Photographers Workflow (PS EP-69)

Episode 69: Workflows for Portrait Sessions

A tip to make your culling and editing process go a lot smoother For in studio sessions the the ideal way for me to cull and have a proofing session is to do so while your client is still there.

Culling with client in studio: Offer your client a beverage, or small snack, get them comfortable, and tell them you are going to go through and quickly select all the usable images out. Quickly go through and flag and reject images from your session. Then either on a TV you have set up, or even just next to your computer screen, go through images. (star these 2,3,4) Move relatively quickly. If they really like a photo, they will tell you. By the time the client leaves, you have a solid list of images they like to work off of.

From there go through on your own and star 3,4,5 stars Take the 5’s and grade them Red, Yellow, Green (Red = basic Raw Processing, Yellow = Retouching Candidate, Green = Should be retouched/very good images.) Select green filters and pick the 1 or 2 best shots for a high end retouching workflow Label them Blue (9)

All other greens should have basic lightroom retouching workflow. This category shouldn’t be too large…around what you promised to deliver to your client.

What if I can’t have my client stay around for a post shoot proofing session? Not all portrait sessions are the same, and especially when you have children in the mix you want to be as fast to shoot and finish as possible.

No problems! Cull your images as you would normally, still select out what you believe to be the best shots from the session, Take all of the 5 star images you have selected out and export them to a separate folder for your sales/reveal session. I tend to do an intermediate retouching on a favorite image of mine to show the client a general idea of what my “Finalization” process will look like. If you prefer to instead use a proofing gallery with services like Pixieset or Pass I recommend making a separate “Artist Selects” Folder as your landing folder and an additional “Session shots” folder that includes your selects as well.

Processing For smaller sessions I will edit an image I like with all the basic panel through Effects panel adjustments I would normally make to add a customized look to each session, and then I will sync it to the rest of the session photos and go through and adjust basic exposure, cropping etc.

I do this because I feel that if I solely rely on presets, my editing skills will not improve, I will just constantly do the same thing.

However, that isn’t to say that I won’t use presets, I will just apply a preset to an image before I go through and adjust on my own to suit the image/session.

After I have all of my useable session photos looking similar I will start to retouch my finalized images or export for a sales session.

Now when it comes to finalization family sessions to be a little bit different from couples, seniors or headshots in that I do not do much retouching, and the most advanced I will get is using my quick retouching workflow in lightroom. However, retouching can be useful for any type of portrait session depending on what type of service your are trying to provide your clients.

Retouching I have 3 main types of retouching I will use, a quick and basic retouching in lightroom, something that takes a little bit longer in photoshop, but can still be done relatively quickly and a high end retouching style. In the very near future I will be releasing a retouching course on improve photography plus. This is something I have put together after years of studying the techniques of retouchers and other professionals and adapting the techniques to best suit my style. It is an in depth look at retouching that I take my time to go through to allow the viewer to follow along. If this is something that interests you

Go to ImprovePhotographyPlus.com to start your 14 day free trial today!

You may go there specifically for this course on retouching, but I promise there are many other great resources on there that will definitely make it worth the subscription and we are working very hard to add even more content all the time!


Bob: I don't think I have heard to much about it yet. It kinda gets grazed by whenNick talks about why Jim Harmer is wrong about AWB, but I can't remember anyone ever going into depth about it.

Kyle Kephart Is shooting with a vertical grip worth it or just added weight to the bag you don't need?

Annelise Spencer Purchasing LR presets for editing: yay or nay?

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