Commitment to Quality

by admin Email

In this post I would like to talk about the quality process that I am following with every client engagement, but more so for each Wedding that I shoot. Contrary to popular believe wedding photography is not just turning up on the day, taken a few snaps, burning them on DVD and handing them to my brides and grooms. Each wedding takes around 30-40 hours of work to be completed.

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Pre Wedding Consultation

The process starts long before the wedding.  During the pre wedding consultation I discuss the type of wedding, the type of photos and the locations that the bride and groom would like to see in their album. It is very important that you and the photographer are on the same page and that you are comfortable that the photographer will put you and your guests at ease.

Pre Wedding Shoot

I always recommend a Pre Wedding Shoot. Many people are a little camera shy and dont like their photos taken. A Pre Wedding Shoot breaks the ice before the big day. This creates a more relaxed atmosphere on the day. (at least as far as photography is concerned).  The Pre Wedding Shoot is also a great opportunity for you to get images to use for your Guestbook,  any accessories (eg. personalised wine bottles, stationary, candles etc.) or for your invitations. 

Preparation

The big day is here and as the Photographer I have a number of critical steps to complete making sure I am prepared for the day.

A final call to the bride or groom a few days before reconfirms the locations, timeframes and contact details. I give a standard runsheet to the couple to fill in times, locations and contact details. It is a good memory jogger for all involved making sure we are all on the same page and I know how to get in touch with you if I need to.

The day before the wedding I make sure all my gear is clean (nothing worse than little dust blobs on the image), batteries are charged, memory cards are formatted and all gear is packed and ready. It is my and possibly every Wedding Photographers nightmare if gear fails or precious images go missing.

Following good risk management I make sure that this never happens. For this reason I have everything double. 2 Cameras, Multiple Lenses, 2 Flash Units, heaps of batteries and I also use only small memory cards so I do not lose anything in case of techno failure. I do guard my memory cards with my life never letting them out of my sight until they are savely stored on my computer. 

On The Day 
Wedding Photography is about people. For me that is the most important aspect of this job. For most of the time I will be a fly on the wall. (Pretty big fly with a big camera :) Whilst it is my job to get all the images that we agreed, it is after all YOUR big day. My approach is to be as uninstrusive as possible.  

Documenting a wedding is about telling the story of the day and its emotions. In order to do this sufficiently I have developed a list of photos to shoot during the day always keeping the endproduct - the album in mind. Most of the albums that I provide are wide landscapes that look best with a lot of negative space. This space can either be filled with smaller images or be left blank. 

Here is a list of some really important images:

  1. Bride getting ready
  2. The Rings
  3. Fun shots with Groomsmen
  4. Ceremony
  5. THE KISS
  6. Some formal shots at locations 
  7. Speeches
  8. First Dance
  9. Garter/Bouquest throwing

I am always on the hunt for priceless emotions, the love, laughter, relief and that occasional tear of joy. That is what a beautiful wedding is all about.

The Day After

Besides that I am normally pretty sore after a day of carrying 20 kgs of gear and lifting my camera a few thousand times, I have very important tasks to complete the day after the wedding.

Firstly I ensure that all images are safe. I make at least 2 separate copies of the original images and store one copy offsite making sure that I have a backup in any case. Next I start my first review. In the first review I pick about 15-20 of the best images that I retouch, enhance and put on facebook so that my couple and their guests have a beautiful preview of images no later than 24 hours after the wedding.

Post Production 

The week after the wedding I start the detailed review of all images. This process is the most complex of the wedding and can take up to 3 days and depending how busy I am a couple of weeks elapsed. I generally take between 700 to 1500 exposures on a wedding day. I look at each and every image, compare duplicates and check sharpness, colour, lighting and facial expressions. I select the best images to be included on the DVD and apply basic improvement to all images. You can imagine what a big job this is.

Retouching and Album Design

Once all images are corrected and ready to be burned the next step is to build the album. For images in the album I look at some the best shots and apply creative retouching techniques. This is the part of the work that I love the most. I love taking an image and create an even better photo from it. In today's digital age there are endless creative possibilities that can be applied. The best retouching is that you cannot see. Removing a little blemish on the skin. Soften the skin for slightly cleaner look enhancing the drama or turning coloured images to black and white.

In some cases I apply a number of techniques to create the more contemporary HDR looks or turn a photo into a painting like look. The result is an album that not only tells the story, but is a piece of art. In some cases that design of an album can take 2 to three days depending on how many pages I need to design. Time flys when you're having fun.

The Viewing 

The viewing is a very important part in the process. This is the time when you will be seeing your wedding photos and the album for the first time. During the viewing we sit down and you have a chance to look at the album and decide which images you would like to include and which one you do not like. Whilst I pick the best images from a photographer's view it is your album and it is important that you love the photos before it is printed.

Viewing the images is always fun and a great way to relive the wedding. I had brides more than once say the wedding is nothing but a distant dream even 2 weeks after the event. Quite normal to feel that way as the day is full of emotions, stress and action which makes day go by before you had the chance to take it all in. 

In the viewing you can reflect on the wedding and re-live the day in a relaxed atmosphere. 

Wrapping it up

After the viewing I make the requested changes and upload the album design to the web for final approval. Then I send it off to the printer. It takes normally 4-6 weeks to get the album produced. 

 

I hope this give you a good understanding of the process I am going through and how I ensure that you are getting the best images for your wedding day. Looking forward to talk to you soon.

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