As photographers, we love getting to know our couples, photographing them and just working our magic. But being a wedding photographer, we also have to spend a huge chunk of our day in front of the computer to cull and edit. When we’re not shooting, we’re not making money. Culling and editing are huge tasks that are honestly very daunting, and sometimes so daunting that we even procrastinate starting the task (I’ve totally been there myself too). I mean, who has oodles amount of time that they can spend in front of the comp on one single task anyways?! Over the years, I’ve come across a few tips that can help us with this huge task!
1- Cull using PhotoMechanic
Downloading PhotoMechanic has been quite the game changer. I’ve tried a trial of it a long time ago but couldn’t wrap my head around it at first – mainly because I felt the keys were different from Lightroom. But other photographers kept raving about it so I gave it a second try and this time I loved it! The previews loads RIDICULOUSLY FAST so there’s basically no lag when you cycle through the photos too. Every split sec saved here and there equates to A LOT OF TIME saved when we’re dealing with thousands of photos. Here’s my workflow with PhotoMechanic:
- Select ONLY the keepers by pressing T (tag). Don’t waste time selecting images that you plan on deleting.
- Go to View – Tagged.
- Drag and drop all tagged images into a new folder to import into Lightroom
- I use PhotoMechanic when I cull my weddings because of the sheer amount of images I have to go through very quickly.
2- Cull using Lightroom
I sometimes cull using Lightroom as well, especially for smaller shoots like engagements, families and maternity photoshoots. I will import the images via Lightroom and while in the import dialogue, I select the following two:
- Build 1:1 Previews
- Build Smart Previews
Building 1:1 Previews will take up a lot of memory and time to create but it will allow you to zoom into the previews when editing/culling without lag (maybe just a tad bit). It’s annoying when we zoom into a photo to check focus and it takes like a good 10secs for Lightroom to render the image – building 1:1 Previews addresses this!
I build Smart Previews because this allows me to take my laptop on the go with me and work on my LR catalogs without the need to store my RAW files on my comp. It’s great when I need to edit on the plane and don’t need to bring my external with my files on hand.
3- Outsource your editing
If you are way more passionate about shooting and less on culling and editing, then outsourcing may be for you. Outsourcing your editing will save you the most time. Some companies will even cull the images for you at an additional fee. It does take a bit of work up front to communicate to your editor the style of edits you want. Your time is better spent on creating new relationships with clients, photographing them, etc. Being stuck at home culling and editing won’t bring you more clients. Outsourcing can be very expensive but you also don’t need to outsource all your work. You can pick and choose and only outsource during the busiest time of the year so at least you can regain some work life balance back and spend more time with your family. Some of the popular editing companies are:
Image Salon, Photographer’s Edit and RDFL.
4- The No Sneak Peek Workflow
Right after the shoot, we all want to go through the images and look for sneak peeks to send to our couples and/or to post on Social Media. We need to STOP MAKING IT OUR FIRST PRIORITY! Because once we skim through ALL the images to look for and edit a few fave images for sneak peeks, we’ve already lost the incentive to look at the images a second time when we really need to start culling/editing the entire wedding!
Here’s what we can do to make culling a breeze – cull all the images FIRST before any sneak peeks! That’s right, you heard me! This way, you’re forcing yourself to get that big daunting culling task done quickly so that you’ll be allowed to select and edit your sneak peeks. You’ll be surprised at how much this actually speeds up your entire work flow!
5- Nail Your Exposures
Working on your photography skills can help you save a lot of time when editing. If your exposures are off and inconsistent across the board, you’ll be spending a lot of time in front of the computer lifting the shadows, adjusting the colors, etc. Finding the right light, avoiding mix lighting, improving your flash techniques for reception/ceremony can help you with nailing that perfect exposures. Images shot under the same lighting and environment should all have very similar exposures and tones, so when editing you should be able to batch edit everything using Lightroom.
To use the batch edit setting in Lightroom:
- Edit one of the images.
- While in the Develop module, select your edited image and then select the other images you want to sync the edits to.
- Press Sync and select the edits you want to sync and hit Synchronize.
I hope the above tips this helps with your editing and culling! Follow me on Instagram to for my Weekly Wednesday Q&A on Instagram Stories to learn more tips and tricks.