I will be the first one to say that I used to be terrible at my post-wedding turnaround. Having a full-time job as a middle school teacher, I had a lot of grading and planning to do outside of school, so adding a wedding to edit on top of my full time job was challenging. It normally took me 6-8 weeks to get weddings back to my brides, and sometimes it took even longer. I explained this to my brides ahead of time before booking me, but I still hated taking so long to get their pictures to them. I normally didn’t blog until after I had delivered the pictures to my brides, almost as an afterthought.
I quit my teaching job in 2014 to stay home with my son, which gave me the time to edit quicker and turnaround my weddings in a more timely manner. I can’t say my post-wedding process was honed in right away. I got to where my weddings were turned around in 3-4 weeks, but I wanted it to be better.
Last year, my business took a big leap in my amount of weddings I had. While teaching, I had on average 10 weddings a year, but in 2013/14 I cut back some to have a baby/work full time/be a mom. Once I quit, however, I was hoping to grow my numbers back up. I went from 6 in 2014 to 11 in 2015 to 22 this year in 2016! I doubled my wedding numbers each year the past two years! (I don’t plan on doubling again next year! Haha!) With this increase, I had to change my post-wedding process. Of my 11 weddings last year, I had a stretch last year that had me shooting 4 of them in a row. As I was preparing for these weddings, I got a little apprehensive in all of the editing I was going to face- this was my first stretch of so many in a row; so I decided that I would give myself the goal/requirement to turnaround and deliver a wedding before I shot the next one and make this a standard for all of my weddings from here on out.
With this newfound goal, I worked hard last year to deliver each wedding before I shot the next one; and I did it! (And have kept it up!! …with the exception of my recent stretch that I knew I wouldn’t be able to do due to two weekends in a row with 2 weddings each weekend!) This meant some of my brides were getting their pictures within a week of their wedding! I am a shoot and share photographer and my girls get on average 100 pictures an hour. Since I shoot a minimum of 8 hours, this means that my girls get at least 800 pictures, often many more. I edited all of the pictures and delivered them within a week!
Despite this awesome turnaround, I was still spending hours upon hours editing those weeks and staying up super late to make it happen. I still hadn’t perfected my post-wedding process. And then, last December, I took an online course from Katelyn James that changed my editing and post-wedding turnaround. This 6 week, 20 lesson course went through Katelyn’s post-wedding culling, editing, and delivery process and how she consistently edited her pictures to look the same. Our editing styles are different, but that didn’t matter. She wasn’t teaching how to edit like she did, but taught an effective post-wedding process and consistent editing.
I didn’t follow everything she taught verbatim, but definitely learned a lot; and many of the key things she taught in the first weeks of the course completely changed my process. From the course, I have created my own post-wedding workflow that has cut my editing time down and has allowed me to shoot 22 weddings this year, including 6 in 4 weeks, and not have to outsource my editing. I just finished my biggest stretch ever (that I just mentioned) of 6 weddings in 4 weeks, and I have delivered all but the last wedding what was two and a half weeks ago. I plan on finishing that last wedding by this weekend.
Next week, I will share some of my tools and tricks that have decreased my editing time and how I have been able to turnaround all of my weddings this year in 3 weeks or less, most being within a week of the wedding!
- Photo Mechanic
- Lightroom (no Photoshop)
- Lightroom presets
- Lightroom batch editing
- Tuesday blog posts
- save the best for last
- different folders to streamline the process
I look forward to seeing you here next week and sharing with you my process! If you’re interested, make sure you follow the blog to get updates as to when I post!