The number one question I get asked by clients as we start packing up after their photo session is – “so what happens now?”. Truth be told, it’s not just my clients who are interested in the behind the scenes process from shoot to delivering the finished product – so I thought I’d write a blog post about it!
Download the images from my SD card
The very first thing I do when I get home from a session is to stick my SD card into my computer and start downloading my RAW files. Each file is quite large thanks to my full frame Nikon so this can take I while. I usually use this time to jump in the shower (especially if it’s a newborn session I’ve just completed! I’m usually covered in baby wee/poo/spew or if I’m really lucky – all three!). The first step in my post production process is in Lightroom so all my images get imported there. My folders are set up first into Personal (for my own home photos of my kids) and Work (for my client images), then with separate folders by year, then by month, then by day of the month.
Find the favourites
During a typical photo session, I take about 150 – 250 images. Sometimes I take more where babies are older (e.g. 3 month old sessions or Little Sitter sessions) or awake. This big number of images means that I always have duplicate images of the same setup and angle. This is intentional to ensure that I nail my focus and for a great expression/angle etc. My first step after importing all the images is to cull any that aren’t up to standard. This could be anything from being out of focus, a bad angle, the lighting wasn’t spot on, or a strange expression (e.g. someone blinking or pulling a funny face). After culling, I select my favourite images in lightroom <for photographers – you can do this by hitting ‘P’ on the image you want to select>. I typically end up with between 25 and 35 images from a session.
After importing images into Lightroom, I select my favourites from each setup by pressing “P”. Then I can use the filters to show only the images I have selected.
Make overall adjustments in Lightroom
To get my galleries out to my clients as quickly as possible, I only do the fine retouch work after they place their order. I do a “soft edit” at this stage only – this means I adjust the crop, overall colour balance, contrast etc. I can use the SYNC settings in Lightroom to apply the same adjustments to all the images in a series to save time.
After the soft edit, I export all my favourites into an online gallery and sent my clients a link to view and order. To prevent clients taking screen shots (read: stealing!) all of my images are heavily watermarked.
Receive order and fine retouch work
After my clients have placed their order, I do the fine retouch work on each of the images they have ordered. This means opening each file up separately in Photoshop and spending a long time perfecting each image – softening skin, fixing skin blemishes, cloning backgrounds – finessing each image to make it finished. This work can take quite a while as I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
Place product orders & deliver
After all the images are finished, then the fun part of ordering the products begins! I have a range of suppliers that I have sourced from all over Australia who are the best in the business. Delivery days when large canvases and frames or beautiful hand-bound albums arrive are my favourite days of the week 🙂 There is nothing more satisfying that seeing my photos hanging proudly on my clients’ walls. My job rocks!