It’s important to remember starting out, and a thing you might actually have to explain to your client, particularly if they want to know why wedding photography is so expensive: you are going to spend at least twice as much time, if not more, not only preparing for the wedding day, but also doing the necessary post-production work. Sorting through the digital files, doing color correction, editing, and uploading to a website is going to take up a lot of your time after the wedding. If you are making an album for them, that will add another day, at least, to your responsibilities.
Back Up Your Files
When you return home from a wedding, the first thing to do is back up your files. Make at least one, if not two, copies of your day’s work. An external hard drive is a great way to accomplish this easily. Transfer your files via firewire or USB to your desktop, and copy the files to your hard drive, making that second set your “master” copy, then create another “archive” set on a disk or flash drive. When you start working on your pictures, use the desktop files as your “working” files and leave the other two copies untouched.
Delivering the viewing files to your client can be accomplished a number of ways. There are a number of excellent sites on the web that will act as your host, or you can keep everything proprietary by creating a website exclusively for your client. You can save you and your clients a lot of money and you keep the whole process and the profits in-house and you maintain complete control of the process. After all, this is all about you and your business. You don’t want someone else profiting from your hard work if you can do it yourself. Is it going to be more profitable to do the work yourself or is it better to give up some portion of your workflow for the sake of time? That is a choice you get to make.
Photo Courtesy of James Schuck
Here’s a great example of a “story page layout” from a wedding album
If you have included an album in your package price, and you should if you can, design the album yourself and have someone else print it. There are any number of excellent photo software tools that will allow you to do this, with or without templates. Most album printing companies provide this as part of their service at no charge. You would be better served to make the album as quickly as possible after the wedding while the day is fresh in your mind. That way, when your client comes back from their honeymoon, you are ready for them and they will be impressed to have the photos and the album design ready for their approval. They are going to want to make changes, but that is only natural. Just make sure you spell out how many rounds of edits they are allowed in your initial agreement, otherwise you may spend a great deal more time going back and forth before you send it off to be printed.
Remembering Them: Anniversary Cards and Children
Your wedding clients can become a client forever and a great source of referrals! Make sure you keep track of their wedding anniversary and send them a card every year, and make it special by including a photograph from their wedding to remind them of you and that special day in their lives. If you’ve done your job properly in preparation for their wedding, you’ll know their birthdays and send them a happy birthday card every year.
Photo Courtesy of James Schuck
They may have children, and those kids are going to be photographed every year for the family holiday cards. Photographing children is really fun and pretty easy, especially if you have kids of your own. Send them a birthday card for their children’s birthday as well. You cannot do this often enough. Those thoughtful reminders will bring in additional business and referrals down the road. If you do this, your business will be thriving before long.
All in all, wedding photography is hard, but highly rewarding work. You will see your pictures hanging in your client’s homes. Your photographs will be passed down for generations. It will mean something very special in their lives and you will always be part of that memory.