Event Photography Workflow as Event Photography Professionals
Have you ever asked yourself why your photographs can’t be delivered onsite at your event or first thing in the morning? Well to be totally honest, they can be. But why aren’t they is probably the more important question.
As event and conference photographers, it’s not uncommon for to photograph hundreds or even thousands of images per job. So when there are multiple days, activities and even multiple photographers it is important to have an efficient workflow and back up procedures to keep client’s images safe and organised.
It is important to stick to a fluid workflow from the moment a photo is taken, processed, making backups & delivery to keep images organised and safe from potential hardware failures. There is no right or wrong way when working on your event photography workflow – it’s what works best for each situation.
Event Photography Workflow
Download, Ingest & Backup
Images from the memory cards are downloaded and backed up immediately onto multiple drives because you never know when a computer hard drive will fail.
First step is to download the files through Photo Mechanic, where basic information is added to the images such event location, company contact details and copyright information. Additional information can also be prepared before the event so they it can be added on ingest.
The images are downloaded to two locations:
- The working computer; and
- A NAS (Networked attached storage).
Metadata Using Photo Mechanic
Metadata is the information that defines and describes data.It is often referred to as data about data or information about data because it provides data users with information about the purpose, processes, and methods involved in the data collection.
Digital photographs can include information within the file such as image’s creator, copyright holder, source and description. They can explain rights released and available to an image. Such information is also used by photojournalist and media agencies to describe the photo and also the people in the photo to correctly identify them. The data above is displaying the event name, where the event was held and the location and the photographer’s details.
With larger jobs, we create additional folders, For example, a conference may have keynotes, welcome reception and a gala dinner so these images are put into their respective folders first. Additional metadata is added once the photographs have been sorted.
While still in PhotoMechanic we rename the images to something that relates to the job, either the event name, speaker name or a more general naming scheme.
A sample of the naming structure would look like this: EPA154445 to Emerald_Ball_234409-EPA154445.
Selection Of the Best Photographs
At any job, a photographer may take several images of the same subject due to lighting changes, the subject may have blinked, different settings and focus points. A photographer will usually pick the best photo or two of that series – who wants to go through hundreds of images anyway right? Trust your photographer in picking the best final images.
We use Photo Mechanic due to its’ speed and do a quick pass simply tick “YES” to the ones we want to keep. The selected images are then put into a Selects folder. The images that haven’t been selected are kept in a different folder.
Processing & Editing
The approximate time for event photographs to be processed and edited is roughly half the time the photographer was onsite shooting. Of course, this varies on the number of images and also on the number of lighting conditions and changes. The lighting of a speaker at a lectern doesn’t change during the day, however an outdoor event on an overcast day could change every minute.
Ever wondered why speakers at a lectern appear very orange? Because your photographer hasn’t adjusted their white balance to suit the lighting conditions. In most cases these photographers are providing images Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) and the images aren’t given a second thought.
Hero images are key to any event. Those few images that stick out from the rest just pops out and sometimes a little extra editing really makes them pop.
The Selects folder which was created with the photos we want to edit are imported into Adobe Lightroom and the files are sorted by the capture settings. The Lens used, whether the Flash was used, the Aperture and sometimes ISO – depending how many images there are to edit. The idea behind this is to be able to edit 1 photo and use similar adjustments and apply them for the remaining images.
Exporting to JPGs
Most professional photographers will photograph in a file format called RAW files which gives them a better ability to process and adjust the image without causing any destruction to the file. However, RAW files need special software to view them and are very large. They don’t work in everyday applications like emails, word documents or even websites so they need to be exported into a file format that clients can use, such as JPGs.
Delivery to Clients
For image delivery we upload our High Res JPGs to Photoshelter. Clients are able to view and download their photos as High or Low Resolution images and we can restrict access using emails or passwords.
Backups For Event Photography Workflow
Once the job is completed, all the photographs; unselected RAW files, the selected RAW files (Selects) and High Res JPGs are copied to several locations.
- The original images on HDD1 are replaced.
- A second copy of all the images are copied onto another external hard drive HDD2.
- A third copy is made onto a NAS (Networked-attached storage).
- There is also a temporary copy that sits on the the original Working Drive and are only removed when space is required on the drive.
- Don’t forget there’s also the finished JPG files sitting on the Photoshelter website – because you can never have enough backups!
Why do photographers charge an additional fee for onsite processing or an express turnaround?
Imagine covering an awards night from 6pm and finished at midnight. As you go pack up your shoes off the dance floor and head home to bed the photographer goes to his computer and has to go through steps 1 to 6 with a minimum of 3 hours editing. He or she will be up till the wee hours of the morning processing those images and getting them ready to deliver to your “8am delivery”. Some cases, event photographers will hire photo editors to process their images and to get somebody to work those late hours requires some sort of additional payment.
Your best option to keep within budget would to only request certain hero images. Images that you may use for PR/Media and have them uploaded or emailed to you. This would allow you to have the images in a timely manner and keep your photography budget on track.