What goes into an in-home family or newborn session
Sep 24, 2019
“How long will it take you to edit this?” It’s a pretty common question that I get, but….the answer isn’t an easy one.
It isn’t easy because every session really is different, but also because, if we’re talking about what goes into a session, it’s so much more than editing.
So! I thought it might be helpful to break it all down so that you can know behind the scenes what goes into a family or newborn session.
Ready? Here’s what a typical in-home newborn or family session goes down:
Replying to the initial inquiry (these generally come via my website, but sometimes also through Instagram) and then emailing back and forth answering any questions and/or following up. 1 hour.
Pre-session meeting. I gather my albums, sample prints, sample cards and a Welcome Guide all together. Then I stop at Starbucks to grab drinks for everyone and then carry on to your house. We chat about what to expect, how to prepare, what to wear, and what we’ll do during the session. If there are kids then I’ll usually have the kids give me a quick tour of the house and I’ll show you all of my albums and prints. We generally chat for half an hour or so, then I either go to another appointment or drive back to my office. Depending on the drive, this is anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours.
I block off time before your session to prepare. I make sure my cameras are both ready to go with fresh memory cards and charged batteries. I’ll also spend time making sure I have in my head exactly what you want from the session and will review my notes from our pre-session meeting. If it’s a newborn session I’ll gather a few swaddles (just as backups) and plain diapers (I always bring a few so we have some without designs). If it’s a family session with small kids and we aren’t in your home then I’ll pack little things to keep kids occupied like bubbles or small candies. 1 hour.
I drive to meet you at your session and we hang out anywhere from 1.5-2 hours (sometimes up to 3 hours for a newborn session if the baby is having a hard time settling or feeds a lot).
I head back to my office and immediately back up all of the images and that day will send a few sneak peek images. 45 min.
Culling. This is the fancy term photographers use to describe which images are keepers and which will get cut. I like to do this in one session without interruption. I make the images big on my screen and go through each one, deciding if it’s going to be edited. The time for this changes depending on how long the session was, but it generally takes me about an hour.
Editing! The time for this can vary substantially and depending on my schedule that week, sometimes it happens all in one day and sometimes it’s over a few days. Newborns tend to take more editing time as I focus on making sure the baby’s skin is nice and smooth and the colour is correct (i.e. correcting jaundice). It can also take more time to edit sessions that have been in multiple locations or rooms as I have to make sure the colour looks consistent throughout all of the images, even though the room colours and light in each room might be very different. Once I’m done editing I’ll let everything sit for a day and come back to it with fresh eyes to make sure it’s all consistent. 3-6 hours for a 2 hour session.
Design cards and/or announcements. Each full session includes a digital card or birth announcement and I pre-design 3 proofs for each session. 1 hour.
Slideshow. The slideshow is actually one of my favourite things to do, but it is the one thing that can quickly go off the rails time-wise. The biggest reason is MUSIC. I am very particular about music and will sometimes spend more than an hour just listening to songs to find the perfect one. Other times I will finish a session and already have a song in mind that I know will fit perfectly. Then I put the whole slideshow with cover slides and time the photos to switch to the music. 1-2 hours.
Finalizing everything. I upload all of the images and the card proofs to the gallery, upload the slideshow to Vimeo and write a big email with all of the ordering instructions. Once the images are uploaded into the gallery I log in as you would to make sure it’s all in tip-top shape and is working as it should. I also watch the slideshow one more time to make sure it’s all good. 45 min.
After you choose your collection I then spend time loading all of the images onto a USB and mailing it to you, ordering cards and/or designing an album. This can vary dramatically depending on the collection that’ purchased.
So, if we add all that up it’s anywhere from 13-19 hours that goes into one session.
Is it what you thought? More? Less?
I write all this not to justify what I do in any way, more just so that you know that there’s more to a session than the session and editing. Although editing is a large chunk of the work, in reality, it accounts for about 1/3 of the total time spent on a session.
Questions? You know I’m an open book! Send me an email and I’m happy to chat more about the sessions options and what is involved with each one.
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