This post is going to be a bit tricky, so I figure I’ll segment it in to parts to make things a bit easier to understand in layout format.
On an average week, this is how schedule will look: (start on Thursdays, as I always have work Thursday, Fri, Sat, & Sun. Thursdays are my Mondays)
I’ll use an example of one of my busiest weeks last month to give you an idea of how I can work
Thursday: Restaurant PR event at Loew’s Coronado 6-9. Cruise over to a buddy’s place downtown & hang out til the nightclub is getting going around 10:30, then head to Andaz to shoot for an hour. Then over to Hard Rock for an hour. 3 gigs, first night of the week, check.
Saturday: St Baldrick’s cancer fundraiser at Quality Social 12 PM – 2 PM, set up photobooth at Andaz for later, drive up to Laguna to shoot Surf and Sand 5-8, head back down to SD for a photobooth and get it running by 9:30. Close up shop at 12:30, be home around 1:30 AM. Third night, 3 more gigs, check.
Sunday: Airr Supper Club VIP reception 7-9. Grab a bite to eat. Sunglasses at night party at Voyeur starts at 10, shoot for an hour & head to Hard Rock for Industry Sunday night party, head home around 12:30. Fourth Night, 3 more gigs, check. THIS IS THE LONG HAUL. Sunday night, my roommate gives me the “you’re crazy” look. I usually stay up until about 3 or 4 am editing a majority of the photos from the weekend. Not always the case, but Monday mornings are when everyone looks for their pics – so it’s a must to have them all up by then. I’m usually getting about 1500-2000 photos per weekend, but have gotten pretty good at rough edit & fine edit to where I can batch process the look for a majority of the photos. I’ll get into how I process each type of set later in this post.
Monday: Sleep until about 10 AM :) 2 PM PR photoshoot for a new bus wrap to promote an emerging limo bus company. 10 PM Back to Fluxx nightclub to shoot the industry-only event to celebrate their 1 year anniversary. 1 AM, back to mi casa.
Tuesday: Upload the pics in the morning, head out for a photo shoot for DJ Brett Bodley at 3 PM.
Wednesday: Enjoy my “weekend”.
So there’s a layout of one of my busiest weeks. Now I’m not saying that it’s the case every week – usually it’s about 2 gigs per day, and not nearly as hectic. I like having my days free to ride my bike and be outside during the week, so I don’t mind trading my weekend “party nights” in place of them. For the most part, the events themselves are a lot of fun to go to & are always filled with good company.
*Note – If I have a wedding on a Saturday, I wont work the previous Friday night. But if I’m booked til 10:30 for the wedding, you can bet money I’ll be working the club an hour after. One gear – GO.
Here’s my nitty-gritty workflow for each type of shoot that I do:
Nightlife: From each nightlife event, I’ll range anywhere from 50-250 photos depending on the wants/needs of the client. More often than not, the average number of pics delivered is going to be around 60-70 (Narrowed from about 120-150 total). The client may need photos of event sponsors, signage, a busy-looking dance floor, attractive people, prominent DJs, staff outfits, bottle service clientele, celebrity hosts, performances, over-all venue shots, and anything in between. Each client is different, and you’ve got to cater to what they’re looking for. The delivery for the majority of these types of events is anywhere prior to Monday morning, as that’s when most people slack off from work and recollect what they did over the weekend.
I deliver the pics via yousendit, ftp, the clients own shareware, or a private smugmug gallery. What’s nice is that nightlife clients don’t need these pics for print, so the photos are web-optimized and made for easy export & upload.
PR EVENTS: Can I just say one thing? I love PR events. These are some of my favorite clients, and here’s why: they value quality over quantity – and when I show up, they tell me, “just do your thing.” That kind of trust and an emphasis on quality makes me happy. Happy Tim=Happy Images. The only downside is that more often than not – since it’s PR, the images need to be uploaded & sent by 5 AM the following morning. It’s no paparazzi status upload (they have to have their shots up within a couple hours if not right after), but it can be hectic if working several events the same day & the set needs to be narrowed down to select favs. Color balancing & any exposure corrections can be time consuming, but it’s important that the shot be as “real” looking as possible when it’s sent out. No purple skies, no selectively colored black & whites, no diffused glow. PR keeps it REAL. Which I like :)
Like nightlife, PR clients look for things like signage, product placement paired with attractive people, celebrities, story-telling photos for a slide-show to be sourced to online news outlets. Pics are delivered via downloadable link by yousendit (both web & print optimized), as well as a private online gallery on my smugmug page which can allow them to sort through and grab photos faster than just downloading the entire album (this is useful for the larger events). Sometimes the amount of photos can be as little as 10, other times 200+, but more often than not, it will be about 50-60 or less per event.
