Here’s what happens with your wedding photos after the wedding.
I’m writing this because you need to know that on your wedding day, that’s when all the principal photography takes place, but just like with filming a movie, there’s processing, editing and assembling all of it into its final presentation. You can’t overlook there’s work which goes into it after the wedding to make it into the final product you receive.
And that’s something to consider because the difference in production , when done masterfully, can take good images and turn them into great images.
Depending on if you’re using a high volume wedding studio which spends all of six seconds worth of production time on your wedding images running them through a batch process (I’m not kidding) or have a boutique studio which invests significantly more time per image doing individual image enhancements such as selective burning and dodging to bring out the full potential of the images, as well as the skills and eye of those operating on your photos, all affects how your wedding photos come out.
So you should consider not just who your photographer will be, but also consider who’ll be working on your wedding photos. Because it’s a joint process.
For one thing, when the photos get turned over from the photographer to a staff member who takes over from that point, much of the photographer’s intentions and purposes for taking a photo or taking a photo a certain way can get lost in the process. So you ought to ask photographers how closely they communicate and work together with the person or persons who have the task of finishing their photos and designing the albums. Or is there no consultation after the photographer’s job is done and every photo is given the same blanket treatment? I know from my own experience photographing weddings and then designing the wedding albums, that as an album designer I need certain things from the photography that as a photographer alone I would never know about. And these things only make the album better.
With the people working on your images, find out what their credentials are. Do they have graphic arts training? Experience in the commercial arts? Are they real designers? Or are they on staff simply because they’re related to the studio owner? A friend who likes to fool around with Photoshop? Are they an intern learning on the job? A neighborhood college student looking to make a few dollars on the side? Or are your images outsourced to the lowest bidder in Malaysia?
Because naturally your wedding photos can’t be any better than the talent, expertise and skills that go into them – and so it all comes out in the final product which you end up with.
For the record, here’s what I do after the wedding. This isn’t by any means indicative of what others may do, it’s just what I do:
The wedding photos are all inspected and culled through, deleting blinks and any unflattering expressions (photographing a live event will always yield at least a few of those). I take the better versions and bring those up to my standards in the first pass of production stages adjusting color balance, sharpness, cropping, tones and a few other calibrations, hands-on determining the best settings for each individual image.
Then for the wedding album, I select the images that flow best with each other and work well together with which to tell the wedding story, laying them out for the wedding album in a custom design.
I’ve added one more step beyond that point. It’s not something I see done by other photographers but it seems to me to make a lot of sense to do. See if you agree. It’s this:
When I finally have the wedding album laid out and all its photos in place, that’s when I work on those specific wedding images even more, retouching them for consistency and to bring them to “album quality.” In effect, I’m remastering all the photos which go into the wedding album. Here’s why:
I want the wedding photos in the album to be consistent with each other. Otherwise they can look jumbled and distracting since they’re photographed throughout the day under varying circumstances. But in an album there should be a uniform look to keep everything cohesive.
That’s my graphic arts background talking. Too often, wedding albums are thought of as no more than a mere casing with which to hold photos – but that’s thinking of the wedding album as if it were a scrapbook. A repository. I want it to be a photo book. Since I’m telling a wedding story, I want the wedding album designed to tell that story , not just simply be a favorites collection of random photos from the wedding stuffed between a front and back cover. Otherwise it looks more like a yearbook.
So art direction is needed to orchestrate graphic design. Without it, you’ll see album designs are all over the place. But I want the images to be in harmony in the way they look. In the way the storyline flows from photo to photo, page to page. I want the design to support the story in the photos, even enhance it, but not distract from the story. I want each image perfected . The entire wedding album itself has to be treated as a stand alone work of art.
I want the wedding album to look great. My wedding couples want their albums to look great. So I believe it’s worth the additional effort I put into it. After all, the wedding album is only going to be around for oh, only the next 100 years or so. Someone might see it! We want it to look amazing when they do.
**G.E. Masana (portrait artist and Huffington Post contributer) As Seen In HUFFINGTON POST | MARTHA STEWART WEDDINGS | THE KNOT | NEW YORK MAGAZINE | BRIDAL GUIDE | BRIDES | STYLE ME PRETTY | ELEGANT BRIDE | GRACE ORMONDE | WELLWED | TOWN&COUNTRY **
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