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Post Wedding Workflow - Batch Processing?

Heather P , Aug 10, 2008; 12:38 a.m.

I am very GREEN to this business and have questions about the post production of wedding photos. I have 500 images - most a good balance of color/brightness/etc and some that are either a little dark or a little light. My question is, what do you professional photogs do after the wedding? Do you just throw all the images on a disc "as-is" or do you adjust them? Do you batch process? Can you batch adjust? How about sizing. When you tell the bride that she will be receiving a disk of "hi-res" images, are you giving them the full size image or do you reduce them?

Basically, I would love to know your workflow and process for adjustments and sizing, if any. I do not have a mentor at this time that I can speak to, so I am reaching out to you.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Responses

Josh Baker , Aug 10, 2008; 01:01 a.m.

I'm not an old guard when it comes to this but what I do is go through the shots and pick the best from each situatation out. This leaves me with about 200 or so. From this I take the ones that "tell the story" of the wedding (some I include because I know the couple wants them in). This usually gets rid of another 40-50. The rest I individually correct for exposure, WB, black/white poine, and sometimes composition. Once this is done I batch convert them all and then I resize once I know the prints that are wanted, and what is going into the album. In the end I usually give around 150 corrected pics. If I give all 500 then there is too much. Too many duplicates, and really who need to see the pic with aunt Betsy's flash going off at the same time washing everything out.

David Eckmier , Aug 10, 2008; 02:19 a.m.

Typically what I do after a wedding is this:

...

[1] Copy RAW files from memory cards to hard drive. Don't delete files from cards yet.

[2] Automatically burn a copy of the unprocessed RAWs to DVD[s] as a backup.

[3] Sort through the pictures in Adobe Lightroom, flagging unusables and duplicates as Rejected.

[4] Process the rest of the pictures [adjusting lighting/colour/white balance/vignetting/etc] in Lightroom.

[5] Choose [Flag as Pick] the best 50-100 pictures in Lightroom [for slideshow/album/portfolio use].

[7] Export all processed RAW's as JPG's.

[8] Burn one backup DVD of processed JPG's immediately.

[9] Any Photoshop editing/tweaking happens here.

[10] Burn two copies of final results; one for backup, one for client.

[11] Format memory cards.

[12] Put together slideshow/album/etc.

...

I don't batch process [and don't recommend it] because every picture is going to be slightly different, and to get the best results they need individual attention. After all; that's what we're paid for.

As for sizing, I give my brides full size images, but many photographers don't because the bride would be able to print anywhere with full resolution files. So if your business model depends heavily on print sales it might be best to resize your files.

Hope that helps.

David Schilling - Chicago, Illinois , Aug 10, 2008; 08:41 a.m.

First I make a seperate folder of copies of the originals ( I keep my originals untouched and saved for future needs). I do a batch action which includes sharpening, contrast, unsharp mask, and a few others to a folder of images (typically 30-50 per folder).The computer does all the work while I attend to other things and this leaves all thecorrected images open in PS. Then I eyeball each image and do any final adjustments prior to saving/closing.

Steve C. , Aug 10, 2008; 11:21 a.m.

While most here use Adobe Lightroom, I use ACDSee Pro 2 instead. It's half the cost ($130) and has a lot of editing and post-production tools that LR doesn't have, including the best shadow/highlight tool I've ever seen. It allows batch process of JPEG and RAW images, and has a very robust and detailed RAW processor. It does RAW processing in the background while you work on other images.

My initial pass thru of my images is to eliminate blurs, flubs, misfires, etc.and delete them. Once I've boiled my images down to just the best shots, I use ACDSee to drag images into the proper sequence (sometimes I shoot slightly out of sequence, and I like to group all the details shots together, establishing shots, guys, girls, etc.). Once everything is in the right sequence, I batch renumber them so they're numerically sequential.

I then back up everything to a second hard disc for safety. Then, I start looking at groups of images that all need the same thing done to them. Low-light shots that are a little noisy get batch-de-noised and sharpened. I check outdoor shots with sky in them for any signs of dust specs on the sensor and use Photoshop to stamp-tool the specs out. I look at groups of images that require brightening of shadows or dark areas, and will batch-process them in ACDSee.

The key to speed in post-production is evaluating groups of shots that all need the same thing done to them, and using batch processing tools effectively. If you simply open each image and work on it individually, you'll be forever at the task.

Steve Hovland , Aug 10, 2008; 07:50 p.m.

First I throw out all the obviously bad pictures - blurred, out of focus. The last wedding I did I went from 750 to 200 images at this stage.

Then I cropped the remaining images. I used 4x6 but no pixels setting so there's a lot of pixels left for larger prints if needed.

Then I color correct, using the highlights to neutralize a white as best as possible, then the midtones to get the skin at 7-10% more yellow than magenta. You can color correct a whole bunch of similar pictures by making an action with cc tool included and tweaking the cc tool for each group, then running a batch.

My last stage is an action that applies a curve that darkens the low tones starting at about 40 with everything above it fixed. Then I flatten the image back to jpg depth and finally do edge sharpening, which I think is kinder to skin.

Heather P , Aug 17, 2008; 01:16 a.m.

Thanks everyone - you have given me great information.

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