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Wednesdays Q&A {My Post-Wedding Workflow}

yay! the Wednesdays FAQ posts are BACK! ill be taking submissions for next weeks question up until sunday, so ask away!

this weeks most popular question was about wedding photography workflow, including backing up files, how long to back them up, editing processes and more. i wish i had a more glamorous way of saying how i do this, including some kind of glitter flying in the air and a a magic wand, but, unfortunately it just isn’t one of those things… haha. it’s more of the messy-bun and yoga pants part of my job, but probably just as rewarding as anything in the end! 😉 i am just going to lay out what works best for me, but in no way does it mean that i think i have the most efficient systems. in fact, a good photographer friend of mine was just challenging me a couple weeks ago on my workflow and how i could become more efficient, and i have already made a few changes from that conversation!! what i have learned is that this business is a process. systems and consistency is great but you have to be open to change for improvement, so this is what i do right now and hopefully i will continue to keep making adjustments as needed!

saturday (usually)
shoot the wedding (equipment: canon 5d mark iii, canon 5d mark ii, canon 35mm 1.4L, canon 50mm 1.2L, canon 85mm 1.2L, canon 70-200mm 2.8L, canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L I, 2 580EX flashes with pocket wizards)

at the wedding reception:
1. scott imports the RAW files to external harddrive 1, organized by card number. (western digital 2TB harddrive from costco)
2. once imported, i select my favorite 30 images on the harddrive and “add” them into lightroom 5 (not copying to my harddrive)
3. i then quickly edit my favorite 30 images while guests are eating dinner, export as jpegs and upload to PASS as “wedding teasers” (if there is no wifi, i will use the hotspot on my iphone) (if you are asking “what is PASS”, check out this post HERE explaining what it is and why i love it!)

once we get home from the wedding
3. start upload to external harddrive 2, RAW files organized by card number again.
4. while it is uploading, open up my blog-admin (wordpress)
5. write out my favorite moment of the day in full detail. (while it is still fresh and i can remember exactly what happened ~ sometimes i will even write this out in my notes app on my iphone in the car on the way home)
6. as soon as harddrive 2 is finished uploading, i import the remaining photos to lightroom 5 from the harddrive (again by “adding” files and not moving them to my computer harddrive)
7. export as new lightroom catalogue (named: bride + groom, date)
8. open new catalogue and rate my absolute favorite 50-70 images for the blog by marking them with a * (shortcut in lightroom is by using the “[” and “]” keys)
9. start backup to harddrive 3 before i go to bed
9. SLEEP! at this point i am exhausted 😉

the next day (usually sunday – i try to mostly rest on these days but there is about 3 hours of work i usually do)
10. take hard-drive 3 off-site (incase of theift, fire etc. someone once told me don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. smart.)
11. at some point throughout the day, i will take 1 hour and edit the 50-70 blog images, export to folder on my desktop called “bride + groom, blog”
12. import blog folder into blogstomp (where i have my size and watermark set for my blog)
13. blog stomp the images in the order in which i want them to appear on my blog.
14. add the images into my wordpress blog, then “insert all images”
15. upload the blog images to PASS for backup as a favorites folder
16. schedule the blog post for the next morning at 7:00am (monday)
17. schedule a facebook post announcing the blog at 7:30am (monday)

18. choose 24 of my favorite images for a facebook album out of the blog folder, use blogstomp to resize and add my watermark.
19. upload facebook album with caption linking to the blog. delete blogstomp folder on my desktop.
21. cull the rest of the photos. i do this in lightroom by using the “n” compare tool and choosing each photo i want to keep by pressing “p” to flag
21. once all photos are culled, i select a filter that only shows flagged photos
22. go through images and edit
(general editing process: color correct, darken shadows, increase vibrancy)
23. once all images are finished final edits, i export to desktop in a folder “bride + groom, full date”
24. before i leave the office for the day, i drag photos into PASS. start upload. as well as drag the fully edited JPEG folder to harddrive 1 (since i use PASS which already stores a backup of my high resolution jpegs in the cloud for 10 years, i only need to do 1 backup of the edited jpegs on my harddrive)

25. first thing in the morning i organize the pass gallery into 7 collections (the first, being the blog folder i previously uploaded named “Meg’s favorites”, then pre-ceremony, ceremony, family portraits, bridal party, bride & groom, reception)
26. send link to my client with full wedding gallery (i use showit plus sites for this, but the pass link works great too :))
27. copy/paste the client’s lightroom catalogue into their folder on each harddrive to backup edits.
28. SO, i guess you get to throw glitter in the air after-all…  because the post-processing on that wedding is FINISHED!! 😉

of course this timeline doesn’t happen for every wedding, and if we are traveling or shooting back-to-back weddings it can become challenging to get the images out this fast but it is always my goal, and this year we have been fairly consistent give or take a of couple days. one thing we started doing half way through the year is blocking off every monday and tuesday following a wedding from any other appointments so we have time to complete this process without any distractions, which is amazing! like i said, we are always looking for tweaks and ways to become more efficient, so i hope this was helpful for some of you and if you have suggestions for the next wednesday q&a post, post them up in the comments section below!!

**if you liked this post or found it helpful, it would be amazing if you could click the “like” button below or leave a comment in the comments section! thanks so much for being here and to read any of the other wednesday q&a posts, check them out here! 🙂 thanks again and have a beautiful day!!**

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  1. Michelle Sproat says:

    Wow what a schedule! Lots of hard work involved.’re amazing. 🙂

  2. Tiffany Heidenthal says:

    Oh my goodness you are so diligent with your back ups!

  3. Lukas VanDyke says:

    Excellent! Love it! =)

  4. Chelsea Wilkinson-Martin says:

    This is so great Meg! I love this workflow and I love that the images are to your couple so quickly. Do you do any slideshows? Thanks again for all the information:)

  5. Christine Michaels Yardy says:

    Hi Meg! Great meeting you at WPPI this year! Thanks so much for this post, I’m just trying to figure out my own workflow and it’s super helpful! I just wanted to ask you one thing about backing up your final edits. Do you actually export your final edits as jpegs to your clients folders on your hard drives or do you just copy the catalog files that contain the edits? Also, I was just wondering what program do you use to upload your RAW images to your hard drives?



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