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Live Edit: My Workflow

Lesson 14 from: Lighting and Posing for Wedding Photographers

Caroline Tran

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Lesson Info

14. Live Edit: My Workflow

Lesson Info

Live Edit: My Workflow

So what I wanted to jump into now is, just giving you a glimpse of, one, what the photos look like straight out of camera. I wanted to do a little bit of, like, analysis of, you know, how the shoot went, let you see, I know you're watching it, tethered and live, but you didn't get to stop me and ask questions or anything like that. So, I think if we just kind of go through and I'll show you, I did like a rough little, rough little cull to take out some of the test shots and things like that. So, starting from the very beginning, this was the wide shot that we, that we did of them. How well can you see it? Is it big enough? Let's see if I can make that a little bigger, okay. So, when I'm going through, I guess I should go through just my overall work flow first. So, as you know, I shoot both film and digital. I do try to keep a session exclusively film or exclusively digital. Just to make my life easier. But that's not always possible. And at weddings I do shoot both. So, one general ru...

le that I tend to stick by, and in order to make my process easy is, you know how I said I do mini stories, like mini vignettes throughout the day. I try to keep the mini stories at least all film or all digital. And so when I finally get everything back together, at the end of the shoot, I send all of my film out to Richard Photo Lab, they process it. In the meantime, I'm downloading my digital files onto my computer and then I cull them. I just go through, and it's just yes or no, yes or no. What I'm generally looking for is, if I'm taking multiples of the same, sometimes it's cuz I'm not sure if I got it in focus or not, especially if I'm manual focusing, I'm not sure, so I'll take a few just in case. Or if I'm not sure if they're blinking or not. So in that case, I don't wanna keep all of them. I don't wanna overwhelm the clients. When you get too many back, I feel like, the not as good photos take away from the really good photos. So in a portrait session, I aim to deliver 50 photos. So in that one hour session. Sometimes it's 70, sometimes I'm really inspired and they get a 100, you know? But I promise a minimum of 50. And I generally like to underpromise and overdeliver. So I'll tell people 50 cuz I know they're gonna get at least 50 shots in that one hour. This session, I didn't shoot as many, I have 47. So I kept 47 out of 206. And that's cuz I didn't shoot the full hour. Like there was a lot of stopping, talking, taking questions and things like that as well. When I'm shooting film, I have to be so picky about when I hit that shutter cuz I don't wanna just (camera shutter clicking) and you know, get 10 frames back and in one roll of film, only got to use, I don't know, five images, right? So, when I'm shooting film, I generally keep about probably 13 to 14 out of 16 frames per roll. So it's a pretty good keep rate. I'm not throwing out that many. So once I get my film back, I go through and yes no, yes no. Decide what I wanna keep. Then I go to my digital and then I find, and like I said, typically there are different vignettes anyway, so I don't have to wait for my film to come back to cull this. But, if it happens that I did do that, or if it's a wedding where I'm shooting in film and my second shooter is shooting in digital and happens to be in the same space, I don't bother going through their work until after I've seen the film. And then I only take in what I need. That way, it's, I just don't wanna deliver too much because I think if, like, on a average wedding day, you can take thousands of photos, right? But could you imagine being a client and receiving thousands of photos back, like it's overwhelming right? And so there's no need to look through 10 mediocre photos, like just give them the one that you like best. And my philosophy is, I don't release anything that I wouldn't be proud to see cuz you never know what they're gonna end up posting. And then they will credit you on it and if you don't like the photo, it's stuck with your name on it. So I don't release unedited work. I edit everything before I send it out. I make sure, I don't necessarily go in and like, perfect everything, but just, will I be proud of this if this shows up on Facebook, tagging me, right? And so I generally keep that as a rule of thumb, as I'm going through the images. So what I'm looking for is, you know, are their eyes open, are their expressions good? Is the composition strong or was there a better version of it? If things are, if horizons are not straight, I won't cull it out because of that reason but I will fix it in post production. So for example, this one, it looks like a little bit off but I will still keep it because I still like the image. So I guess, just a brief overview of what I do, I first go through and do a quick round of yes no, yes no. So if it's a no, I don't do anything, if it's a yes, I give it one star. So control one, control one for the ones that I do like. Then, I go right here and I click on rate it. And then that shortens it down to only the ones I chose. If this is, I'm at 47 right now and I'm happy with that number, so I'm okay. If, let's say I click it and it still says, like 125, then I'll do another quick round to lessen it. And as you can see, for the most part, my photos are pretty accurate out of camera. And when I say accurate, it's like, it's not heavily under or over exposed. It's all within reasonable range. I think that's important to strive to get it right in camera as much as you can. I was forced into that because I shoot film. And you don't have that kind of, like luxury of, oh let's see if it's, you know and then, you gotta get it cuz you don't see it until you get the film back, right? So I think because of that, I've had to really learn my exposure, like I could look in a room and tell you what the exposure is without having to test it out. And I think that just comes from years of experience and forcing myself to. There was a time where I would force myself just to play a game, you know, like let's guess it, you know I think this is ISO 200, f/2 at 125th, you know, and actually I think that would be right too. (laughs) And so, and then I would test it, either with a light meter or with the camera and you know, give a pat on my back if I got it right. But, and then same thing with the lighting day before, on a wedding day, if we weren't crunched on time, I would force myself to see if I can guess the exposure before checking it. And I think that's how you are then able to confidently not have to worry about your settings and you can focus more on those genuine interactions with your clients. Cuz now, it's not like oh, what do I do with the light, you know, and is it, do I need to change this, what aperture should I be at, right? Cuz all of that is taking you away from here cuz you're in this space right now, right? And if you can work from the heart instead of the mind then that's where I think you can pull out more of those emotions. And where the inspiration comes from as well.

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Ratings and Reviews


I had such a great experience at Creative Live. Everyone was super nice. I flew from Los Angeles to Seattle for the first time and Mariangela was kind enough to help me with transportation, hotel, restaurants, things to do in Seattle. It was a fun continue education trip. Caroline Tran's class was amazing! I can't wait to go back for another class at Creative Live.


Enjoyed the class! Especially liked seeing how Caroline transitioned and shot the engagement shoot with the cute couple. The pick up points were great, love the analogy to piano since I'm pianist as well. I use her refined presets too and really like the outcome :) Would recommend that as well!

Student Work