In this blog post, we provide the details of our wedding photography post-production process, from transferring the files from our cameras’ SD cards to uploading the photos to our online gallery.
1. Backups After covering a wedding day, the first thing we do is to make sure that we backup the photographs. We transfer all the raw photos from our cameras’ SD cards (where we still keep copies) onto two other storage devices—a computer and an external hard drive. In this way, we ensure that if, by a stroke of bad luck, our computers encounter an error, we have safe backups of the photographs. We thus store the photos on three devices (SD cards, computer, and external hard drive) until we have delivered the results to the client. Once we have safely backed-up the photos, we import them to Adobe Lightroom so we can start the selection process.
The selection process involves searching for the best photos by carefully examining every single picture. By “best photos,” we mean images that are sharp, well composed, have good lighting, and exhibit the most appropriate mood for the specific scenario (e.g., a group picture of the couple’s parents, the couple kissing during the ceremony, or a carefully composed portrait of the couple during a private photo session).
From each wedding scenario, we select one, two, or three photos (depending on whether photographs from the same scenario have different artistic values). For example, take a look at the following two pictures from a private photo session. The scenarios and compositions are the same, but in the first, the bride and groom are looking at the same distant point, while in the second, they are closer to each other, have their eyes closed, and are kissing. These differences create a big difference in the mood and style of the two pictures. We select 10%–15% of the raw photos.
All the selected pictures are edited in a uniform style so that we can visually construct the couple’s wedding story. From the first selected picture till the last, we apply the same visual preset (configuration of settings, designed to achieve a certain look or style of your photo). This is not simply a matter of copying and pasting the preset; it means adjusting the preset settings to each picture, as the lighting and colors will vary from picture to picture due to differences in lighting and colors of different environments. For example, photos inside a church have a specific spectrum of light that is usually yellower and darker than outside, while in outdoor photos, the light is bluish and brighter; therefore, the preset settings must be adjusted for each picture, according to the picture particularities, in order to create a similar appearance from one picture to another.
After we have carried out the first round of preset customization for each photo, we repeat the process for better uniformity of the visual style. This is done because, after the first round of editing, we have a better overview of the color and light consistencies and inconsistencies from picture to picture and place to place (e.g., inside the church, the dinner venue).
Retouching involves manipulating a photograph, for example, by eliminating a cable or other small object or by correcting the lighting in a specific area. During the editing process, in addition to classic editing procedures, we mark the pictures that need more or heavier retouching. For example, below, we have eliminated the people from the background and reconstructed this area to create a more private space for the couple.
After we have done the necessary retouching, we export the edited and retouched photographs at the highest resolution from Adobe Lightroom to folders on our computer and an external drive. We then take one last look at the exported photographs just to make sure that everything looks right. If we notice any error appeared because of the exportation, we make the small changes on these photos and then export again, but only these.
When everything looks good, we upload all the photos to our private online download gallery to be finally shared with the client.