FASHION: Talk about a beast. Fashion shows probably produce the most amount of images out of all the different things I photograph – here’s why: clients want to see everything. They want to see the full-body front, half-body front, stop, pose, look off, and then full body back as walking away.
And to be honest, some of the coordinators behind fashion shows can be a bit stressed over the whole event process, so try to steer clear and do your job come game day. Bring em good work and they’ll love you forever. That, or until the next show and they’re stressing again.
All that aside, I love shooting fashion shows. I love the people that attend the events, the feeling in the air, and the rush of getting the right shot. You’re going to be using your continuous shutter quite a bit for these, and be ready to go through and edit a TON of images from the night. For a single show during London Fashion Week, I think I shot over 800 images. Narrowed that down in post production to about 300, but still…that’s A LOT of images to go through in an album covering just a 15-20 minute show. And what’s next? Your images are going to be wanted to be seen first, so get them up ASAP!
It’s all worth it though, because fashion stuff is a ton of fun & if you have the room, you can get a really creative spin on it. Images are delivered via yousendit + private smugmug gallery.
PORTRAITS: Nice little mix in this one. Not as many photos to go through, but the posing is intensive. Gotta find what’s unique and what works with each client – and whether or not they’re looking to take on a certain appearance in the photo I.E. powerful, fun & energetic, smart/savvy, cool, etc. The shoot usually produces about 100 or so images, narrowed down to 30 or 40 shots, then the client narrows down their favorites to be fine-tuned in photoshop for any fly-away hairs, wrinkles in shirts, etc.
Photos delivered within 3 days of shoot for proofing, then edited & retouched -> returned within 10 days. Delivered yousendit, 3-5 retouched images per person, 40 or so originals delivered on disc as well.
PHOTOBOOTHS: Going to do an entire post on the how-to for these this week, so keep an eye out for it. These usually last from about 8 PM setup time to about midnight or 12:30 (that’s around the time when people get drunk and decide to fight the backdrop).
I’ll usually get about 4-500 images from these, narrow down to 150-300. Editing usually is consumed by cropping to fit the constant background in. Files delivered via yousendit to client and private album on smugmug for all guests. Delivered within 3 days of the event.
ENGAGEMENTS: Each session with these clients is unique, and I can’t stress it enough. Whenever a couple suggests going to the beach or balboa park, I will always encourage them to do the session somewhere more meaningful, and personal to them. The poses are what I think will fit the couple’s personality best, and how they fit the landscape as well.
I’ll probably pull about 100 images from a shoot, end up with about 50-60. Same set-up as the portraits, couple gets to choose 5 edited favorites. Proofing delivered within 3 days, final versions given within 10. Delivery via yousendit or DVD.
WEDDINGS: It’s a little tough to address this one. It really all depends on how big the event is. For a backyard budget wedding where I’ll only be there for 6 hours, I might get 300-600 images. For an all-weekend destination wedding to Cabo, probably in the couple thousand range. The post processing is most emphasized with these events, as they are undoubtedly the most important. Because it has become so time consuming, I will probably be switching methods and begin to outsource to shoot.edit or colorati. I love weddings, but I feel I can do without the post processing. I’m a firm believer in the idea of outsourcing everything that doesn’t require your personal touch – and I feel that the time spent editing the photos could be better used marketing yourself towards future clients. Even if you’re shooting at the $1000 per wedding level, I’d suggest outsourcing. It will get you to your goal quicker, and I am going to abide by that notion with my next wedding.
Delivery is by DVD, and all photos are backed up in RAW storage on external hard drive, while hi res jpegs are also backed up on Smugmug in a private gallery.
I think that just about covers my workflow & current work that I do. If you have any questions – please post in the comments below and I’ll answer them as best I can. If I left anything out, let me know & I’ll work it in the post so new people can benefit from your questions!
Have a great day guys!
PS – Upcoming posts:
Photobooths – how I set them up, what props work best, and how to get the most out of the night
Nightlife/Reception Photography How-to – what settings I use, how to get the best ‘party/reception’ photos
7 Traits you’d think might be un-professional, but can set you above the rest – 7 secrets I have for maintaining good relationships with clients
Balance – why I think maintaining a good balance is healthy & NECESSARY for you to keep being a good photographer
7 sure-fire ways to run your photography business into the ground – 7 things I ALWAYS see other photogs doing that are keeping them from making better money
Portrait Editing – Show all my fine-tuning in addition to color corrections after a portrait shoot
Have a suggestion? Put it in the comments below!