Other side of the camera (of a children’s portrait photographer)

I thought some of you may be interested in the other side of the camera, my side. 🙂 You know, what happens after I leave your home. Well here is the process broken down into basic steps.

  1. Download and back up! The first and most important thing that happens when I leave my portrait session is to get home to download and back everything up I have just shot! Your images live in a few different places in my home for at least three months and longer if I have the space. TIP: If you have a digital camera and are taking lots of pictures of your kiddos (or whatever), backing them up on a couple CD’s which is cheap and a good idea even after you’ve printed the ones you want. But since CD’s can be scratched, broken, etc. a better way is to buy an external hard drive which come in lots of different sizes to fit different needs. Remember computers crash and loose files so keep your important stuff backed up!
  2. Quick Edit! After I’ve got everything backed up and downloaded I do a quick first edit. This first edit is basically just to delete anything totally unusable and flag my favorites to post on the blog. (FYI: I tend to overshoot so I go home with LOTS of images to edit, but I figure better safe then sorry!)
  3. Blog! I color correct, retouch, resize and re-save the images I would like to blog. Then, of course, I write and post the blog, also sending my client an email so they know they are posted! I try and do this asap because I know I’m excited to go home and see what I shot after a shoot and I hope my clients are excited and I like to give them a sneek peak as soon as I can!
  4. Edit! This time it’s for real 🙂 I go through all of the images I shot, flagging all of the ones that I think are worthy. I usually end up with anywhere from 30 to 50 images that meet my standards 🙂  Then I go through these selected images color correcting each one. I also may do some small retouching and I have to re-save all of them as high-res jpegs (I shoot in RAW format). SIDE NOTE: Over all I don’t do major retouching but the retouching I do do mostly happens in step 7 since I don’t want to waste time retouching images that clients may not purchase or want.
  5. Resize! All of the edited images have to be sized down and re-saved again so they are uploadable (is that a word?) to the website for my clients to see them.
  6. Upload! I upload all of the images to my site and send the clients an email to let them know they are there and what their password is so they can see them. How long it takes me to get to this sixth step just depends on how busy I am. I try my hardest to get them up with-in a week, however, during wedding season when I’m second shooting a lot and doing portraits, this could take up to two weeks.
  7. Retouch/Second Look! Once someone places an order I go back through the images they ordered (in any manner) to make sure that it’s perfect and there’s nothing that needs retouched or tweaked. 
  8. Placing order and everything that goes with it! Placing an order, getting an order ready, receiving an order, making sure it’s correct and packaging an order for the client all differs, of course, depending on what the client orders, reprints, digital negatives, gallery wrap, etc. I’m kinda lumping a lot into this step, it’s really more then one step.
  9. Deliver! Deliver the product(s) to the hopefully thrilled client 😉
Phew! I don’t think I missed anything but I probably did 🙂 I hope you enjoyed this insight into my side of the portrait sessions and it wasn’t a yawn fest! Now you know what I’m doing after I leave your home.
And because every post is better with pictures…here’s a picture that Heather took of me a few months back when I tagged along with her on an engagement shoot. Probably not the most flattering but funny.
 
meshooting.jpg
 
BTW: Heather has her brand new blog up and she is having a contest so check it out and make one of her couples for 2008 very happy by voting!
 
Kelli 
Michigan Portrait Children’s Photographer 

 

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