I think one of the hardest things about being a wedding photographer is managing all the work you're left with post-wedding. It's easy to assume that wedding photographers are taking pictures most of the time, but really, it's the opposite. I might shoot one wedding and two sessions in a week (for a total of 13-ish hours), but then I'll spend 35-40 hours editing, blogging, e-mailing and doing admin stuff. Last wedding season, I had 12 weddings and I worked another job, so it was a little tricky finding time to get everything done. I did relatively OK getting everything turned around (my goal was always four weeks), but I just felt frazzled and unorganized ALL THE TIME.
This year, I'm hoping that change that, plus turn photos around in two weeks! I've been brainstorming all slow season on the best workflow to make this all happen, while keeping my sanity, and I wanted to share it with you all!
That up there is how I want my days to go come busy season. Here's the breakdown of what I have to get done from the time a wedding ends to when I post the full blog of that wedding:
- Cull all photos (I do this in Aperture and use a star system to keep everything organized. Five stars mean the photos make the full blog post, three means they make the best-of-day edit but not necessarily the blog, and one means they make the digital negatives disc).
- Export original files to a folder on my hard drive.
- Back up originals on my external hard drive and my cloud.
- Edit a few favorite photos for a sneak peek wedding blog.
- Edit all photos in Aperture (My editing in Aperture consists of putting a preset on all photos and fixing the exposure, contrast, white balance, and colors on each. It sounds like a lot, but Aperture allows you to batch process, so if I do an edit that I like on one portrait, I can generally copy that exact edit to all other similar photos. It saves SO much time).
- Export all edited photos to a folder on my hard drive.
- Do a light edit in Photoshop for those photos that need it (My editing in Photoshop consists ONLY of touching up skin and popping eyes a tad. Photoshop can get cumbersome, so I do as much as I can in Aperture).
- Back up all edited photos on my external hard drive and my cloud.
- Upload all edited photos to a client gallery.
- Burn photos to discs, wrap client gift, write thank-you card, package everything and mail it.
- Create a full blog post (this consists of getting my photos blog-ready via Blog Stomp, reviewing my client's "Get to Know You" form so I can write the intro text, putting together a vendor list, and creating a slideshow).
- Submit wedding for publication, if applicable.
- Delete photos from Aperture.
Whew. I'm tired just looking at all of that. I really have tried to hone my workflow to just the essentials, and while I'm sure there will continue to be tweaks here and there, I really think all that stuff is essential for MY business. I totally understand that it doesn't work for everyone!
So, I knew that I wanted to get all those bullets up there into a two-week timeframe, and I have played with so many calendars until I reached a process that I think just might work!
Saturday #1: Shoot wedding #1. Sunday #1: OFF (It's reallllly important for me to have time off during the week or I get burned out. And this way, I can spend time with Nathan since we usually don't see each other on Saturdays [his other day off]). Monday #1: Cull wedding #1 (All of it! No exceptions). Edit a few favorite photos. Tuesday #1: Post a sneak peek blog of wedding #1. Spend the rest of the day doing business-related stuff that usually gets lost in the busy-season shuffle. Wednesday #1: Edit all photos from wedding #1 in Aperture. Thursday #1: Edit all photos from wedding #1 in Photoshop. Friday #1: Do business-related stuff or edit a portrait session if I have any. Saturday #2: Shoot wedding #2. Sunday #2: OFF. Monday #2: Cull wedding #2. Edit a few favorite photos. Tuesday #2: Post a sneak peek blog of wedding #2. Upload photos from wedding #1 to client gallery, put together the package and mail it, and schedule a full blog post (all for wedding #1). NOTE: Scheduling the blog post ahead of time is huge for me. This way I'm not scrambling to get it done the day it's scheduled to go live. Wednesday #2: Edit all photos from wedding #2 in Aperture. Thursday #2: Post full blog of wedding #1 (remember that I scheduled it, so I don't really have to do anything here). Edit all photos from wedding #2 in Photoshop. Friday #2: Submit wedding #1 for publication, if applicable. Do business-related stuff or edit a portrait session if I have any.
And the process continues to repeat itself. I do make sure to leave one weekend open a month so that I can have a mental break and actually spend a whole weekend with Nathan. With him working a M-F job, we have opposite schedules and tend to be like ships in the night during the summer.
I know this was suuuuper long, but I hope it helped at least one person! Feel free to e-mail me questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to help in any way I can.