Friday, August 15, 2008

This Weekend: Editing Senior Portraits, Shooting Another Senior Portrait

This weekend, I will be editing photos I took during Jordan's senior portrait session in downtown Denver last Saturday evening. I am also schedule to take senior pics of Jordan's buddy, Nina, this Saturday, so wish me luck. Jordan's session was very fun. She was open to try just about anything I could throw at her during the shoot. Shooting in the early evening right before sunset and into the night was the perfect time and I couldn't have asked for more wonderful, even lighting! Felisa did a fanstatic job with Jordan's makeup. And it was wonderful to hear her growing excitement about her senior year. The photo session made her feel special, and she said "This year really is about me, isn't it?" It certainly is, and I wish you all the fun and happiness in the world, Jordan! Congratulations.

I will be trying a new editing process with Jordan's photos, and I'm a little uneasy about it, so I thought I would share it here and get some advice. Last night, I took a business management course hosted by Illuminate Workshops. Wedding Photographer Jim Turley was the instructor. This is the second time I took the class because I really wanted to make sure I understood and retained the information since I know how important it is to have a good solid business foundation.

Some information Jim shared with the class last night made me fear that I had been really messing things up concerning my time management in my editing process. Jim said that he only does an initial edit of images for lighting adjustments, sharpening and noise. Then he shows proofs to the client. The client picks out the images they want in their album, and Jim then edits only those images.

Seem as if I've been doing everything backwards! I usually edit ALL of my images before I let the client see them. It makes me feel uneasy showing clients a basically RAW, unfinished product because part of my skill set (and consequently what I'm selling) is my Photoshop skills. The client can't visualize what the image will look like after I'm done crafting it to my particular style.

But Jim explained that it was wasting my time on images the client might never want. Plus, a turn around time of two weeks might be too long for the client who wants to see their images now, whether they have or haven't been edited. Other colleagues say they notice their sales drop off significantly if clients don't get to see images within a few days. My hope is that since I have photographed Jordan's family many times now, they will feel comfortable letting me try this new procedural change with her.

What has been your experience with this and what would you recommend I do?


Mark Hayes Photography said...

Actually I agree with both sides of this - to a point.

Editing dozens (or hundreds in the case of a wedding) of images when you don't know what the customer is going to like isn't a good workflow - but time trap that I myself fall into all too often.

What I've heard others recommend and others do is to select your favorite say 5 images and work those up. This will show the client what's possible on an image. Then if they want a something worked up, or done in a certain style you use, they can be selective about which ones to work up.

Sheba Wheeler said...

I like that idea a lot Mark about working up my five favorite shots to show the client what I can do and get some by-in from them on whatever process I might be trying to punch up their photos.

When I present the online proofing gallery, I think I will edit my favorite few shots and put them next to the unedited versions so they can see a Before/After type version.

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