The journey your photos go on to get to you

April 24, 2021

Well! What a fab day!

I clocked up more miles than you’d think possible around a house, church and wedding venue … worked up a sweat carrying around 20kg of kit … shed tears … probably cut myself … definitely bruised myself … filled memory cards with thousands of photos … and went to sleep feeling sore, exhausted but very very fulfilled.

But now the work really starts.

Yep, taking photos on a wedding day is just the beginning.

And while you’re in The Maldives working on your tan, I’ll be sat at my desk working on your photos.

Want to know what I’ll be doing to your photos?

Welcome to the world of post-production – aka wediting …

What to expect when you’re expecting your wedding photos

Your photos will be ready in two weeks. (Think that sounds quick? It is. My wedding photographer friends aren’t sure whether I’m crazy or a robot!)

But despite the speed, this is actually the most time-consuming part of the entire wedding photography process.

See, I know how long the wait feels when you’re excited about seeing your photos. So when I created SVP, an efficient post-production process that allows me to deliver quality quickly – without losing the will to live – was a top priority. And it’s been a priority ever since.

But what gives?

Well, my motto is “Surround yourself with people who make you look good.” Yep, it’s a team effort! I’m supported by a picture editor and we take our job of polishing every pixel of your photos seriously.

Here’s a rundown of what we’ll do to get your photos ready for you.

Virtual security

This one’s on me. My very first task after your wedding (well, after changing into my PJs and grabbing a cuppa) is to download your photos from the memory cards to my computer.

Then, I back everything up … not once, not twice, but three times onto three separate hard drives, one of which is a mirrored drive. So including the memory cards, there will be six copies of your wedding photos. #moreismore

You might have guessed … I’m paranoid about keeping your photos safe. So I store one copy away from the office in case of a fire or break-in. And I even sleep next to my memory cards so I know they’re ultra-safe and can grab them in the middle of the night if I need to.

This stage alone takes a few hours … and I haven’t even looked at your photos yet!

Curating your story

So you know how most people hate Monday’s? Well, I love them! Because I get to hang out with your photos for the first time.

Apart from a cursory check, I don’t get time to look at your photos much on your wedding day – because I’m too busy taking them! So by the time Monday arrives, I’m bursting to see what I actually captured. I try to be methodical and start at the beginning but I always end up looking at all the photos first!

Once I’ve got that out of my system, it’s time to sift, sort and select your photos.

I go through all the images and remove the test shots, duplicates, unflattering expressions and random pictures I somehow manage to take of the sky, floor and inside of my camera bag. (You might also like to read why you wouldn’t to see all the photos I take.)

Then, because your photos start in the order they were taken, I sort all your pictures into the order of the day. So your respective getting ready photos will be collated rather mixed up, venue photos that were taken earlier in the day come up when you actually arrive there, dinner décor pictures come just before your wedding breakfast pictures rather than dotted amongst your drinks reception photos … That way the whole set will flow as a story that’s easy and enjoyable to look through.

Next, I mark the ones I want to change into black and white, save the whole selection, back it up, and send it to my picture editor for the next stage.

This is a slowwww process and takes several solid days … but it’s the foundation for a magical result.

Technical adjustments

It’s time to start editing.

Now, to put it bluntly, the photos that come out of the camera are flat and lifeless. Cameras are great at recording information, but not so great at deciding what information to show. So the point of editing is to bring out the correct information. (This is what allows photographers to create a personal editing style.)

It’s like ordering a pizza. You don’t want the ingredients just handed to you – and that’s basically what your photos are at the moment … a load of data waiting to be cooked up. You want the full experience – a delicious, ready-made treat that looks good enough to eat.

So once your images arrive with my editor, they’ll work on each one individually. No shortcuts! These are your wedding photos we’re talking about.

Exposure, colour, contrast, and composition will be checked and adjusted. Because cameras (and let’s be honest, occasionally humans!) aren’t always good at getting these things right.

We’re about half-way through the process now. Which means …

Happy One Week Anniversary, you two!

Now it’s time for …

Retouching

“Wait! Sarah! I don’t want to be airbrushed like a skincare ad. I don’t want the sky to look fake. I want natural!”

Great! Me too!

I want you to look at your photos and think, “Wow, they’re amazing. They look so crisp. The colours are gorgeous! Everyone looks radiant!”

Without being able to tell what, if anything, has been done.

Our typical retouching work includes:

  • Removing ugly distractions – like fire exit signs, toilet signs and ‘phone wires
  • Clearing skin break-outs
  • Toning down flushed faces. (Surprisingly common during ceremonies!)
  • Softening double chins. (Can’t avoid them when you’re laughing!)
  • Removing stray hairs. (Although if it’s a windy day and your hair’s upside down there’s not a lot we can do! Soz!)

Things we don’t do:

  • Whiten teeth
  • Enhance eye colours
  • Remove tan lines
  • Correct fake tan

We can do these things for you, but it’s significant and specialist work. And I don’t want to charge you for something you might not need. So if you’d like more extensive retouching, let me know and I’ll send you a quote.

Once any cosmetic corrections are complete, some of your photos are converted into black and white.

Almost there.

The JPGS are born

It’s time to make the jpgs.

The original file format (a RAW file) is brilliant because it stores more colour and exposure information than a jpg. Which means I can accurately replicate the colours and look of your day when editing. But they’re HUUUGE files and only specialist software like Lightroom and Photoshop can read them.

So my editor converts them into jpgs for you and then passes the baton back to me.

The quest for quality

Having not seen your images for a week or so, I’m excited to see them looking shiny and new.

I’ll race to my inbox, tea in hand, and settle in for a final review. I’ll check, fine-tune, tweak, fiddle and diddle until my heart’s content.

And once I’m happy, I’ll make multiple back-ups and then give Daisy and Poppy a cuddle, ‘cause that’ll be a full day that’s zipped past without them getting any attention!

Flying the nest

The minute your photos are ready, I’ll upload them to a private password-protected web gallery and email you the access details.

You (and your friends and family) are most welcome to download and start sharing your photos straight away.

Then, I’ll pop your photos onto a USB stick. You’ll get high-resolution versions for printing and low-resolution versions for social media. And I’ll also include colour versions of the black & white ones.

Finally, I’ll hand it over to the post office and tell them to be extra careful with their precious cargo.

Phew!

What an epic journey!

Curious to see some real-life wediting?

Check out these before and after wedding photos.