I've had a few clients ask me what happens to the images after the session and why it can take up to two weeks for them to be ready. Well here is a sneak peak for you!
Once the session is done. I will immediately back-up the disc and get it uploaded into my database to make sure the pictures won't get deleted. Granted, sometimes discs will become corrupted on their own for no reason but I do try to do everything to prevent that from happening. This usually takes 30-45 min to complete.
After that, I will go through and choose only the best images. What does that mean? That means I will get rid of the images that are test shots which are too far under/over exposed to be fixed. I will also get rid of the images where clients are blinking or making faces that are less than desirable. That means the images I show you during the viewing session will be the best of the best. This can take anywhere from 30min to an hour depending upon the length of the session.
Then I will do the simple edits like color correction, white balance correction, cropping if the image needs it, etc. That's the first step of the editing process and it can take up to an hour to edit and entire 2 hour session. If the session was more difficult to edit due to the sun not cooperating then it could take longer to balance the images out.
The second step of the editing process is spent on the minute details first and then the heavier edits. For instance, if I'm having to add a sky because it was an overcast day with no blue skies or if I have to remove a car or a person from the background because it ended up in the shot. I will also go through and do the beauty edits during this time. That means correcting skin tone, brightening eyes, whitening teeth, fixing fly-a-ways, removing blemishes, removing anything that can be distracting like fuzzies on a sweater. There are so many things that I look for that I couldn't possibly list all of them here. This process takes quite a bit of time depending upon the number of images.
The editing process above takes roughly 3 days as long as I'm not booked solid and I have time to get everything done right after the session. Then I will move on to the proof ordering stage. I hand select the images I believe are the absolute best and I will print them out as 5x7s and send them off to my chosen lab to be printed. It usually takes my lab 3-4 days to send those prints back to me.
After I get the proof prints, I will look over them to make sure the quality is great. Then I will matte them so that they are easier to handle during the viewing session. In all, this process can be completed in a week's time if no breaks are taken but that's simply not realistic. Photographers need food and sleep! I used to sit up all hours of the night editing images but it started to take a toll on my health so I've learned to pace myself.
Once everything is packaged and ready for your viewing session I will give you a call and let you know they are ready to be seen. Everything is ordered from the viewing session as I do not have online viewing. I would much rather put the images in your hands versus looking at them on a screen. Once ordered, I will send the ordering form off to the lab and within another week, all of the images and products should arrive. I always check the images and products for quality. If anything is wrong or not perfect (Even on the proofs) I will send it back to have the lab re-do it. That's why I chose a lab that guarantees their work.
The last step is packaging all of the finished products in my special little details. I want the finished images to feel like a gift to open when you finally get them! Most clients will have their images in hand 2 weeks from the session as long as there are no hiccups. Normally, if the lab makes a mistake, they will express ship the replacement so it won't take as long. Either way, it's still another two days but at least the product is perfect once it arrives.
I will not settle for anything less than my own quality standards and my lab knows this very well. We work hand in hand to make sure everything is just right. This is the level of customer service I provide for all of my clients and I hope it shows when you are admiring your gorgeous images!
Have questions about the process? Please ask me! I'd love to discuss it with you and answer your questions.
Have a blessed day =)
Christa N. Reed