This is part four to a 4-part series of shooting a wedding. I’m assuming you’ve already read the following:
And now you’re here. You’ve shot the wedding. Now what?
I would be lost without Honeybook. It’s like having a virtual assistant who sends me reminders, gets me paid, and most importantly, organizes my workflow. As you book more and more projects, different people will be in different stages of your process. How are you going to manage that? For me, it’s Honeybook. Here's a screenshot of my cutsomized workflow above. This helps me see where everyone is in my process. You can customize yours however you’d like. I Have a 50% off code if you’re interested in signing up for Honeybook. That makes the app $200 instead of $400. It’s literally worth thousands to me. If you use my code when you sign up, I give you a free 30-minute mentor session. This isn’t to teach you how to use Honeybook. Honeybook’s top-notch customer service will do that. My mentor session is to help you in whatever part of your business you need. Let’s do this.
Okay, you shot the wedding. First. You MUST backup your cards.
Keep your files on cards until the wedding has been delivered. All RAWs backed up on two different Lacie Rugged Hard Drives. One stays at my office, one stays at my home. I’d also recommend looking into a cloud-based backup service.
Adobe Bridge - I typically just open the raws full screen (by hitting the space bar) and quickly scroll through one by one hitting the “1” button to 1-star the photo as a keeper. Keep one hand on the right arrow key and one hand on the “1” button. Go through as quickly as you can and let your gut take over. If you feel like it’s a good photo, “1” it. If you think it’s okay “2” it. If it’s a photo you want, but don’t want to include in the gallery “3” it. Culling is an art. Try and be very selective picking the very best frame from each scene. I decide first if I like the scene, then I really focus on micro adjustments of the couple. How their mouths and eyes look. Their hands, how they’re leaning in to each other. Those little adjustments in a 1-2 second period can make the photo that much better. Try not to include more than 2 photos or so from each scene. I see so many photogs (Myself included. Guilty.) Including way too many photos from each scene which makes the final album 1,000+ photos. IMO that’s too much. We’re the artists. Be selective. Less is more. Let them LOVE each photo, don’t make them decide which is best.
At the end of culling look at how many you have. If you have enough “1”s you’re all set. If not, add in the “2”s and you’re good to go.
A lot of people swear by Photo Mechanic. I tried it. It seemed the same as Bridge for the most part. I’d recommend either one, but whatever you do. Please, cull outside of Lightroom. Your Lightroom catalog should only be photos you’re going to edit.
Pro Tip: Eliminate any and all distractions when culling: phones, kids, Netflix. Put on fast-paced music and GO! I can cull 5,000 images in about 1-1.5 hours. Not sure if that is fast or slow, but feels right.
At this point after bringing all the “1-starred photos” I edit 20 or so from throughout the day and export them. I create a unique gallery of sneak peeks and send these to the couple and all the vendors. My goal is a 24 hour turnaround on these, but sometimes it ends up being 48 hours.
For editing I use Lightroom, some Photoshop, very rarely Alien Skin Exposure. I prefer to make a new catalog for every single wedding. This keeps all my catalogs small since Lightroom doesn’t like loading thousands of images. I take all the “1”s into Lightroom and create smart previews to speed up the editing process. I use the same starting presets (Mastin Labs) and go through a process of editing each photo. The more you can shoot with the same settings when you’re in the same light, the quicker your editing process will be. Edit the first photo in that light, then copy and paste the settings on to all the next photos. Then you can quickly scroll through and do minor tweaks to those rather than the same tweaks to each photo. I’m at about 8 hours for 600 photos currently. Always looking to speed up though. If you’ve got good tips, DM me. Now that you’ve edited the entire wedding, time to export. I export at 100% full resolution and use JpegMini compression plugin to reduce the file size, see more about that below.
Mastin Labs Portra Pushed for color edits, my black & white is a custom preset. Find your base and build from there. I like to create a few new tweaked presets for each wedding cause you end up doing the same tweaks over and over again.
JpegMini - Use Jpeg Mini to compress your files. It takes a 9-12mb file and brings it down to 2-3mb. Way easier for the client to download and share. It does it without any loss of information to your photo either. Still high-quality print ready. Use promo code TONYW for 20% off. https://www.jpegmini.com/
They have a plug-in so this can all happen automatically upon export from Lightroom.
I like to keep it organized by parts of the day (highlights, getting ready, first look, etc.). I go through all 600+ photos at the end in Adobe Bridge and “1” star my favorites again. So of the 600, I’ll have 100-150 images. Those will be duplicated in the gallery as the highlights tab (the first part of the gallery they see). This way they don’t get inundated with invite and detail shots and family photos as they first open their gallery. I also use those 100-150 images to create my blog so doubling up the use for doing that second cull.
NOTE: I am currently looking at switching from Pixieset to Pic-Time because of the better printing options, but I haven’t fully switched over yet.
Okay, so you have the gallery all dialed and you’re ready to send it off. Awesome, I like to try and imagine where the couple is and what they’re doing before I deliver. I like night time or weekends so the couple can sit down and go through them for the first time together. If for some reason it’s earlier than 30 days from their wedding date, I wait. I think 30-45 days is the magic window where it’s a quick turnaround, but they’ve had a chance to go on their honeymoon and forget a little bit about their wedding day. Also early enough that I’m not getting antsy texts from the couple. I send off the gallery and explain how to use pixieset again so they don’t screenshot a low-res preview. Gallery sent!
After a couple days, I’ll follow up with an email. I like to ask for a review at this point. Part of my business includes a donation on their behalf so I’m collecting what charity they would like to donate to as well. Lastly, I give them the option of two things: 1. Receive a complimentary custom gift (currently a custom-made leather envelope with 25 - 5x7 prints) OR 2. they can choose to receive $100 off their album if they purchase it this week. This gives a bit of a sense of urgency and helps motivate them to get an album.
Last thing, the vendors. I’ll go more in-depth on this with an upcoming article, but I use those 1-star 100-150 photos and create an additional vendor gallery. That way the vendors are getting my very best shots. Also, I include all the detail shots and any vendor shots as well. I send this off to all the vendors for them to use for social media. Don’t forget to include the list of vendors’ social handles so you get yourself credit.
Social & Blog
Now that the gallery is delivered, make sure to backup all the final photos on both hard drives. They also live on Pixieset so they have at least 3 homes. Next I take the highlight photos and create a little social story using an app called Unfold. This is a great way to share the photos with your followers, but just as important, tag all the vendors in each story post. This way they can just hit the “add to story" button and now you have a ton of vendors sharing your work.
Next, create a blog on your site. Make sure to write 250-500 words and include all the keywords you’re after. Your local area, the venue name, wedding photography, etc. There’s a ton more info about this, but that’s not for this article. Check out Ryan Horban for some more info on how to write wedding blogs.
I share this blog link on Facebook and tag the couple. Facebook is great cause it will show up on the couple’s feed and all their friends and family will see them and comment.
After that, I take a couple of my favorite photos and share them across all the Facebook photography community groups I am a part of. This is a great way to engage with your community, make friends, get feedback, followers, etc.
Are we done yet?
Yes, that’s it. Hahahaha. All in it’s 45-60 hours or so if you include an engagement session, shooting, editing, culling, client convos etc. Are you charging enough?
These are all my steps
But I’d love to hear if you have helpful ideas for things I’m missing. As always, shoot me a DM if you enjoyed this, learned something or have any questions.
Need help with your business?
Check out my mentor sessions through the link below. I’d love to help you level up your business.