Thursday, February 17, 2011

Business Day Thursday: After The Wedding - What Happens Next: Part 2

Good Afternoon Everybody,

LasVegasSignWe headed out bright and early this morning and are on our way to Las Vegas for the huge WPPI Convention.  I'm not speaking at this show - we're here mostly to see what is new and to take in a few of the programs.  I'm also doing a gig or two in the Westcott booth, so if you get a chance, come on by and say HI.

Hey gang, last week I began a new series "After The Wedding - What Happens Next?"  I'll be posting for the next several Business Day Thursdays walking you through our workflow and sales flow at my studio. I hope you enjoy the read.

After The Wedding - What Happens Next: Part 2

Time To Recap The Job

I don't know about you guys and girls reading this but after the wedding I'm exhausted!  I'm usually working with two assistants, we've been running like wild banshees for 10 straight hours, so the first thing we need to do is regroup - that is check that we have all the gear and all the cards in a safely secured and accounted for.  We make the rounds to say our goodbyes and head back to studio to unload the gear.

Delkin Image routerAfter we arrive back at the studio we unpack the gear, check that we have everything and pull all the cards.  Most of the time that's about 4-5 16 gig full and partially full cards. I grab the cards and I begin the download with our Delkin Image Router. I've discussed the Delkin Image Router previously at DPT.  It's the fastest, easiest way to download gigs and gigs of data.  I can have 4 cards downloaded simultaneously in about 35-40 minutes - pretty darn quick.

OK, I know it's late by the time we wrap up - usually about 12:30 - 1:00 a.m. - am I heading to bed? Heck no.  We still have work to do and need to have an "adult beverage" or two to enjoy ;~). I'm serious about this.  We head to one of the local watering holes to get something to eat and something cold to drink. Remember, I don't eat at weddings so we are famished by days end.

The main reason my team and I take this time at the end of the day is to recap the job - what went right? where do we need improvement? did our newly tried ideas work? do I need to review issues/concerns with my team while they are fresh?  This is just a great time to sharpen the saw for yourself and your team after the event and in preparation for the next big event. 

OK, let's say your a single shooter. I would still recommend that you sit down with yourself and jot a few notes about how the job went while things are still fresh in your mind.  In this digital age this is  simplistic process. Grab your iPad and start making your notes in Evernote, tag them, and use them for review before the next job. Doing this on a regular basis gives you a great resource to prep for those future events.

Back To The Downloads

I'll usually finish up downloading the last card or two the following day.  If I have a second shooter, and I always do, the second shooter's images are all put into one folder with my images in another.  All files are renamed as such ####-DZ_SmithW11 and sequenced in time/date order. 

My assistant's images would be annotated with his/her initials.  This is done so I can easily review and critique my second shooter's work.  We are constantly striving to improve and polish our product for our client.

After the numbering/renaming process, All the images are imported into Lightroom 3 with my "Secret Settings" [link].  No the cards are not cleared yet.  That doesn't happen till we have the images stored in at least three places and one of those places must be off line.

Backup Policies

Up until a few years ago, we backed everything up to two sets of DVDs.  But that was back in the JPEG days when I could back up 3000 images on 1-2 DVDs.  That number has increased to 10-12 DVDs since switching to RAW - ouch!  Needless to say, things have not been going through the normal back up policies for the last few years.

Taiyo YudenI will admit, I'm a bit nervous about that too.  I still prefer DVD backup.  Some photogs have told me that they found that some of their CDs and DVDs and become corrupt and unreadable.  I have never had that problem. I suspect the reason that we've not experienced these issues is because we only use high quality 100 year archive media, for example, Taiyo Yuden/JVC discs.  We get them from CD Dimensions right here. Read my lips - your data will slowly fade away if you use cheap disks!

What's the disk solution to a 50 gig wedding?  The only answer has to be Blu-Ray which have been quite expensive these last few years.  The prices on the burners and media has started to come down and we're looking to upgrade this year to the new burners and Blu-Ray media.

In the mean time though our policy is to have all images residing twice on the main computer and then having a third backup on a USB external drive - I prefer Western Digital to Seagate, BTW.  This drive gets disconnected from the main computer after the third backup is made.  The drives are getting so inexpensive, it's really a no brainer to back up to a third drive.  I've seen 2T WD drives under $150 - I can back up a years worth of jobs easy.

Toshiba driveI've been playing around with the compact Toshiba pocket drives which I also like. A 1T drive is only $150 and is quite small and portable.  You can pick them up at B&H for under $114 [link]. Don't you love how things keep getting cheaper, faster, and better.  My first 1T Lacie was $700!

All this discussion takes us up to the point where we need to ready the images for Internet upload and client viewing.  I'll get into that next week.  Our plane is ready to land so I'm wrapping the discussion for today. Check back next week for What Happens Next: Part 3.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  It's time for us to hit the town and see what's cookin' in Vegas.  I promised LaDawn a little time off from the blogging duties this week so I may not be back tomorrow, well, maybe for an image of the day post, at least ;~)

Have a great one and I'll see you soon,  David 


  1. Bluray now has 128 Gig burners and media is coming.

  2. I have to say that the external harddrive is still king for me. They cost peanuts and are better than disc media in my opinion.

  3. Hard drives in our business should be Enterprize class
    I use WD Caviar Black