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Editing Wedding Photography – the 7 Day Rule and the 24 Hour Rule

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Iron Chairs. Wedding Photography by Tobias Key.

The 7 Day Rule

Editing a wedding can be a daunting task. You shoot many hundreds (or even thousands) of files, after which you have to upload them, back them up and then edit them. While I would never advise putting off the uploading images to your computer, I think it is essential not to look at those images for about a week before editing them. Why? Because when you have just finished a job it is very hard to edit it with a clear mind. You tend to have ideas about which images are ‘the best ‘ and your editing consists merely of looking for those images. If you leave the images for a while so the memory of these ‘good’ images fades a little it is much easier to edit objectively, picking images on their merits, as you rediscover them.

The 24 Hour Rule

Once you have selected you images you’ll want to adjust and retouch them. Again I have found that as I edit images, I get used to increased contrast, or or my judgement of colour balance fades. Often I have colour corrected an image, gone downstairs to make a cup of coffee, and then been baffled as the image I thought I had corrected perfectly seems to have gained a colour cast. The only explanation I can think of is that as I correct an image, my eyes are also adjusting to the colour cast , just as they adjust to a colour cast in a room with artificial lights. To counter act this I always take regular breaks, and I always try and wait 24 hours before I do a final check on a job and send it out.  Sometimes you’ll be shocked at what that perfectly retouched image looks like a day later.

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