Based in Spain, wedding photographer Don Bringas and his wife Helen (Don + Helen) document weddings all over the world. As Don likes to say, "Creating meaningful images is a way to express the way we see things, the way we feel emotions. It's an extension of who we really are—what we shoot, how we shoot and why we shoot says so much about ourselves." But one conundrum Don and most wedding photographers face is finding time to be creative while drowning in a sea of post-production duties—the wedding may have ended but the editing has just begun! Here, Don offers 5 ways to time-manage your workflow.
We’ve all heard the expression, “Time is money,” and we all live that mantra to some extent. We spend the currency of time deciding to focus on friends and family or concentrate on work. On a good day, it’s a fine balancing act and, as photographers, that balance can quickly be skewed one way or the other depending on the systems we have in place and time of year.
In our business, we feel that we are working to live, not living to work, and a robust workflow is key to accomplishing that successfully. So the question we often ask is: “Does your workflow save you time or does it consume it?” We have compiled steps that help us to save time in our work, and spend more time with our families.
1. Sync your Cameras
Our workflow begins by ensuring all cameras are in sync at any given time, but especially before we embark out on a wedding or a shoot. This saves tons of time later when you need to organize your day chronologically. We shoot an image with each camera of our monitor (in office) or phone (when we are on location) with the current time displayed. Then we can sync those images in Lightroom after the event.
2. Robust Culling
We use Photomechanic to take a first pass to get from around 8,000+ to 1,000+ images per wedding. We then import those final 1,000+ into Lightroom to start our edits. Photo Mechanic saves us hours of time in the first pass step.
3. Editing with Presets
Before, once we were in Lightroom, we would get bogged down with the editing process. It could take us a week to two weeks to edit a wedding. But we have since added presets to our workflow, and that has saved us days of computer time. Specifically, we use the Tribe Archipelago and Tribe Red Leaf presets, which we then tailor based on our style and the color palette of the wedding as a whole. We love the ability to have a strong jumping off point, but still have the customization options that make us unique as photographers. We even created our own specific presets for Tribe Archipelago.
4.Pre-Design the Album
Finally, our last sticking point time-wise was always the album design. We found that clients would love their images, but they would not be able to decide on their favorites for the album. Weeks would turn into months waiting for them to decide, and any changes in the design itself would take significant time in both creation and feedback. Well, we have found that Fundy Designer has given us the ability to quickly and easily create albums for our clients. These album proofs can then be exported into the Fundy Design Proofer, giving the client the ability to comment and suggest changes. This process has gone from time-consuming to being one of the easiest and most profitable steps on our workflow system. (Read Rangefinder's review on the new Fundy Designer v7 here.)
5. Album Approval + Ordering
Once the clients approve their design, we export the album and order it through one of our favorite album companies. In the past we were spending so much time on albums they weren’t profitable. But now that we have a quick workflow, albums are our most profitable product in our studio.
As you can see, a consistent workflow can actually give you time back to spend on more important things. Time may be money, but it also goes by way too fast. We hope this helps you to use every minute you have to the fullest.