My After Session Workflow

Originally this post started out as part 2 of my "Organizing Your Photos" series. As I started to put together the post in my head, I realized it was becoming (and could double) as more of a "what happens after your session workflow" post. So, if you're wondered what happens to your images following a session - at least here at Kelli Brewer Photography - here we go =)

1. Enjoy an awesome session with an awesome photographer (I think so anyway)

Just recently I detailed what a session is like for me - what order I try to shoot in, how I keep kids happy and basically a rough view of how I like to spend my hour or two with you. Yup, I jump like a fool, contort in crazy positions, and try to make your kids my best friend in the first 10 minutes they meet me. After the session, your work is done.

The waiting begins.

2. Create a folder for the Client

I have a drive where I keep all my clients images. Everyone is organized by their session type (Family, Newborn, Event, Portraits, Wedding) followed by their name. A lot of other photographers often organize by date, which I would personally find really confusing. I identify all my clients by name, and that's the easiest way for me to find them. For multiple sessions by the same client, I simply add the year to their session name or month if they're super awesome frequent clients.

So, let say Marge Simpson emails me about requesting a file. I remember she had a newborn session, immediately scroll down to my newborns and find Newborn - Simpson, Bart and I'm good to go.

3. Upload all the Files

After the session, I immediately come home and download all of the files to my computer. I am absolutely paranoid something will happen to them (and by something I mean my 3 and 1 year olds) if I let them sit on the cards in my camera too long.

I create two folders - Roughs and Finals. All of the files from your session are uploaded into the Roughs folder. I shoot in RAW + JPG, so there are ultimately two copies of your photos.

4. I slice and dice your Files

It's time to look at the files and decide which ones are keepers and which ones are banished to the trash. You're thinking, "what! the trash!" but not every picture I take is a keeper for various reasons. Your husband blinked. I was adjusting the exposure. Aunt Mary wasn't looking. Many reasons. In fact, I've covered at length what happens to your session files and how I decide which images to keep and which ones I toss. This process takes me a few days because I like to kind of let things "marinate".

Now, are the images gone forever? No. Remember how I said I essentially have 2 copies of your photos? When I'm deleting, I'm deleting the JPG files. The RAW file is still there in case I need it when I'm presenting your gallery. But remember - there's a reason it was deleted.

Just ask Beyonce:

5. Edit, Edit, and Edit Some More

Once I've narrowed down all the session images to those I will present to the client, I begin working my magic. This is my favorite part. After the kids are in bed, I am so excited to get to my computer and begin working. My idea of an awesome Friday night is sitting at my computer, Photoshop on one monitor with Netflix or a movie on the other, a coke on the rocks and Facebook when I need a break. I love making the most out of my images.

Take a look at this before the after (hover over the image - may not work on mobile devices)

*During my busy season, it's important to make the most of my time. Once I've culled all the files, sometimes clients are invited to look at the unfinished files and select only the images they intend to order, which will then be edited. However I choose to present the files to the client, they each see the same number of files.

6. Upload - Part Deux

Once all of the best images are edited, it's time to get them ready for the client. All of the images are uploaded to a private gallery, using Zenfolio. It's hands down my favorite gallery software. I have customized it like a boss, and I love it!

From there, I can breathe a sigh of relief. The images have been delivered to the clients and for the most part, my work is done. All of the products I have available to my clients can be purchased from their galleries. Everything is done online so my clients can purchase on their own schedule and browse their gallery without feeling rushed. Prints are automatically fulfilled by a professional lab and in the chance I have to fill an order, an invoice comes in and I'm pushing out orders right and left.

I don't offer packages (everything is a la carte) because I don't want people to buy product they don't need just to fill a package. I also don't require a minimum purchase - again, I want clients to buy what they need and what they love. I don't see the sale number as a reflection of how happy a client was with my work or the experience I provided. Everyone's budget is different.

So there you have it. A behind the scenes look at what you don't see after your session. Did I spoil the magic??

1 comment

  1. Awesome tutorial!! My problem is I take the pictures, then never do anything else with them. I really should learn how to go one step further. Blah… :-)