In the peak of Boston family photographer busy season, clients often want to know: why the long turnaround times for my images?
Why would it take 14-21 days for me to receive them back? What exactly happens when my photographer leaves my session? Admittedly, this is quite the dry topic to put into text although I enjoy the process overall. To keep your attention, I will intersperse some quintessentially Boston Public Garden maternity pictures as I explain.
1. The Back-Up
The first thing I do when I get home from a maternity, newborn, family, or wedding shoot is back up your images! I want everything to be in at least two places *just in case* something happened to one of those spots. This is particularly important for things like Fresh 48s and weddings which (in the worst case scenario) could not be re-done. Even though a lifestyle newborn session and a family session could technically be re-shot, I treat all sessions with the same system.
2. The Sneak Peek!
Most of my clients are very anxious and excited to see a sneak preview of their images. Even in busy season, I try very hard to pull your folder into PhotoMechanic (a program that loads quick previews of each file so I can cull more quickly) and grab 1-3 images for a sneak peek within 48 hours.
3. The Initial Cull
After the sneak peek, each client’s images go into my queue. In the busy season, my queue can be anywhere from 5-15 sessions deep. Why is this? Because each session can take me 3-5 days to work on and sometimes I have 5-7 sessions within 10 days in October! When a client’s session in next in the queue, I open it in PhotoMechanic and do the “initial cull”. Cull means basically to whittle down the 600-1000 photos from your session to around 100-150 of the best images. During culling I eliminate blinked eyes, silly expressions, images that are not sharp, badly composed images, duplicates, and anything else I wouldn’t feel totally confident delivering.
4. Color Correction: Basic Edits
Once I have done my initial cull, I bring those images into Lightroom where I do 80% of my editing. Each image has my initial preferences (a custom preset) applied and then I go through each one by hand tweaking the white balance, exposure, contrast, etc. I usually cull about 10% more during this process: usually ones that are very close duplicates that I wanted to take a more detailed look at. I also convert approximately 30% to black and white at this time. Did you know that not every image looks good in black and white? I am looking for specific things for my conversions: enough contrast, a wide variance between lights and darks, emotion.
This Boston maternity session had some great contrasty emotive images and I ended up converting quite a few!
5. Photoshop Time: Final Edits
When Lightroom edits are complete, I export all my images in high-resolution jpeg and again view them all in PhotoMechanic. Seeing them as a set helps me identify any tweaks I need to make like wonky horizons, white balance discrepancies, or exposure differences. As I go through them, I flag any images that I need to bring into Photoshop. Things I use Photoshop for would be: background image distractions, temporary skin blemishes like scratches/bruises, and newborn acne.
6. The Delivery!
Once photoshop edits have been completed, I upload them all to ShootProof (my client gallery hosting service) and view them as a set one last time. Once I am happy that everything looks cohesive, I back up the final images again in my hard drives, and deliver the final gallery my client!
Are you looking for a Boston maternity, newborn, family, or fresh 48 session? Let’s chat about Winter and Spring 2020 options!