I saw an article on PetaPixel today about a particular wedding photography trend. Entitled The Demand for Instant Images is Upending Wedding Photography, the post is based off of a lengthier Associated Press piece called Wedding photographers adapt to couples who want instant images and less tradition. I don’t want to get into the details of either, but the summary is this: customers want a quicker turnaround so they can share pictures and videos of their big event more timely.
I’m not a wedding photographer. I’ve photographed a couple of weddings in the past—many years ago—and I have no desire to jump into that genre. Good wedding photographers are sometimes the first there and last to leave. It’s not uncommon to work 12, 14, or even 16 hours on the big day. Then there are thousands of exposures to cull through, and then edit. That might be an additional 24, 28, or even 32 hours of work! That’s not my cup of tea. For others, though, this is their thing, and they love what they do. Their passion is capturing incredible memories of other people’s weddings.
The shift to a faster turnaround must be frustrating for many in the industry, but it’s actually an opportunity. The article states that some wedding photographers are trying to get some social media type content into the hands of their customers within 48 hours. But why that long? Why not much quicker? Why not as the wedding is happening? If you can do that, you have a huge leg-up on your competition.
I cohost a live YouTube series with official Fujifilm X-Photographer Nathalie Boucry. She does a lot of business photography. Recently she was hired to photograph a corporate event, but they wanted to have the pictures available to share on their social media platforms immediately, in real-time as the event was happening. How did she do this? First, she used Fujifilm gear combined with my Film Simulation Recipes, and shot JPEGs. The pictures looked good straight-out-of-camera, and no editing was needed. Every so many minutes she downloaded the pictures off the camera and uploaded them onto a cloud drive that the customer had access to. Within 10 or 15 minutes of the pictures being captured, the customer was able to share them across the world. This went so well that a week later she was hired to do it again for a different corporate event. I do believe this is the future of event photography, including wedding photography.
Maybe real-time photo sharing isn’t something you’re ready to offer, but if your pictures look great straight-out-of-camera, and further manipulation isn’t needed (or only lightly needed), you can speed up your turnaround significantly. Instead of providing the client with a small batch of photos within 48 hours for social media sharing while they wait up to six weeks for the rest, you can deliver the whole wedding the next day or maybe two. This is, of course, in theory. I’m not aware of anyone who is actually doing this right now. A few different wedding photographers have told me that they are using my Film Simulation Recipes on their Fujifilm cameras, and delivering some of the pictures either same-day or next-day to the client, while providing the rest of photographs at some point later on. I do think, if you’ve got good settings dialed into your camera, and you’re especially careful to get everything right at the time the pictures are captured, that delivering unedited JPEGs of the wedding to the couple is possible, and nobody will be the wiser that you didn’t actually spend hours post-processing RAW files.
This is something I’ve talked about before. Back in December I published Want to be a Wedding Photographer? Your Opportunity Awaits! and earlier this month I posted The Future of Photography is Unedited, where I touched on this topic. I keep bringing it up because I see this shift happening, and those who already have a simplified workflow using Film Simulation Recipes are ahead of the curve, and are primed for success in this changing environment. I want to make sure that you are aware of it, in case you want to take advantage of the opportunity.
I don’t do wedding or event photography, but there are still plenty of advantages to shooting JPEGs. Despite having way more photographs to cull through and share, I was able to publish my pictures of the Central Coast of California tour much quicker than Ken Rockwell did, because my workflow is much quicker than his. That’s a pretty meaningless example; I don’t have a lot of strict photographic deadlines. Perhaps a better case is this: on December 8th of last year, Nathalie, myself, a group of guests, and those who tuned-in, created a Film Simulation Recipe during the Let’s Get Festive holiday-special SOOC Live broadcast—this is the first and (as far as I’m aware) only time a Fujifilm Recipe has been made live on YouTube. Within minutes of its creation, I (and others) had captured a picture using the new Film Simulation Recipe and shared it with all those watching. The very next day I published the Recipe, which the live audience named Mystery Chrome, on this website (and the Fuji X Weekly App), complete with 24 example pictures. That’s my best quick-turnaround example.
Even though I don’t have the need to publish pictures immediately after they’ve been captured, I do sometimes share a photo quickly through text or social media, which is never a problem because I don’t post-process my images. What’s more meaningful to me is that I don’t spend hours and hours sitting at a computing fiddling with files, which saves me a ton of time, making me more productive, while also freeing up time for other things (such as writing blog posts and spending time with my family). It’s changed my life, no hyperbole. I think it can and will change event photography and even wedding photography. It will just take some pioneer photographers to give it a try, which could be you.
Not post-processing your pictures is called one-step photography, a term coined by Edwin Land and perpetuated by Ansel Adams in his book Polaroid Land Photography. “The effect of one-step processing on both amateur and professional creative photography,” Adams stated, “has been revolutionary.” With film, step-one is capturing the picture in-camera and step-two is developing and printing it in a darkroom; however, Polaroid cameras removed the second step, creating a one-step process, which greatly simplified the photographic workflow. With digital, step-one is capturing the picture in-camera and step-two is post-processing in software like Lightroom; however, Film Simulation Recipes remove the second step, creating a one-step process, which greatly simplifies the photographic workflow. “The process has revolutionized the art and craft of photography,” Adams concluded. It still is, for those who embrace the one-step approach.