

After all images have been uploaded and backed up, we can begin the image selection process! This is a multi-step process that includes reviewing the images multiple times over again to create various image sets for varying purposes.

The formal industry term you may hear us using to refer to this part of the process is “culling” or to “cull” the images.

The specialized software that we use at this part of the process allows us to view these large proprietary raw files at lightning fast speeds. Our software also allows for flagging, keywording, and tagging, so that we may catalogue and organize your photos before beginning the manual process of image selection.

In the first phase of our image selection process, we hand select the images that we consider are technically strong, flattering to the subject, and not overly redundant.  Essentially we’re removing blurry images, test shots, duplicates, and anything unflattering.

In the next phase of image selection, we select highlight images that are typically used for social media sharing on various platforms, portfolio use, and pre-designed printed products such as albums or wall art.

From here, the images are then organized into varying folder structures and then transferred into another professional editing software for the next editing step!

 

Total Time: Approximately 30 minutes for Photo Sessions. Approximately 4 hours for Events/ Weddings.

3. Basic Editing

 

When we first examine an image in our editing software, we correct the image’s overall brightness, or exposure. The image is essentially shifted to look as bright or as dark as it was intended to look upon photographing. From there, the shadows are additionally lifted to uncover more detail that might have been initially lost, and the highlights are also recovered to bring in additinal detail that might have been initally blown out (or lost due to being overly bright). This particular step in recovering the details in shadows and highlights is a CRUCIAL step when working with subjects with varying skin tones (ie: mixed race couples) and subjects wearing opposite colors of clothing (think black suits and white dresses). Additionally, if the image was photographed in fog, or in select backlit conditions, additional clarity is added to improve general contrast. 

After balancing an image’s overall exposure, we begin to work on correcting the colors! At this stage in our basic editing process, we increase the image’s color vibrancy. This helps us identify which direction to take the image in should it need additional color correction (which it almost always does). Our goal is to bring the whites of an image to a pure white without looking overly yellow, blue, purple, or green, but rather a neutral white. 9 time out of 10, the skin tones in the image will look correct after making this adjustment. However, in certain lighting conditions, or in conditions where the subject of the image tends to have a rosier complexion, additional tweaks may be necessary. It is at this point that we focus on select color channels associated with the skin (typically your reds and oranges), to bring them to the correct color/ shade. The end result is a color corrected image with added vibrancy and true to life skin tones.

In our next step, we analyze the horizon line, or any other architectural lines (ceilings, walls, doorways, path ways, brick walls, decking, telephone poles, etc) that may show in the background of the image. From there, the image is straightened to appear more balanced, and then additionally cropped for the most flattering composition.

Lastly, if the image was photographed under low light conditions, we remove as much noise/ grain as possible. This helps to smooth out images photographed in less than ideal lighting situations.

After that, it’s just rinse and repeat. We follow this process over and over and over again until all images have been corrected. And believe it or not, we’re not done yet!

 

Total Time: Approximately 3 hours for Photo Sessions. Approximately 12 hours for Events/ Weddings.

4. Image Selection Again!

 

In our initial image selection phases, we tend to be over lenient when selecting images to include for editing. Occasionally images are included that shouldn’t be. They’re initially included because there’s a chance that the editing process might make the image more flattering, more technically strong, or help reveal which redundant image is best. After we have completed basic edits on all photos, we assess the collection of images as a whole to remove any weak points. We’re removing – you guessed it – blurry images, unflatterings images, or redundant images. This last image selection process helps to create a stronger end product where all images contribute to the story of the day/ session.

 

Total Time: Approximately 20 minutes for Photo Sessions. Approximately 1.5 hours for Events/ Weddings.

5. JPG File Creation

 

Once all of the images have been edited and the image sets have been finalized, it’s time to create our JPG files from our proprietary raw files. This is a long process that is highly dependent on the full processing power of our computers. Once we start this process, it is the only process that we run. All other softwares and apps are closed to take full advantage of our computers’ processing power. From here, we usually go to the gym, or the grocery store, take a phone call, or take a nap, and let the computer do it’s thing.

 

Total Time: Approximately 1 hour for Photo Sessions. Approximately 3.5 hours for Events/ Weddings.

6. Fancy Edits

 

Wait whaaaaaattt??? There’s MORE edits???? Yaaaaassss. You have no idea. We are SO extra.

Once all the JPG files have been created, we then load all the jpgs into ANOTHER software! This one allows us to do all of our FANCY editing like subtle skin smoothing, eye brightening, and teeth whitening. And for our super epic style portraits, we can even SWAP THE SKY OUT to make it look that much more impressive. If we were holding a mic, we’d be dropping it right about now.

 

Total Time: Approximately 20 minutes for Photo Sessions. Approximately 1 hour for Events/ Weddings.

7. More JPG File Creation

 

So now the images are ALMOST done. ALMOST. Once we’ve finished smoothing skin, brightening eyes, whitening teeth, swapping skies, and dropping mics, it’s time to create more JPG files! To produce the finished image files we’ll deliver to you, we have to export them out of the current software, creating a whole new round of JPG files. These are the actual JPG files that will be included in your final gallery delivery.

Once these new JPG files have been created, we import them back into the previous editing software (for file management) and then export the various groupings of highlight images for social media sharing, blogging, portfolio use, and pre-designed products like albums and wall art.

 

Total Time: Approximately 1.5 hours for Photo Sessions. Approximately 4.5 hour for Events/ Weddings.

8. Uploading, Sharing, & Product Pre-Designs

 

We’re so close to the finish line now! At this stage, if you’re interested in commissioning additional art pieces from your session/ wedding, we pre-design album pages and wall art concepts to present to you at your Ordering Premiere. There’s even an ADDITIONAL round of complimentary retouching included for all additional commissioned art pieces, but that’s a completely separate process. 

At this point, we upload all your the finished JPG files to our online hosting company for your Ordering Premiere and then Gallery Delivery. We also upload some highlight images to various social media and scheduling platforms. Social media posts are created, vendors are tagged, and posts are scheduled. If we’re super on top of our marketing game, we’re also uploading a couple select images to our portfolio, and even creating a blog post or some form of content for our site. (If you would like to prohibit our use of images for marketing purposes, in our portfolio, or social media, you may purchase an additional “NDA” / Privacy of Photographs Agreement along with your selected photography service. If this is an option you’re interested in, please notify us of this decision as soon as possible in your planning process.)

 

Total Time: Approximately 2.5 hours for Photo Sessions. Approximately 4 hour for Events/ Weddings.

Total Post Production Time

 

In total, we spend approximately 10+ hours in post production for each photo session client we work with, and approximately 35+ hours in post production for each wedding couple we work with. These post production time frames don’t even include complimentary retouching that’s typically included for additional commissioned art pieces from the Ordering Premiere, or the additional revisions that take place after presenting pre-designed products like albums and wall art concepts.

Actual image delivery times will vary based on season, studio availability, and client availability (in scheduling your Ordering Premiere and Gallery Delivery – Learn More about the Ordering Premiere & Gallery Delivery here).

 

 

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