May 25, 2008

All in a Days Work!

OK, I confess, it took several days, actually!

I'm not a wedding photographer, and I didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn last night! I will, on a rare occasion, photograph a wedding. Five years ago I photographed the wedding of one of my best friends. After the wedding, his wife immediately went into medical school and got super busy with it. For that and various other reasons she didn't order any of the pictures. Normally this is no big deal but at this particular time it became one. The reason: I shot the wedding on film and since then I have completely changed over to digital equipment and while I still have a film scanner, it needs repaired because its autofocus no longer works. I haven't had much motivation to send it off to Nikon since I only have to scan the rare negative these days. So, now, here I am with a wedding album order for over 60 images and a film scanner that isn't really that capable of doing large quantities of scanning!

The day is saved when I learn my friends/clients also have a high resolution scanner. Fortunately for me, she also is a photographer and has old film to scan. She sent me home with her film scanner. (I will say that it was pretty embarrassing to be caught without all the tools of the trade. Note to all you photographers out there; keep even your lesser used equipment in top shape! Thank goodness this client is also one of my best friends.) Now this film scanner is not the same brand as mine so I had a crash course in learning it. It wasn't super user-friendly at first but once I got the hang of where all the buttons were it was very easy to use and it did a beautiful job of scanning.

Once I got everything scanned, I started the process of post-processing the images. For those non-photographer readers, that means all the color balancing, cropping, contrast, shadow and highlight balance and blemishes and because it's scanned film, getting rid of all the dust specks and minimizing the film grain. As I began to re-familiarize myself with five year old images I could really see how much my photographic skills have improved over the years. There were details that I make adjustments for automatically now that I didn't even think about then. Nothing replaces experience. I've always said that and it definitely shows when you look at my older images. At first I was disappointed in the images. I wondered how on earth I was going to be able to bring them all up to my current level of quality. About 10 images into the wedding, I got into the groove and had a plan and began to have a lot of fun with the older images. the bride wanted some black and white and partial desaturations in the mix. About halfway through all the images I began to realize that the five year delay in ordering the album images was going to work out to my (and the bride's) benefit. I have skills now that I didn't five years ago to really make these images shine. I'm so glad I was able to prep them in the digital age and not the traditional way.

Of course, it all took time and lots of it. I spent approximately four full days to prepare 60 images. For those that think digital is cheaper than film..... well, it isn't! What your checkbook might save is more than spoken for in time, especially if you're going to do them right. I won't even get into the never ending equipment and software upgrades which go right back to your checkbook! Ahhhhh the costs of being a professional! I do enjoy it though, I used to say that photography sure beats a desk job, but I spend far more time at my desk than I do shooting in reality. Still, I love it. It's what I was meant to do. You can see the latest results of all my Memorial Day Weekend desk time in the finished wedding images.