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  • Welcome to the new site. Here's a thread about the update where you can post your feedback, ask questions or spot those nasty bugs!

The Editing Burden Due to the Ease of Digital Photography

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
So, here in Los Angeles, a good proportion of professionals have been Fully vaccinated so I reopened my studio for art model photography.

I had such pent up enthusiasm, as also at this time, commissions for my sculpture are being reviewed so photography is for me a major personal support system!

I take far too many pictures! I have just completed 3 shoots of 3 models and two successive shoots two models together:too much work!

what has happened to our habits when we had to pay for a roll of film?

Who else has to work many hours editing because they shoot more pictures than needed using the free dome of digital
Image acquisition?

Asher
 

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
It depends on the kind of photography you do...

In architectural photography on a tripod, one shot is enough if the framing is good!

In a studio where everything is controlled from the light to the pose of the model and the precise distance known (for the focus) IMHO 2 or 3 shots per frame/pose should be enough.

On the other hand, when you shoot a sailboat from a chase boat or from a helicopter and it is almost impossible to communicate instantly with the models, it is sometimes difficult to control with certainty the position of the 3 models (open/closed eyes, glances, attitude), the position of the boat on the water (especially the bow which should not go down but horizontally or up) nor that a rope moves in an unforeseen way to come to put itself in front of a face; there it is necessary to make at least 5 shoots to be sure to have the good catch.

But yes, the job of a photographer implies to know how to wait before pressing the shutter button...

It saves post-prod time and space on the hard drives !
 
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Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Obviously, one can operate a digital camera as a film camera and not press the shutter release that often...

But if you do, there is software to make a pre-selection. Usually this imply first trashing the obviously bad pictures. Then, one starts to assign stars to each pictures and trim down the lower ratings until left with a manageable number. It goes quite fast.
 

nicolas claris

OPF Co-founder/Administrator
Obviously, one can operate a digital camera as a film camera and not press the shutter release that often...

But if you do, there is software to make a pre-selection. Usually this imply first trashing the obviously bad pictures. Then, one starts to assign stars to each pictures and trim down the lower ratings until left with a manageable number. It goes quite fast.
Of course!
One day of shooting a boat means one day of selection with basic corrections... before making the in depth necessary corrections.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
At a wedding with three photographers clicking away for hours, between them likely 2,000 shots. I asked about their editing times.

“None! I send them to a lab in Boston and back comes the bound wedding books, as ordered!”

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

At a wedding with three photographers clicking away for hours, between them likely 2,000 shots. I asked about their editing times.

“None! I send them to a lab in Boston and back comes the bound wedding books, as ordered!”
So does this represent a more efficient and thus economical way to generate wedding books than in days of yore, or just a facile way to charge more to keep the proifits up in this era of easier and thus greater competition?

Best regards,

Doug
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi, Asher,



So does this represent a more efficient and thus economical way to generate wedding books than in days of yore, or just a facile way to charge more to keep the proifits up in this era of easier and thus greater competition?

Best regards,

Doug
I think that the object of the wedding photographs is to deliver to the respective mothers of the couple the actual product of “The Wedding” which is not “The Marriage” but, instead, “The Wedding Books”.

The latter are the reservoir of “Proof” of the great job parents did for their offspring. It’s what we share with friends and family for decades to come!

The album industry gives the local wedding pro an ability to efficiently deliver the books and large wall prints of every aspect of preparation, ceremony and celebration. They have teams and presses just set up for design and production of any manner of choices.

No photographer can match the breadth of choices of print quality, character, book design nor the presentation of the sales pitch in the first place.

The deal is the same, “upsell” the bride or her mother. They use brochures and book samples from the book company!

They hand it to a company to deliver. That way, the photographer just focuses on getting as many shoots and being paid first for that and then the companies allowed profit margin for that photographer!

But today there’s new vicious competition eroding this triangle!

With so many enthusiasts owning AF programmed digital cameras, brides can assign the picture taking to friends or budding “wedding photographers”, qualified by virtue of having done a favor or two!

Also experienced professionals may now say, “Screw this!, I just give my shoot chip to the woman, and let her send it away to print or print pictures themselves.”

Asher
 

Robert Watcher

Well-known member
One thing that I have always had an issue with, is the concept put out that wedding photographers gouge, or are charging rediculous amounts of money. Now my figures are based on being informed up until the last wedding that I shot 10 years ago. Although I doubt that prices have changed much since then. Probably decreased,

Let me give some perspective. While I was never interested in being in this price range - many people cringe at having to pay $1500 for a wedding. That would even have to include albums. Many photographers that I knew were in this range. Some were charging $500 to $1000 and giving all files only. A fact. About the maximum one photographer could average per year is 1 wedding every week of the year. But the reality is that a full time effort was more realistically 25 to 30 weddings per year for those that I knew. You can do the math. In fact it is this level of photography where there is the most competition.

