This is a question that comes up almost every week. And maybe it's time to demystify what happens from the incredible moment we shared until the day the gallery, with so many good memories, is available.
The most obvious answer is this: it takes so long because it actually takes long! And it depends from one photographer to the other, from the method and the editing process, the workflow.
But as this answer doesn't clarify anything, let's break it down!
What happens to your photos after the session or the wedding?
I'm going to focus on a wedding because these are the most expected photos ever!
After the big day, all the files are downloaded from the memory cards to the computer and, if part of the work is done on the same day (we backup everything during the meal), after that the files on the computer are copied to two external disks.
It seems super simple, and it is, nothing special until now. But what if a wedding is about 100 GB? (you read well!) Moving from memory cards to the computer and from computer to external hard drives, how long does it take? One hour? Two?
When the time comes for editing, all photos are uploaded to the editing program (it depends from photographer to photographer but here we use Bridge for organizing and cataloging). Opening and previewing all the photos, so we can go through the selection process, can take another good hour, or more, it depends.
Then the selection begins! And in our case, it's not just a "yes, no" process. Our purpose is to tell a story and therefore there must be a logical and balanced sequence between the pictures. We don't want it to be just a set of good pictures or a kind of one stunning photo for a few "so so" ones.
The selection is made in 5 times. The first is a kind of a general round and then four more that serve to withdraw or add moments to the story, to exchange one picture for another in which you look better, to add environment pictures or to delete repeated moments and to balance the number of final pictures. Always and always above the indicated number!
How long does the selection take? For a session two to three hours... for a wedding it already took two days of work because it is what it is, here we don't rush work! And there is the associated emotion of remembering moments that makes me, so often, linger in each image much more than it would be expected.
Finally the editing: reveal, edit, correct, straighten, clean, erase. On average I edit about 10 to 20 pictures per hour, it's not worth saying that in one hour I edit a whole session because it NEVER happens! And so, for a 12-hour wedding, I would say that I am about 7 days in the process of selection and editing. Editing alone and almost in total dedication.
After editing all the (so many) photos, there is then a general overhaul to mislead everything that may have been missed during editing. There is the color adjustment. There is the addition or removal of one or another photo. There is the cleaning of anything else. There is the adjustment of a corner.
All edited photos are then copied (also) to two external drives where they stay forever. Yes, forever!
We then convert the files into two formats: one for the galleries and another for the DVD's that will be delivered to you.
So that means that after the wedding it takes only around 10 days to give us the photos?
It means that this is the process of editing your moments. A careful and time-consuming process that we don't want to rush at all!
In addition to this, there is the management of this project! There are sessions, emails, contacts, inquiries, invoices, marketing, workshops, classes, meetings, preparation of deliveries, editing other jobs on hold, other weddings... and our lives!
And I confess that this last one doesn't even take me that long anymore!
For me, photography is a passion, a greater love, an art!
And asking me to rush this whole process makes me imagine Picasso painting Guernica in a hurry just because someone is too excited to hang it on the wall! Or finishing the Sagrada Família in 6 months (it was started in 1882 and there is no predicted date to be finished) because someone would like to see it ready.
Art can't be rushed! It's to be lived and experienced.
Trust me! Your photographs are as important to you as they are to us because they are our way of living, of being.
And more than anyone else, we are the first ones to want to see your pictures on the hands where they belong!
We leave you with a picture of someone that is still waiting, patiently.
With the promise of always, which is not even a promise anymore, it is an ingrained thing: to give the best of our best!