Small talk is a pretty common part of most of our lives, and no less in our world where we meet hundreds of new people a week at weddings, family shoots etc. And its a common question, whether said with so little tact or not. I think there is a lot of misconception about a lot of careers, and photography is definitely one of those where people usually have one of two perceptions: Either they think we are just bozos who have conned people into paying for something that anyone can do, or they think that it must be SO hard doing this day in and day out, and that we must spend our whole life editing the thousands of pics we shoot. Everyone has a camera, and everyone has an opinion about it.
So I thought I would quickly and simply put our experience of the issue out there for those who are interested. What do we do, and how long does it take?
Well, our process has evolved massively since we began some years back. We started off with a “machine-gun” approach to photography, kind of like a foreign hunter in central Africa… We shot anything that moved, and then dealt with the consequences later. This method led us to filling countless memory cards, hard drives and our days sorting through thousands upon thousands of pics. I can’t say that it didn’t work for us in the beginning, as we had scarcely missed a moment.
We also started out with an editing style that changed regularly. We had a genuine desire to approach every wedding with a fresh perspective, but did not develop a clear “style” for a while and would often change our minds and end up re-editing weddings multiple times. This was an important, if slightly frustrating lesson. It also meant that our clients couldn’t fully predict what their pics would look like, and that is not (as we learned) a good thing. Disappointment is usually created by a difference in expectation and outcome…
We have honed our style to the point where it is now quite easy to recognize our work among others. We have recognized that our strength is documentary photography, and we have developed editing systems that fully embrace that style. Our drive is to provide our clients with a perfect, but real representation of what happened on their day. This means that we do not (to the dismay of some of the “aunties”) manipulate images to make people look thinner, taller or anything else. We believe that happy people make great pics, regardless of their body type, we have spent our energy working on making people comfortable and enjoy themselves, and then capturing that!
Our editing process does still take time, and we do a few passes of our pics, but we work hard to stay on top of our work. We turn our weddings around in two weeks (which is pretty unheard of) and our family shoots in a week. This may mean that we are constantly working to a deadline, but it really helps us ensure that our editing doesn’t build up too much. Even when we have shot three or four weddings in a week we have managed to stay ahead of our deadlines.
As for HOW we do it, I will likely write more about that another time. I will say briefly that Tarryn edits the shots she takes and I edit mine. Although we work to the same style, we are pretty protective of our own work, and take great pride in producing our own finished product from beginning to end. We edit separately and then combine our collections in one finished and ordered library that we give to our clients. This happens over several days, and does take time. It is not one big “copy and paste” as we edit every image separately and usually give over a thousand fully edited shots for a wedding. It is not, however, boring or taxing work. We laugh often, as we really do capture EVERYTHING, and get pretty emotionally involved when working with such special moments. First looks, Daddy-daughter dances, kisses and journeys beginnings and ends; these memories are precious, and the gravity of them is always with us. It’s why we love this so much, and I think it is this that makes any of the work feel easy.