Northern Virginia newborn photography portraits

The Value of Photo Editing and Retouching

I only schedule two to three photography sessions a week, somewhere between 10-15 sessions a month.  I really wish I could do more, but I spend a ton of time working on each session.

Here’s a breakdown of the time spent per session:

  1. Session scheduling and communication: 45 min
  2. Session prep: 30 min – 1 hour
  3. Session itself: 1 hour- 3 hours (depending on the session scheduled – maternity, family, baby, newborn)
  4. Session cleanup and offloading images to computer: 30 – 45 min
  5. Culling images (narrowing down to the images I’m going to save): 1-2 hours
  6. Retouching the culled images: 6-8 hours
  7. Posting preview images to social media: 15 min
  8. Uploading the final images, creating slideshow, emailing gallery: 30 min
  9. Ordering thank-you ornament, packaging/mailing USB drive: 45 min.
  10. Placing product orders:  30 min.

Total: Roughly 10-16 hrs per session!

Doing the actual photo retouching monopolizes most of my time.  I spend about 10 minutes focusing on and perfecting each photo, and I sometimes spend 45 minutes to an hour working on one photo if I need to.  I’m just that much of a perfectionist!

I do all of my shooting in RAW, which creates the largest possible photo file to give me the most flexibility with the images.  I fine-tune every aspect of an image until I feel like it best reflects my style and brand.  This is why I never release the RAW images.  That would be like a chef giving you all of the ingredients to make their famous chocolate chip cookies, but not actually making them for you.  The actual measuring, mixing and cooking is part of the magic!

I thought it would be fun to share some of my before and after photos with you!  The “before” is actually the image just before I take it from Lightroom into Photoshop, and I may have already made a few levels and color adjustments to the images in Lightroom.

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As you can imagine, spending so much time editing could be really boring, but I actually find it really relaxing!  Especially since I listen to audiobooks while I’m working on the photos.  They need to be really fast-paced books to keep my attention!  I read anything from romance to fantasy to sci-fi.  Let me know if you have any recommendations!

I do believe it’s the level of detail and effort that I put into each image that creates the value for my photo sessions.  Here’s one of my favorite memes:

There's always someone willing to do it cheaper

I know I’m not a cheap photographer.  I don’t want to be a cheap photographer.  I want to be the best photographer!  If you want to work with the best photographer, please check my availability and contact me to schedule your photo session!  Thank you!!



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