I thought it would be fun to start a “Ask Your Photographer” series full of questions that we get asked all the time. This will be a great resource for my brides and other clients throughout my business, and I know that it will come in handy! This week I wanted to address something that I hear so often!
Ask Your Photographer: Why Does Editing Take So Long?
Editing photographs is a necessary evil. I know when I get our family photos taken, I am also SO impatient when it comes to getting our images back. In our day and age, we’re so used to instant gratification that it’s hard when we actually have to wait on something. I’m guilty of this just like anyone else, but getting back quality edited photos can take time!
After each session, or wedding, your images have to be uploaded to the computer! Depending on what type of session you had that takes time. When I shoot a wedding, my second shooter and myself shoot anywhere from 4000-5000 images. Getting all those image onto my computer takes time-we’re not talking days. If that was the case, I would get a new computer, but it definitely does take a while. I generally do this when I get home from a wedding.
The next step after everything is uploaded to a hard drive is to cull through your images. For some photographers, this can take quite a bit of time. Luckily, I found the amazing piece of softward called Photo Mechanic which makes it so I can cull through a wedding in 15-20 minutes. This is the part of process that gets rid of the out of focus/eyes closed/too similar photos. I want to be sure I’m giving my clients only the best photos, and culling allows me to do just that.
The next step in the process is EDITING! This is the step that takes the most time. Depending on your photographer, they can either edit in Photoshop, Lightroom, or a few other options out there. I choose to edit in Lightroom because it allows me to edit as quickly as I do. I LOVE Lightroom! Most professional photographers take their images in RAW format. So what does that mean? I always bring up the analogy of a raw chicken breast. A RAW photo is just like a RAW chicken breast. You buy it from the store, but you’d never eat it that way. You have to take time to season it, maybe marinate it, and then cook the chicken, and RAW photos are no different. When we edit your photos after a session, we are adjusting the white balance, the exposure, and any necessary retouching we need to do. Generally excessive editing is avoided, unless you are paying extra for that because of the extra time it takes! Editing is one of my most fun parts of photography. I’m pretty proud of my workflow when it comes to editing, and usually get my images back to my clients pretty quickly. It’s take a lot of time, and practice, but I finally feel like I’m in a good place with that!
(I generally try to get my photos right in camera, which makes editing easier and quicker, but there’s times that I have to underexpose to make sure I don’t lose details in my highlights!)
Depending on the time of year your wedding (or other session) is happening may also impact how quickly you get back your images! In our area, wedding season is usually April-October. My most busy months are usually August and September! I manage to always have the most weddings and engagement sessions that time of year, and editing can take me a little bit longer due to a backlog. I always edit my sessions in the order that they were taken, so I can get them out in order!
After all the photos are edited, it’s time to backup those edits! I make sure I have my edited images backed up in 3 different areas. Two on my computer, and one online through PASS which is how my images are also delivered! That’s to my not-so-great internet, uploading to PASS can take sometime, but generally I just let that go overnight. By the morning, the photos are uploaded online, and I just have to reorganize the images into the right collection, and then they’re ready to head off to my clients!!
Photo delivery is different from photographer to photographer, but I always try to get them out quickly! I feel like I waited WAY too long for my wedding images, and by the time I got them (which i think was 2 months later) the excitement of it all had kind of warn off. I love being able to send my clients wedding images to them as their still on their honeymoon, or even right when they get back. The excitement is still there! Because of that, my engagement session turnaround is usually 2 weeks, and wedding photography turnaround time is 3-4 weeks. I love being able to serve my clients in a way that is different than so many in our industry, and that’s one of those ways!
As you can see, processing your photos isn’t just as simple as taking the image, putting them on the computer and sending them out right away, but as photographers, we also do our due diligence to get them back to you quickly! We just ask for a little patience, and we promise it will be worth the short wait! 🙂