Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday Tips for Photographers: Workflow advice after portrait sessions

Welcome to Tuesday Tips! - Free weekly advice and HOW TOs for photographers. Be sure and stop by our blog each Tuesday & please share this resource with your photographer friends as well!


In the photography business, taking photos is only a small portion of a professional photographers job. 

{graph compliments of shootdotedit}

If you're a photographer, editing photos is already taking up the majority of your time.... don't make it any more complicated than it needs to be!!!!

Here are my tips for a successful workflow:

  • Find a workflow that works for you, and STICK TO IT. Every photographer has a different workflow, so each time you hear about what someone else is doing, don't feel like you need to change what you're doing to add part of theirs. Too much of my time was once spent changing my mind and wasting my time. Now I've got a workflow that will take some pretty strong convincing to change. :)
  • If you don't have lightroom, GET IT. It's the quickest and most user friendly way to sort, edit, and export your images. Seriously, get lightroom if you don't have it... it will change your photo editing life.
  • Don't overshoot during the session. (I know, easier said than done) but once you know you've gotten a good shot, no need to take 25 more of the same thing.)- If I overshoot I start to get bored while I'm culling and it just takes all the fun away if there are waaaaay too many to go through!! My workflow got much better when I stopped overshooting.

Here is my portrait session workflow, and the time investment with each step: 

1) Communicating with the client & planning the session {30 minutes or so}

2) Driving to the portrait session and photographing them! {2.5 hours}

3) Right when I get home I'll load the RAW files onto the computer (while they load, I'm multitasking of course!) A typical family or senior session will yield around 400 photos. I store my image files on our server (which backs itself up) - in folders divided up by the year, then divided by the type of session, then I'll make a folder with the clients names. {15 minutes}

4) Import all the files into lightroom. (When I import them, I'll choose the option "Render Preview 1:1" & I'll apply one of my vignette & black boost presets) {2 minutes} 

5) As they're importing I'll usually snag some of my favorites and edit them for a sneak peek {1 hour}

6) I'll walk away from the computer and let them import and render the previews. When I come back they're all loaded, and I start sorting them (I've got my filters set up to keep only non-rejected images... so I'll go through and put an X on all the ones I don't want to keep and only see the ones I like.) {1.5 hours}

7) Once I've got the session narrowed down to my 30 or so favorite images, I'll color correct/retouch each one in lightroom. {2 hours}

8) Then I'll export them all to high res JPEGS. I'll open up a few of them in photoshop if I want to apply actions or do other things in photoshop that I can't do in lightroom. {15 minutes}

9) I'll open up the file  of images in Adobe Bridge & rename the collection as MMP_(with the file sequence) so it's a fluid collection and not a bunch of images with random numbers like IMG_2345, IMG_2349, etc. {5 minutes}

10) Then I'll import the JPEGS with the new names into lightroom, and export the entire collection into 3 folders. I have exporting presets saved which makes it really simple to export in different formats. {10 minutes}
a. For printing up to 8x12 (this is a folder the client will get if they purchase a disc.)
b. For the internet (resized smaller with our watermark. Also included on the disc.)
c. For Instaproofs. (resized smaller without watermark for the online gallery.)

11) Upload photos to online gallery, email the clients with a link, asking them when they'd like to come over for a print consultation, set up the consultation. {20 minutes}

12) Print consultation with clients where we show them our prints and products, give advice for arrangements  and help them decide which pictures would look best as enlargements. {1-3 hours}

13) Do final retouching for their images, order their prints & products {1-3 hours}

14) Receive their order in the mail, package it up for them to pick up or for us to mail out! {15 minutes}

The end! Grand time total.... drumroll please...... about 11-15 hours!

Do you feel lost in your workflow? Do you need a crash lightroom course? Consider one of our mentoring sessions where we can work with you one-on-one and get you in better workflow shape :)


Do you have a question that you'd like answered in a future Tuesday Tips post? Email your questions to Amy: info@memorymp.com - Thanks!
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  1. Todays post is great! I get close friends and family that think because thats what they are, that they can snag a deal. I don't just take pictures and edit them. It's a huge production. This post will help them understand that it's more than meets the eye. Thank you!

  2. Definitely right on... it takes so much more time than people realize!!


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