Do you always stress out about how much time it takes to edit a wedding start to finish? Do you ever try to figure out how to speed up your editing? Or do you just drag your feet through the mud and begrudgingly continue to do the same thing every time because “that’s how it’s always done”?
I want to talk about adjusting your workflow to speed up editing! I totally understand that it seems counterproductive to spend more time restructuring your workflow but I promise you, it’s worth it to consider making adjustments!
When I work with outsourcing clients my overall goal is to make their lives easier. I take a large chunk of work off of their plate, but at times I also help them with workflow and editing suggestions. No matter where you are at in your business, it is always going to benefit you to improve workflow.
Here is my recommended workflow.
As a side note, this is a perfect workflow if you ever decide to outsource editing. You complete steps 1-4 and an editor does step 5.
*You will probably fight against it because as the creative artist you are, you will want to find all the pretty images and edit them immediately. Am I right?? Stick with me though!*
- Cull your images.
- Lightroom and Photomechanic are great choices for culling. No matter where you choose to cull, decide on a folder and labeling system. One idea is to do a fast cull of each camera separately and then bringing them together to remove duplicates and excessive quantities. Another is to cull all images together. If you do this I would suggest adjusting camera capture times to be as close to each other as possible. (Can be done in both Lightroom and Photomechanic.)
- Reorganize your images in a Lightroom collection.
- Don’t wait to reorder and organize your photos until the very end of editing! This is a biggie when it comes to editing speed, especially if your capture times are off! So if you haven’t adjusted camera capture times during culling, this is the time to do that.
- Don’t know what a collection is? It is just a temporary “invisible” folder that you can name. It is only in Lightroom, not on your computer. You can put any images in a collection and rearrange them as needed by dragging and dropping. No images will move around in your hard drive. Film/hybrid photographers– this is the place to combine your film scans with digitals because you can move the scans around for a continuous time of day order. I usually label film scans as yellow so they can be easily found.
- Rename your files.
- Yep, rename your RAW files. (Smith wedding 001.CR2) This is not exporting. This is just renaming. If that freaks you out, remember you probably have the original file name raw files on an external hard drive as a backup somewhere else. Renaming your files is just another level of helpful organization. Plus it’s so much easier to go find a specific raw image for whatever reason 6 months after the wedding. If you have reorganized your images in a Lightroom collection, then select the images while they are in the collection and rename them. That way they will stay in their custom order!
- Pre-edit your favorites.
- I know what you are thinking. “Marcie I have to wait until step 4 to even edit any images???” Here’s the thing. Did you become a photographer to cull photos? I’m pretty sure that if you ask a photographer what their least favorite part of post processing is they will say culling. So guess what? We have to treat ourselves like kids and give us some motivation and incentive to get through the yucky part quickly. You can play video games once you take the dishes out…or even worse, clean the bathroom.
- Some photographers have this pre-editing process down, but I would guess a good chunk are still editing only their favorite couple portraits from the day before jumping into the whole wedding. Pre-edits from the entire wedding will not only give you a nice blog post, but they also give you anchor images to work from (batching and syncing edits) and will keep the editing consistent from start to finish. Plus all private editors will tell you that having anchor edits from ALL parts of the day, and more specifically all lighting changes, is one of the secrets to editing SO MUCH FASTER!
- Make sure to pre-edit EACH camera then review all pre-edits together to check for consistency.
- I suggest labeling them a color (I use red- Go to Photo > Set color label > color) and choosing about 10% of the images from these parts of the day: details, getting ready, ceremony, portraits, indoor/outdoor reception, dancing. If there are other major lighting changes try to include an edit from that time as well.
- Edit the remaining images one camera at a time.
- Once you have reviewed all of the pre-edited images together and adjusted any inconsistencies, you can move on to editing the rest of the wedding, one camera at a time. This is another speed tip! You’ll be able to sync adjustments with similar surrounding images that are hopefully close in exposure levels and white balance.
- Do any extra touch ups in Photoshop if needed and then you are good to deliver the images!
My final workflow recommendation is to take breaks. Don’t try to do it all in one sitting. Your frustration and stress levels will go up. Your eyes will glaze over and you’ll look like this…
One step at a time! You’ll still deliver your images faster than ever while keeping your sanity and exhaustion in check!