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My Post-Processing Process and Why I Charge What I Charge in Atlanta

What really happens after your photo session…

Most people are not aware of how much time and work goes into the images after the photographer takes a picture. And as we all know “Time is MONEY!!!” I decided early in my career that I would never underprice my work. Time is my most valuable currency.

And sometimes it helps to let people know about the process that happens between the photo shoot and the gallery delivery. It also explains why the turnaround time is somewhere from 2-3 weeks for a family session and close to 6 weeks for a Wedding session.

  1. My camera has a double slot to hold 2 memory cards, just in case one card fails (which happens more often than you think 😬) the other one has it covered. In a regular 1-hour family session I take between 1.000 and 1.500 images, depending a little on the family dynamics and age of the kids… When I get home from the photo shoot, those pictures (!all of them!) go to 2 independent 5 TB external Hard Drives (again, machines fail sometimes…) which can take up to 30 minutes to load, because all my images are taken in RAW modus.

  2. To sort out the images that I intend to edit, I load ALL OF THEM into Adobe Bridge and give the great ones a 5-star rating. That could be anything between 150-400 images and can take up to 90 minutes. So far no image has been edited.

  3. From there the chosen pictures are loaded into Adobe Lightroom, where they will get their first editing process using presets. Understanding that every picture is different and lighting is changing due to location and time of the day, I review EVERY IMAGE and adjust accordingly. That process can take up to 5 hours 😳.

  4. Some pictures need more adjustment that Lightroom is not able to and they get loaded into Adobe Photoshop. You have probably heard about that program when the media is talking about a picture being photoshopped. I use it to soften acne in senior pictures or eliminate street signs and cars from backgrounds. And sometimes to add a beautiful sky… Every picture is hand-edited.

  5. All edited images now go into an “edited” folder on my external hard drive, now converted into Jpeg.

  6. The next step is to open Adobe Photoshop again. Using the “scripts" feature, I convert all colored images from the “edited” folder to add a Black and White version.

  7. Finally, I use Shootproof, my gallery delivery system to upload both versions for the clients to view and download desired images. I customize each gallery with different features. Another hour for setup and upload of images. Most times I have around 5 galleries life at the same time for about 2 weeks. That is the timeframe when the images need to be downloaded to your computer!

Multiple images of a family photo shoot
Gallery view in Shootproof

That’s when my clients get their email which says something like “Your beautiful gallery is ready!”

From the gallery, my clients can buy packages, download digital files, or order beautiful linen-covered albums, that take me another hour and a half to design and order.

I hope I could give you all a little overview of my process AFTER the photo session and a deeper understanding that the pictures I take when we meet are very different from the final product.

I am proud to say that I put many years of learning the editing software and directing my clients into beautiful-looking poses permits me to charge prices that allow me to further pursue this profession and continue to support my family.


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