Give your images a good first impression

I’ve been shooting weddings for almost 20 years.  In that time much has changed, but one basic truth remains: first impressions matter, and your images had better look their best when your clients see them for the first time.

Back in the days of film, wedding photographers sent their film to the best lab they could find and had the lab color balance the images as part of the printing process.  Photographers then edited out the bad exposures, goofy expressions, and closed eyes and were left with a set of their best work which they placed in a nice album and delivered to the clients.

The goal was then, as it is now, to get the clients excited by beautiful pictures so they would order full-size prints and tell all their friends about their great photographer.  Achieving such a level of excitement requires the images to look their best right off the bat.  If skin colors are off or the white wedding cake reflects florescent-green, the bride and groom will likely be disappointed with their pictures.

Many years and one digital revolution later, the printing and correction processes have been separated,  and  the new digital workflow often places the responsibility of image preparation on the photographer.  What’s more, the first time a client sees her images is often via a website.  Expectations, however, have not changed so radically.  If the cake looks green or skin colors are off, the reaction will still be disappointment.

This is why I feel it is still vitally important that the images you present to your client — be it prints or online — are color-corrected.  This is not a style issue, it’s your reputation.  If you can’t or don’t want to take the time to edit and correct hundreds of images yourself, I recommend having a professional lab like PWD do it for you. This workflow better reflects the old film model and provides a huge relief from the stress and monotony of late-night edit sessions.  Either way, I encourage you to only show edited, corrected images to your clients.  Technology, styles and  workflows all may change, but you’ll still never get more than one chance to make a good first impression.