Why does it take so long?
Although many photographers’ contracts state that final images will be available (on average) in 4-6 weeks, we are asked quite often just days after an event or a photography session, “When will my pictures be ready?” I promise you, we don’t hold back to make you squirm. 😀 We do want you to have your images as quickly as possible.
Whether you’ve just had a fun time with me on a portrait session or your son or daughter just got married, you’re naturally excited to see the resulting photos as soon as possible. Wedding photos are perhaps the hardest to wait for. I know this first hand because I’ve been mother-of-the-groom! The day is over so fast, and you’re still on a wedding “high” wanting those feelings and emotions to linger. What better way than by reliving the moments looking at pictures from the day?
I know this is hard in today’s technologically advanced digital age of instant gratification. Your friends and family post their snapshots from their cell phone cameras before the event is even over. Pictures from Uncle Bob taken with his digital SLR camera may be posted as early as the same night or the next day. How fun that they’re able to share their pictures so quickly and keep that smile on your face! We love them for that. 🙂 I want a flood of emotions to come rushing back when you see the final images I deliver to you as you relive those exact moments in your mind.
Think of it this way… When you hire a professional photographer, you expect beautiful photographs. Right?
Professional level digital SLR cameras don’t create those beautiful photographs. The photographer makes those images. The photographer knows how to compose a shot. The photographer knows and fully understands all of the settings on their camera and how they work together. Most can even adjust those settings on the fly … blindfolded!
These cameras are pretty smart, but they aren’t perfect. The real magic happens in the digital darkroom. Professional photographers have professional software for photo editing (I prefer to call it processing). This is where we correct anything the camera didn’t get quite right and pour our style into the photos. That style could be high-contrast, light and dreamy, old-school film look, or dramatic and artsy. Whatever it may be, style doesn’t come straight out of any camera. It’s an art finely crafted by the individual photographer.
Still don’t understand what takes so long? Here’s a very brief summary of the many hours of work involved after the photos have been taken, the event is over, and I go home:
- Upload images to computer.
- Cull images and select only the very best for processing.
- Walk away and come back with fresh eyes to cull once more.
- Fine tune exposure, color, and composition (minimal cropping) as necessary.
- Apply advanced retouching (see below).
- Export final images from raw format to a new folder.
- Upload images to online gallery for viewing.
Advanced retouching is done to smooth out blemishes, stray hairs, and even lint from clothing. Did Aunt Ida leave some makeup on the groom’s shoulder when she hugged him? I can remove that, too … from every image after that hug. I’m that picky. 🙂 However, I won’t nip and tuck anyone to appear multiple sizes smaller than they actually are. I’m not one to alter reality to extremes. If a dress billowed out a bit in a breeze making a person appear five sizes larger than they actually are, I may alter that a little. As much as possible, though, I like to keep it real.
An important thing to remember is that many professional photographers have full- or part-time jobs outside of photography as well. Those who don’t have other jobs have multiple clients and prior sessions and events to complete. We set schedules for ourselves, and some actually stick to those schedules. It’s easy for us to push ourselves to work until the wee hours of the morning because we love what we do so much, but sleep is important.
While we want you to have your photos as quickly as possible, we also want those photos to stand out from the snapshots circulating the social networks. We know that’s what you want as well; otherwise, you wouldn’t have hired us. 🙂
Are you looking for a photographer for family portraits, senior photos, school pictures, engagement photos, a wedding, or other event? Contact me to discuss!