When it comes to your images, we know you have questions. How long is it going to take? How are they going to look? Can you remove blemishes or other things I don't want in the image?
What really determines the amount of time it takes to get your images to you?
We live in a digital world where we can have near instantaneous rewards, which means we live in an amazing time. At the same time, we prefer a quality product over an instant production time. We'll work as fast as we can to give you an exceptionally high quality final product. A number of factors usually come into play when it comes to releasing your images to you. We will not cover our volume of work, because that doesn't have a major impact on the time frame.
The more photos we take, the more photos we have to go through. After your images are backed up (downloaded to our computer, added to our backup drive, and uploaded to our cloud storage,) we go through and look at each image. It has to meet your quality standards right from the start. If it doesn't, we cull the photo. If we took 500+ photos, you can imagine the time it takes to go through each one.
We have very strict standards on what photos will see the light of day. Any technical errors (we are dealing with electronics that don't always do as we want,) movement blurs, undesirable facial expressions, etc and almost always removed and not edited. We want the best of the best. When it comes to images that look the same, we will edit the best looking image of the two. There is no sense in editing two like images and taking longer to get the work done. You're not likely to keep or show duplicate images any way.
This is one of those photos that won't be released as a final image. It has not been edited, because it did not meet our basic standards. It has a small amount of motion blur (when he moved during the shot and makes it not sharp,) and has a less than desirable expression.
Just one frame later, we had the expression we were looking for that met our quality standards. It was perfectly sharp and he had a desirable pose and expression.
The time of day in which your photos are scheduled plays a major role in the amount of editing needed for your photos. Harsh, midday sun can create hard shadows and highlights, which create a photo that needs to be softened. An early evening time or a partly cloudy day would create much softer highlights and shadows and in turn would make a softer image and easier to edit. A bright sky from midday can appear washed out or create lens flares and halos around your body. Other items, like removing blemishes, signs, people that walked through the background, etc. take time to edit out and correct. On every image, we edit the eyes and the background to make them pop. When viewing an image, your eyes will go to the brightest object on the image. We love eyes and believe that is the first place your viewer should look in your image.
You can see in this image that in addition to the skin looking warmer, the eyes are bright, sharp, and defined. You'll notice the catch lights (where our lights are reflected in the eyes) are also bright and defined. This gives your image a realistic look. Sorry, but we won't reveal exactly how we do it.
We believe everyone is beautiful in their own way. Our body naturally produces little red bump for a number of reasons. We know you may not be comfortable with them in your final product and we will remove them on your request. In the process of applying our creative process, your teeth may show more yellow. We also fix that to look more natural. If you are concerned with the color of your teeth, we are happy to adjust that for you. Just let us know your concerns and we are happy to do our best for you.
In this image, we believe she is beautiful as she is. A few red bumps don't change that, but we also know she didn't want them in her final image. Just a few clicks of the mouse and they are gone and she has an image she will be proud of. If it helps you feel positive about your image, we will do our best to help you out (within reason.) In addition to warming up the image, we also brightened and defined here eyes, and return the teeth back to the color they would have been before we warmed the image.
The creative process is probably number one in the amount of time used on your images. The background chosen, the time of day, the time of year, your skin color, and a multitude of other factors go into the creative process. Even after we decide on the look of the image, we may rework that image several times before we release the final images. Your gallery may show one image, but we keep reworking that same image to come to the final look. On almost every session, we create what we believe is the look we want, and purposefully leave it and come back to it later. That is so we can evaluate the image objectively and make the changes to make it the best image you can have.
As it came out of the camera, this image is not a bad image. It was taken using RAW camera data (which we will discuss another time), which is very flat in color. This has to be edited and is not an image until it is. We do not publish anything Straight Out of Camera (SOOC) for any reason. Every single image is hand edited, every single time. No mass production. No simple edit and publish. In the end, it is about absolute quality. That is what you paid for.
We need to give this image some definition and color. We will edit the highlights, shadows, contrast, whites, blacks, vibrancy, saturation, tone and hue. We want this to be the color we naturally see. We will edit the background some to either bring it out or mute it back some to make the image start to pop. This is where a majority of the time is spent, especially in groups of people with varying skin tones. We want you to look natural and real. We want our setting to look deliberate and well planned. In the end, it should look like it was shot in a studio. We can control some of our light, but we will control the natural light in post processing. This is starting to look like a good image, but It doesn't feel like Christmas. No snow here in Oklahoma, but it should feel more fall or Christmas in color.
So it's time to adjust our color gradients and background again. Now lets complete the look. Now it feels more like fall to us. In the process of getting to this final image, we may adjust the background and all of our gradients again to get the image to look exactly like we want. We'll step away and come back and go over it again. We may finish an image and then come back to it after we think we are done and adjust again to make it just right. Perfect is our goal. This is the product you will see and this is the one we want you to love.
On a portrait session, we aim to be done within two weeks. It could be 2 or 3 days, a week, and sometimes more than two weeks. It really depends on the level of work required on the image and any changes you may request. We don't like images sitting in our editing space any longer than they need to be. We want them to you, so you can enjoy them as fast as possible.
What about weddings and large events? The creative process and image culling on a wedding can take a long time on its own. We say, as a general rule, expect about 3 months and up to 6 at the most. With the large variety of venues, your color schemes, and everything individual about your wedding, means we need to spend a lot of time perfecting the creative process for your wedding and make your images ones you will treasure a lifetime and be proud showing off. We will stay in communication and always update your gallery as we move through the images.
We acknowledge we are human and may err in communication at times. We may be so focused on the task that we do not communicate the status effectively to you. If you feel we haven't updated you properly, please reach out to us and let us know. You are never a pest. Your business and friendship means the world to us and your enjoyment of the process is as important as the final product. Let's chat!