Digital wedding photography is in vogue nowadays. Recent announcements from big film manufactures that no more money will be spent in research and development indicate that film will soon be a thing of the past.
With the advent of digital wedding photography come new challenges for the photographer. The digital age requires a marriage of computer knowledge with a solid understanding and mastering of traditional photographic techniques.
One of the areas where I see a lot of deficiencies in aspiring wedding photographers and people making the transition from film to digital wedding photography is workflow. People go to weddings take lots of photos and they spend hours and hours with the photos and still get mediocre results. The following guidelines should help establish a solid workflow that will expedite production and produce consistent and predictable results.
1. Go to a wedding to photograph with a clear and defined purpose. The fact that there is no film involved it is not a license to just shoot without thinking. Take the time to compose and capture meaningful photographs.
2. When possible shoot raw data. It will allow you to correct exposure (with some limitations) and white balance in post processing. Having raw data to work with is like having a negative that can help you correct mistakes.
3. Backup your digital data as soon as possible. Start by downloading the cards to your computer. Verify that all the downloaded files are free of corruption and then backup two copies to CD or DVD and verify the DVD media. One of those two copies should be kept at an offsite location.
4. Select the wedding photos that will be processed using browsing computer software such as Breezebrowser, ACDC, Photo Mechanic or Adobe Photoshop. These programs allow you to tag the files for selection.
5. Establish a color management system that produces consistent result. This involves staying within a specific color space such as Adobe 1998 or SRGB with all your devices including Camera, Editing software, and printing devices. A calibrated monitor is a must for high-end results. Master the theory and practice of color management through books, courses, web search, and seminars. A complete discussion of color management techniques is beyond the scope of these guidelines.
6. Learn to adjust your photographs with Adobe Photoshop and then learn how to batch process your corrections. It will save you lots of time. Virtually every single function in Photoshop can be automated trough recorded actions. These recorded actions can then be batch processed to entire folders of photos.
7. Digital imaging software allows you to enhance, retouch and manipulate the photos and create versions in black and white, sepia, and color. The ability to manipulate is no a reason to create weird results.
8. Don’t become a photo equipment junkie. Your photography won’t improve overnight by just buying the newest or most expensive camera on the market. It is true that every year there are advances in terms of better color, low noise levels, and resolution. However, great photographs go beyond the technical aspect. Instead they are the result of good composition, artistic vision, emotion, etc. Learn photography.
9. Digital photography is an immense and evolving field. Learn something new everyday. Take advantage of professional photography organizations such as the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), The Professional Photographers of Oregon (PPO), The Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA), etc. Attend their seminars, workshops. Participate in Internet wedding photography forums to learn and share tips, tools and techniques.
10. Participate in wedding photography image competitions. It will give you the opportunity to have your work evaluated by peers and to improve your work quality.
11. See digital photography as a complete system that will allow complete control of the photography process and the opportunity to give better products to your customers including slide shows, digital albums, photo galleries, photo montages, collages, etc.
12. Don’t be afraid. If you put your heart, the time and the effort, you will succeed. Along the way please share your knowledge, you will better and will help you to become a master of the craft.
Juan Carlos Torres is a very respected and awarded wedding photographer in Oregon. He has a Masters Degree in Remote Sensing with a strong background in digital image processing and photography. He is a member of the several professional photographer organizations including the Professional Photographers of America, the Professional Photographers of Oregon, the Wedding Photojournalist Association, and the Oregon Wedding Photo Guild. His wedding photographs are unique and very artistic and have been featured in national and international magazines. For a sample of his works please visit portland oregon wedding photographer and eugene oregon wedding photographer For a discussion on wedding photography see our Blog at Oregon Wedding Photographer