Yeah. You read that right but before I continue, let me say that this isn’t going to be for everyone and I understand that. The one thing that I pride myself on is my turnaround time for my couples. I’m seriously impatient so I’m just going to assume that everyone else is too. I am also a single mom, I do customer service for Pixifi (what seems like 24/7), I have a life and I take vacations and go out. So with all that said, if I can do it, then you can too.
Wedding season is upon us (yay!) and here we are with weddings back to back to back, along with other sessions in between. There are days where we feel like we are drowning in edits and as days go on, all I’m hearing is “it’s taking me 4-5-6-7+ weeks to deliver weddings. WHAT?!?! I mean I get it, I’m busy too (as I write this, I should be taking a shower getting ready for a hockey game) but there is really no reason that you can’t bust out a wedding in less than 2 weeks.
Well oh wiseass one, how do you do it? Oh well thank you for asking because I’m about to tell you. Go figure, right? I’m simply going to break it down day by day. Unfortunately I just started editing a wedding yesterday or I would love to have exact times for you. The first couple of parts I do so you can kind of guesstimate to the best of your knowledge the rest of them.
Day after the wedding (or night of depending on what time you get home)
(Note: Saturday’s wedding was 6 hours, just me shooting and I had 997 finals. Took me 1 hour to cull/sort)
Upload to Lightroom
Cull through wedding. As I’m culling, I’m rating and color coding them. 5 stars are ready and out the door, color codes are the time of day (prep, details, ceremony, etc). Once these are done, I export to individual folders per the time of day so each one is in it’s own folder. Word to the wise, do this. When I upload them to Pixieset to deliver, they all go in different folders to. This makes it so much easier for your client to find a particular photo.
Day 2 – Cull for blog post
Culling for blog took me 15 minutes
– This is where I will go through each individual folder and pull for the blog post and put them in a separate folder.
Editing for blog post was 1 hour 20 minutes
– Once I’ve done that, I will start to edit those. Saturday’s wedding ended up with 86 photos (it was family so there was A LOT included). I normally don’t put that many photos in a blog post but it is what it is.
Day 3 – Post blog
This will usually take me about an hour. I know some swear by BlogStomp but I didn’t like it so if you use it and love it, this will take you less time.
I’m going to stop right there for a minute. Do you see how each day is only about an hour, maybe 2? This is where other editing comes in, letting the dogs outside because they heard someone walking down there street and procrastinating.
On the forth day….1-2 hours depending on how many finals
Start picking a folder. I usually start with prep and work my way through the day. Sharing on Facebook/Instagram as I go through them.
Day 5 – Next….
On to the next folder. I may have already gotten 2 parts of the day editing depending on what I picked so this also many turn into a skip day.
Day 6 – Definite skip day
Usually on this day, I’m shooting another wedding so I’m not touching last weeks wedding at all.
Working on starting the process all over again because I had a wedding on day 6
Day 8 – Finish up another folder
At this point I’m probably at formals. Family formals I don’t touch because I’ve already edited them in Lightroom. I’m more focused on the bridals because if anything is getting printed and blown up, it’s going to be those. Editing time is about 2-2 1/2 hours depending.
Finalize reception. I spend maybe 30 minutes on these. I’ve editing most in Lightroom so I might pull them into Photoshop if there’s a first dance shot that I didn’t convert to b/w in Lightroom or there is something that I need to edit out.
This is where I will take the ones that I edited for the blog post and put them back in the main folder. I have a separate folder that are already watermarked that were uploaded to the blog and then will eventually go on Facebook…when I get around to it.
Send them to the client and you’re done!
So going back, let’s add this up. With a quick estimation, I have about 10 hours into a wedding in 9 days. How is that 6-8+ weeks? Do not get me wrong. I get that other people’s way of doing things is different. This is what works for me and this is what my clients love and tell others. I shoot 30-40 weddings a year so obviously this is going to depend on how many you shoot. I will not shoot any more than that. I’m not a photographer that will jam pack my calendar just to say I’m shooting a wedding every weekend. I know my limits and have no problem saying no.
You need to do what works for you. You need to get in that groove and don’t get out of it. I’m a huge procrastinator so if I don’t edit this way, I’m sitting on a session/wedding for what seems like forever and I don’t like that. I don’t like making my clients wait so I don’t. Understand that it’s okay to have in your contract that you take up to 8 weeks, I have in mine that it will take at least 4 weeks but remember under promise and over deliver.