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50 Step Wedding Photography Workflow

Upload from August 31, 2011

Weddings are a LOT of work! It’s not just shooting the wedding day that is intense, but also all the prep work that happens before, and all the client care that happens after!

A great wedding photography workflow will help make sure that when you’re in the thick of it you’ll still be able to stay calm, work efficiently, and give each and every client awesome service!

I dug up our own wedding workflow from way back when we shot weddings. As in, from last year :) It’s pretty insanely detailed, so hopefully it will either give you direction in making a new one, or help you strengthen your existing one! Let’s jump right in.

Pre-Booking

1. Respond to initial inquiry with info PDF (describing style, booking process and general investment range), and suggestion to book a meeting.

2. Arrange a meeting date as soon as possible! Delaying it can lead to problems if others are inquiring for the same date.

Initial Consultation Meeting

3. Prep for meeting (tasty drinks and snacks stocked, house/studio clean, computer set up).

4. Start with intro video/slideshow showing some of your favourite images.

5. Get to know them, and their wedding. Ask lots and lots of questions!

6. Explain what you do, show them your products.

7. Cover pricing and the process of working with you.

8. Q&A.

9. Give them a copy of the contract (may want to sign then, or go home and chat).

10. Follow up meeting with a thank you email.

Booking

11. Sign contract (online or in person) and receive deposit.

12. Add to client database, input wedding into calendar.

13. Send welcome package (treats, info about the process), thank you card, questionnaire.

Engagement Session

14. Schedule date for shoot and viewing & ordering session.

15. Discuss ideas for e-session using info in the questionnaire, and choose location.

16. Confirm time and location.

17. Shoot engagement session.

18. Send thank you email.

19. Put teaser on Facebook.

20. Sort. We use PhotoMechanic for this to keep things speedy.

21. Edit. Here we use Lightroom for photo editing.

22. Pre-design all products. This is super important, especially for albums. Pre-designing helps the clients really understand how their images will look in your products.

23. Confirm time and date for viewing and ordering session.

24. Viewing and ordering session. Let them see the photos, help them pick what they’d like. Make it a great experience. Have fun!

25. Send thank you email, details of order and timeline for completion of all products.

26. Submit order to labs.

27. Pickup products.

28. Package products.

29. Schedule dropoff.

30. Drop off products.

Wedding

31. Schedule pre-wedding meeting for 1 or 2 weeks before wedding date.

32. Send worksheet to complete for the meeting (most important thing here is getting the list of family formals that they’d like!).

33. Hold pre-wedding meeting (discuss the timeline of the day, must-have shots, what they are envisioning for their portraits). Get full payment for the wedding at this point, so you don’t have to deal with it on the day of.

34. Choose location for portraits & rain backup.

34. Attend rehearsal.

35. Prep gear (clean cameras and lenses, charge batteries, clear cards, pack bags, prep clothes, snacks, umbrellas in car).

36. Review schedule + input locations in GPS (makes it quicker on the wedding day, and if something isn’t in the GPS you have time to find it on Google maps)

37. Shoot wedding!

38. Back up all photos.

39. Put teaser on Facebook.

40. Sort.

41. Edit.

42. Pre-design (album, thank you cards, wall galleries).

43. Schedule premiere session.

44. Hold premiere session (Show them slideshow of your favourite photos, and all the pre-designs you created. May want to offer a discounted rate if they purchase products then. Give digital files if purchased already. Let them know the rest of the photos will be online in a gallery, and you’ll send them the link after the session. Often you’ll deliver far too many images to go through all of them at the premiere session!).

45. Follow up with thank you, details of order and timeline for products.

46. Submit products to labs.

47. Pickup and package products.

48. Deliver products. Always nice to include a little thank you gift here (extra print of their favourite image or something like that!).

49. Follow up to ensure everything is good with their products.

50. Blog wedding.

If you’re super organized, you may want to also schedule in their anniversary so you can send them a first year anniversary card! That would be super.

