digital workflow for photographers – post production tutorial

Digital workflow for professional photographers

post production process

 

 

adobe light room presets Christian Tudor

  • Academy of Photography

Today I am going to talk about the digital workflow for photographers, that applies to all kinds of photography professionals including wedding photography. Today we are going to see exactly what happens from the moment the session is finished to the final product that the client receives. The digital workflow refers to all tasks to be done to ensure the photos are downloaded, from the camera, backed up, selected, prepared for post production, editing in post production, transformed in the final format and delivered to the client. I have found my ways thorug years of trial and error and I found a process that ensures the quality of the final product  and  do not have to worry about it any more. Maybe few steps might seem unusual for few people, but it helped me save tens of hours of work and you have to process 2000 photos in a week, a reduction from 10 hours to 2-3 hours is a significant business improvement. You do not have to follow this 100%, but you can try and improve it to suit you

 

Step 1 – download the photos

Once I get home I take out all the cards from my cameras, and download ALL the photos on the hard drive on my computer. One important tip is not to use the camera directly to download as it takes hours for each card. It took me 1 to 2 hours to download 32 GB memory card and it often freezes. SO instead spending 2-3 hours on this task, the better way is to use a Card reader that will take only 10 minutes for each card. Word of advice, is to get a good card reader, as having a cheap one might give you some errors and let me tell you, you do not want to leave with the panic that you have lost half of the wedding as I did and It took me 2 sleepless nights to recover the data. So be cautious what you are using as it may be a disaster. Card readers are very cheap and it should not be a problem to procure them. You can find samples on links below where I have bought them from, but you can go on ebay or any electronics store.

 

Step 2 – back up

One all the photos are downloaded, you might consider to copy them on an external hard drive just in case your computer gets damages. I copy them in one external place, and once few sessions, I put everything onto another hard drive, so I have 3 places where they reside for at least one year. This is good practice and perhaps the 3rd drive is in a different locations just in case something happens

 

Step 3 – digital workflow – photo selection

This is an imprortant step to save time later on. I will give you an example. From 1500 photos taken during one wedding I narrow them down to 5-800. I select only the ones that have a subject, people are facing the camera, don’t have closed yes, they are smiling etc. Pretty straight forwards but important. I do not select more than 3 of a pose as I may choose to give them one in colour, one in black and white and one with various colour effects

 

Step 4 – prepare for post production

I do all my editing in Adobe Light-room – which is the best tool for the photographer to edit thousands images in a week. If I want to focus only one special image, I would probably use photo shop as it has more tools

I am not sure what others are doing but I have discovered that it works better is before getting into Light-room, I use the canon software supplied with the camera to increase the sharpness before I get into the next stage. I just discovered it looks better at the end. After the sharpness is increased I export the RAW files into high res JPGs.

Why? Again…I have discovered after many trials, that the Light-room presets work better on JPG, faster – as they are half the size and that decreases the processing time. So as a tip, use JPG to post production, no RAW.  You can try both and this is up to you how you want to approach this.

Step 5 post production

Once I have a full selected set of sharpened images, I import them into Light room. I go thought every image and apply a preset filter to my personal liking. When importing I give all of them just a slight increase in exposure, black levels to make the black stronger, and vibrance. I may choose to apply also a vignette to some of them depending on the background. I found that telephoto portraits with green blurry background take the vignette the best. AS I go through them I can choose various presets, as black and white, sepia, various colour effects and also play with the exposure, lightness, contrast and all the settings on the right hand side as it comes very easy to do so. If you practice this post production, you will get various habits and reflexes and everything becomes easier and faster in time.

I am preparing a list of my most used preset templates for download on my link below. They are result of trial and error experience, repetition. And this is how you need to spend 2-3 sends for each image in order to make this post production business as efficient as possible for you.

Remember- post production is a time that client doesn’t know and care about, so finding the faster ways are beneficial to you.

 

Step 6 – final format export

Once you are happy, you can select the lot and export them to any resolution you se fit, and any names you want, onto your hard drive. You can copy them to a disk, USB flash drive, or put them into an online cloud storage and give access to your clients to download them. I do that more and more often with the DROPBOX online sharing system so I do not have to incur the cost and time for preparing the disk, design labels, print and post.

 

So these is a digital workflow that works for me and I have made it from 8-10 hours at the beginning, to 2-3.

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About Christian Tudor

professional photographer, main editor at Academy of Photography and owner and principal photographer of Tudor Photography