We get this question quite often. With the emergence of digital cameras, photographers are taking a LOT more photos than in the old film days. I wanted to write a bit about our post-processing and editing process so that you get a look behind the scenes and see why we don’t deliver every image we take.
First, a quick comparison since I am writing this on the day of the March Madness championship. Similar to a basketball player, we don’t make every shot we take. In fact, we shoot about 40-50% from the field. If you look up Michael Jordan’s stats, you’ll see that we hit almost as many shots as he did. Awesome statistics. Very similar to basketball, if our shot is off by a fraction, we “miss” what we were going for and thus, it is a bad shot. We even have a few “air balls” where the shutter gets clicked accidentally.
But remember the goal. Our goal, as a company, is to provide exceptional wedding photography
to our clients. Because of digital, we can take a TON of photos to try and get the shot we’re looking for. In the film days, we couldn’t do this. In fact, our clients would pay us for the number of rolls of film we’d take. Clients may pay us to take 10 rolls. This means that we had only 360 exposures so we did what we could to make sure they were great, but in those days, we didn’t have the feedback from the screen on the back like we do with digital.
Today, when we shoot a photo, we can look at it on the screen and make some decisions in the moment. We look at the shot and think, “that’s just not perfect” or “the light could be better.” Whatever the reason, we take another photo, or five more photos.
Here is a look at a recent wedding in our editing software.
In the screenshot above, you can see green check marks for the photos we kept and red circles for the photos we didn’t deliver. As you can see, we took six photos of the dress, but kept and delivered four. We also took two photos of the outside of the building, and kept one. We took seven photos of the little flying pigs and we kept two.
In the film days, we would have taken one or two and delivered them, but today, we have the benefit of digital where we can see the best one or two and keep those, getting rid of the ones that simply aren’t worth delivering.
But what if you delete one of my grandmother?
SHORT ANSWER: We won’t
LONG ANSWER: We know the concern? Our clients don’t want us deleting one that has a special person or memory from the wedding day. I think that there’s a perception that we’re holding back photos or aren’t delivering everything. We’re not. When there are people in the photos, we typically keep them in most every case. In contrast to the first photo where we’re showing you the process of choosing the best details, let’s take a look at a section of the wedding where there are people involved.
Notice that we deleted ONE out of twelve photos. Why? Because the flashes didn’t fire. As you can see from the screenshot above, the flash was firing and we were getting some amazing shots of this couple’s family and wedding party. Then, our flash didn’t fire and we deleted the shot.
Did the couple miss anything? No. Just a misfire. Because we were able to see it on the screen, we re-shot it. In fact, here is the deleted photo next to the one we kept of the exact same grouping.
Obviously, we delivered the one on the right and rejected the one on the left. Why? The lighting wasn’t good because our flashes didn’t fire and if you look at the lady in red on the front row, you’ll see that she is not looking at the camera in the photo on the left. Question: Did the client miss out by not getting both? We don’t think so. We feel that we delivered the best possible shot that we took here.
What if the lighting is good on both photos?
We even make decisions when the lighting is good on both photos. In the below photo, you’ll see a photo that we delivered and one that we didn’t. Why don’t you try to decide which photo we kept by looking closely at these two photos.
What did you guess? If you said that we kept the one on the left, you’re right.
We took a lot of photos while the groom gave his toast. In these two, the lighting strait out of the camera was exactly the same. Technically speaking, we could have kept both of them. However, in the photo on the right, the bride is looking down at something and it really is not a flattering shot of her. It also doesn’t add anything to their wedding photos that the shot on the left doesn’t already cover. We didn’t deliver the image on the right but we don’t feel that the couple was missing out on anything.
In summary, it is difficult sometimes to explain why we don’t deliver every single photo we take. Our studio delivers every great image
that we take. We also deliver some images that aren’t as good, but captured a unique moment in the day. In most cases, however, we have 3-4 images of the same “moment” and we choose the best 1-2.
We hope that by reading this, you understand that you’re not missing anything from your wedding day and that we delivered every single great or important image.