So there it is. Obviously if you’re putting this on a workflow board you’ll want to combine a lot of steps so it will fit.  Our very first year of shooting weddings we did 30, and having a workflow board totally saved our butts! Grab our free template if you haven’t already and make your own!

Each and every photographer will have a different workflow, since everyone has a unique way of doing business! So, if you have some useful steps in your own workflow that aren’t here, feel free to share them in the comments!

Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.

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Discussion

15 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. Oh, you guys. How do you ALWAYS know what I need?

  2. I absolutely love your site. As a person starting off, you offer a ton of information which I find extremely valuable. I was wondering, how do you bring up pricing? On my website I have a "starting at" cost, but do you wait for the client to bring up the topic? I have read in a few books to not bring it up till they ask about it….. thoughts?

  3. Great post. So glad I found this site. Practical simple effective advice.

  4. *@Erin:* Lol, I don't know! Mental connection perhaps :)

    *@Brant:* So sorry for the delay in responding! These comments slipped through the cracks!

    For weddings, we would thoroughly discuss pricing when we met up in person. It was just part of our initial meeting. After chatting about what they were looking for, and what our style was all about, then we'd discuss pricing.

    We'd have a "starting at" on our website to let people know what minimum investment, and then the details we'd talk about in person so we could address any questions.

    I think whether to bring it up yourself or not is an interesting idea. I'm not really sure what would be best! But I think that you definitely want to discuss it, since it's the kind of thing that if it isn't covered thoroughly, there would be misunderstandings. So if they never bring it up, you would have to do it yourself at some point!

    Definitely lots to think about! Worth trying it out a couple different ways and seeing what works best!

    *@Mario:* Thank you! We're very glad you're enjoying the site!! :)

  5. I've come back to visit this one… when you say "treats" in the welcome package… what kind of treats are we talking? Sounds like a great idea, but I can't think of anything I could offer them 0_o

  6. *@Erin:* We really customized the treats to the client, so we'd listen to what they liked, and picked something relevant! We'd always have some jelly beans, and then maybe some nice coffee if they were into that, delicious cookies, fancy chocolates….we are pretty food centric, so that's the route we went! But I've seen people put in fun magazines, a little journal perhaps, a book to help with wedding planning, lots of potential options!

  7. You guys share so much content for FREE that it's amazing. I love how your articles aren't filled with overly fluffy words and blahhh…

    Another thing I like about your website is how all the articles kinda go together and make it easy with your built in links to click around – article to article.

    My only

  8. If you made a tutorial book on this in full detail I would buy it in a heartbeat. I need a workflow e-book that makes sense!!

  9. Lightroom does NOT have to load the large RAW files in order to sort. I never load them just to sort.

    • Neither do we! We do all our sorting in Photo Mechanic (we find it faster to do so than using Lightroom), and Lightroom is used for editing. We load the full previews in Lightroom so that while we’re editing it’s faster to apply changes and zoom in when necessary!

  10. Hi guys,
    I have read most of your articles regarding weddings and also your wedding ebook. I am wondering why you no longer shoot weddings?
    Did you get sick of working weekends or is the portrait business more profitable/fun?
    Cheers,
    Justin

    • Hey Justin! We had an amazing time shooting weddings, learned a LOT, and got to work with awesome people. In the end though we decided it wasn’t our lifelong photography passion, so we decided to move on and try out some new genres. We really like to explore different areas of photography, and I don’t think we’ll ever do just one thing forever! Weddings were a fantastic start to our career, and we’re so glad we had the opportunity to shoot them, and share what we learned!

  11. After you sort the wedding photos, do you put the unedited photos on your site or do you wait until you have edited them before putting them on the site for the bride and groom to see

  12. Milnor Ian says:

    Your workflow really does help me. Is this workflow applicable in any event? or only in wedding? Can I ask if you can guys gave me workflow that can be also applied in any occasion like birthday, debut, anniversary?

  13. hi, I am so glad i found your site! I am writing an essay in my English class on a possible career in wedding photography, and was wondering, could I possibly get one of you to be one of my primary sources? Just to get some information on what it’s like and what all you guys had to do to get to where you are? It would be a great help to pass my class.

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