Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Refine Your Imaging Workflow
Wedding photojournalism is a day-in and day-out, high-pressure shooting environment but if you can master this workflow, you can do anything
I was drawn to wedding photojournalism because, for me, it's the perfect combination of documentary street photography and imagery that infuses moments of humor and levity; it simply makes people feel good. On a regular basis, I'm invited into the lives of strangers, armed with the task of finding the elements that make their worlds unique. A stage has been set with characters and lush backdrops. At times, I become a director; at other times, I'm a stylist or even a therapist. In most cases, I'm a silent voyeur recording the events as they unfold.
While these details and characters may change on a regular basis, one thing that has remained constant throughout my 15 years of shooting weddings has been the frenzied pace of the day. A typical wedding day for me consists of eight to 10 hours of straight shooting in an often jovial, but action-packed atmosphere. Emotions during weddings run the gamut from extreme joy to extreme hysteria. As the photographer, I'm often one of the first vendors on the scene and one of the last to leave. I work closely with my couples. With the pace and emotions of the day, it's crucial that I not only stay focused, but also do so with enthusiasm, confidence and a smile on my face, remaining calm within the maelstrom of the day. The more at ease I can make my subjects feel, the more I get out of them in my photographs, and the happier they'll be with the results.
How Many Images In A Day?
Having a solid grasp of my equipment and workflow is crucial to providing me with the mental clarity to concentrate solely on the creative and visual side of the day. My couples return from their honeymoons eager to see their photos, to see the things that went by in a blur for them. Quite a bit of time, effort and love has been put into their wedding day, and now it's time to “see” what they created. With a typical day bringing in from 1,000 to 2,000 images, maintaining a solid workflow is critical to staying ahead and delivering their printed proofs in a timely fashion, thus keeping everyone happy and ensuring solid referrals later.
Because a wedding has a specifically defined timeline, these images also need to be delivered in a precise, chronological order. And the large volume of images has to be catalogued properly and easily referenced for future print or album sales. I must be able to find my “selects” when I need them for future advertising or promotion. The easier it is for my couples to find their images when they receive their digital files, the better off for all of us. Most importantly, because every image is irreplaceable, I want to ensure the files are protected at all costs. Every step of the way is well rehearsed to save as much time as possible in the end and to enable the spirit and passion of creativity to stay alive in my work.