For my busy years as a wedding photographer who printed all of my own work, I only searched for clients who were willing to spend in the $3500 to $5000 range. In my area most people thought that my prices were ridiculous. But I managed to find enough work to survive. My weddings per year were generally 12-15. Each wedding consumed about 4 weeks of my time from dealing with clients before during and after the wedding, to shooting, processing files and designing albums and print orders, etc, etc, etc. Through the week I spent much time meeting with potential clients and spending an hour or more with each only to have them not book me, as well as care for my studio. I had to maintain the overhead of a store.

There are a few very elite wedding photographers in major US centres would may demand amounts into $10,000 or more.
There is little competition in these areas. It is about who you know and your connections with wealthy people for the most part. They also have assistants, staff, large overheads and advertising costs to keep up appearances. As well, I have been enlightened to the fact that the many of the photographers who are photographing the stars, have the “privilege“ of being able to do that. You get the point.


What it all boils down to is that - except for possibly the last tier of wedding photographers - most wedding photographers either have to suppliment their income with other jobs and probably have wives with steady income - or are starving artists who sacrifice because they love their craft. I imagine it would be difficult to find a photographer who nets $75,000 a year (in fact most pro and full time photographers I knew where more like $30,000 to $40,000 gross income before expenses) - which is a far cry from the 100‘s of thousands of dollars that people add up in their head when they hear a number like $3,000 or $5,000 or even $1,000 for a wedding. My children have decent paying normal jobs with incomes of $60,000 + per year and have total security, benefits, bonuses, and yearly wage increases, etc. The reason that most people take the gamble of being in business for themselves and making sacrifices to do that, is to have a greater return than a 9-5 job. And of course you would presume that an artist - a creative - could even demand more.

BTW - RELATED TO THIS THREAD - when I shot weddings digitally, my frame count was around 3,000 to 3,500 as a lone photographer. I shot for around 5-6 1/2 hours during the wedding day. With film I generally shot 12-15 rolls of 36 exposure film per wedding. It was costly and it took more time - was more deliberate to manually focus, crank shutters, etc. My hard costs of film, film processing and proofing, prints and albums costs averaged $1200 to $1500 per wedding that I might spend 3 to 4 weeks on and charge $3500 for. Going digital greatly reduced my film and film processing costs, but that was replaced with the need for more expensive gear and far more of my time managing files and processing them.

This is just my experience, but a pretty good reality check That the figures being charged per wedding mean nothing. I remember talking to one well meaning businessman in my town who suggested I would benefit my studio if I had a low price like Sears. I showed him the math. At $9.95 and doing 1,000 portraits per year (which I later found out that Sears didn’t even do in most stores) is $10,000 a year - 3 a day - every day of the year. No thanks. Ok how about trying to get $19.95 (actually a tough sell) $20,000 a Year to run a studio and look after my families needs. No thank you. Of course I could never find a thousand people to pay for portraits in my community if I tried.

Been a long time since I’ve thought about or responded to something about weddings. LOL
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Robert,

In a way, the wedding photographer of your mold is more like a minstrel bringing cheer to people’s lives. Only an experienced pro can deliver irrespective of rain or bad church lights the precious books of treasured memories that will give joy and pride for decades.

Those who “do favors”, because they have a black camera and a big lens fail when things aren’t optimum and break people’s hearts!

If anyone has worked on a dairy farm getting up at 4:00 am to call in the cows and then cleaning out the muck in the stalls, or labored in a car parts production line, they will be prepared for the hard labor of back breaking work that wedding photography can be. There’s no rest. Photos have to be taken from before the bridesmaids arrive to the guests enter the sanctuary, 2-4 hours of shooting may have been already done.

There are numerous “events” and groupings that have to be documented at the time and one cannot put anything off nor ask anyone to “do that again”!

The bride and group have a schedule and it consumes the morning, afternoon and late into the night. I have only done a few weddings, essentially to ensure a newbie absolutely didn’t fail and it’s hard work.

To me, don’t be a wedding photographer to earn money, as you will likely merely scrape by. It must be, that you feel your pictures will help add magic glue to the family and help them on a successful path!

I am certain, Robert, that was your sole motivation!

What gets me is that few folk realize the hard work, skill and stress that is part and parcel of the romantic role of the wedding photographer!

Asher
 
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