{Behind the scenes} What happens to your wedding photos after the wedding?

It’s occurred to me that when I leave your wedding you’re probably wondering what happens to your wedding photos. No? Just enjoying your honeymoon?

Well I’ll tell you anyway.

I shoot every wedding with two cameras, and there are two 64gb SD cards in each. One card is saving RAW images (these make it easier to edit) and the other is saving JPEG (also easy to edit now I’m using Fuji, but creates smaller files).

When I get home I don’t back up your wedding photos that night, simply because I’m so tired I know I’ll make a mistake copying the cards over onto my computer. So I pop them in my safe and go to bed.

The next morning I transfer all the photos onto two hard drives, and upload all the JPEGs to a private area on my Zenfolio photo storage site. That way if anything happens I’ll always have a backup online.

wedding-photos-wedding photographer-office

I always have the best intentions to cull the wedding photos (choose the photos to keep) the Monday after the wedding while it’s fresh. Sometimes [literally every time except once] that doesn’t happen – when the inbox is heaving, the backlog is long and the cats are meowing for attention constantly.

When I cull your photos I usually do it in a few goes, sometimes with a day or so in between. This is because I shoot around 4,500 photos per wedding so I need to break it up in order to stay fresh and not miss any gems.

I’m also not in a rush because I don’t want to deliver the photos any sooner than four weeks after the wedding, because I want my couples to get excited about seeing them, and give them something to look forward to. Recently I sat on the edited photos for three weeks before delivering them to the couple *buffs nails on jacket*.

chichester sussex wedding with groom on dancefloor

Once I’ve chosen the best photos and discarded the blinkers, duplicates (I shoot a lot to ensure I capture the perfect moment), blurry ones (no one’s perfect), and any test shots (although some of these I end up loving so much for their obscurity that they end up on my blog!) I import the chosen photos to Lightroom. This is a bit like Photoshop but is way easier and simpler to use. I import with a preset so that the photos already look like I want them to. The preset makes the colours and tones punchier, gives a bit more contrast and just adds a nice feel.

This is my Lightroom. I feel like I’m letting you look at my soul, this is weird. Also, this is a blooper that became my favourite photo of the day.

wedding photo of sparklers and bokeh

Once they’re imported (this takes ages so I normally start another task then remember two days later that I was importing photos) I add them to a special catalogue in Lightroom that creates Smart Previews, which is basically a way of someone being able to see and edit the photos in their Lightroom but not have the actual (huge) files.

I send the Smart Previews off to Rachel who perfects the photos – she does colour correction, exposure correction, dodging, burning and any other snazzy things the photos need to look perfect and consistent.

She sends the Smart Previews back to me a few days later and I check them all over, before exporting them as hi-res JPEGS (hi-res means they’re large enough to print any size). This also takes ages, so I often leave it overnight.

I then create a slideshow of around 100 photos and put it to music, upload it to YouTube and send it to you as a teaser.

Then I upload the full set to Zenfolio, where you get your own wedding photo gallery. I change the url to your names, then send you the link! I like to do this a few days after the slideshow, to give you a chance to get excited about seeing more. I totally believe in the wedding blues, so I want to prolong the wedding excitement for you as long as possible.

Here’s another glimpse into my soul. But hey what’s a behind the scenes post without some juicy stuff to see? This is my view of Zenfolio, where your photos are stored.

wedding photos on zenfolio client gallery

I keep the photos forever and just buy new hard drives when they fill up – I have a whole safe full!

At some point I’ll probably blog the wedding, as this is how I can continue to book weddings (otherwise no one would see my work!), and often a wedding blog will email me and ask if they can feature it. This is the ultimate compliment to both of us.

Once your photos are delivered that’s by no means the end – I love chatting to my past couples, seeing what they’re up to, going out for coffee – even going on holiday with one of them!

Want to see some of these wedding photos? Check out this sunny Ibiza wedding and this wedding at a Secret Barn in Sussex. If you’re looking for a wedding photographer who’s fun, won’t get in the way and will give you killer photos to look back on, get in touch!