For Photographers: Tricks and Tips: Wedding Photography Editing Workflow

I’m just editing an incredible wedding I shot this weekend at Barnsley House in the UK. I thought it would be a good opportunity to jot down the process to share with you guys. Here goes!

Download and Select in Aperture 3

  • Create a new project – I name the project with the date first e.g. 13.06.29 Jaime & Harriette.
  • Import the RAWS.
  • I then create my selection of photographs I’m going to work with, by applying a 1 star rating the one’s I want to use – I use the ‘Quick Preview’ mode for my initial selection.
  • I’ll then go through the selection once more to make sure I have only the shots I want.

Basic Corrections in Aperture

  • Cropping and straightening.
  • Colour and exposure compensation.

Retouch in Photoshop

  • Once I have done my basic corrections in Aperture, I will export any shots I want to retouch into Photoshop – You can choose what type of file Aperture exports into Photoshop in the ‘Aperture preferences’. I use 8-bit TIFFS.
  • Save back into Aperture.

Alien Skin Exposure 5 plugin in Aperture

  • Back in Aperture I use the new Alien Skin Exposure 5 plugin, to add either my colour or black/white effect to each image.

Name and Export in Aperture

  • To name the files, I select all of my images and use the ‘Batch change’ option- I use the couple’s names plus a number as for the file name e.g ‘Jaime & Harriette 001’.
  • I export JPEG’s that are 12 inches wide at 300 dpi, to produce files that are approximately 10mb each.


I have always really enjoyed the editing process. I edit on my 17in MacBook Pro, as for most of the year I travel almost constantly.

I listen to music whilst I edit, but find podcasts or the radio a little too distracting.

I download the images immediately after the wedding, whilst I am still at the venue. I leave the images on the cards, so there is always two copies. I use a card reader plugged into my MacBook to download.

I find the editing process a lot easier if I do this when the wedding is still fresh my mind. I will usually start the day after.

If you are using two or more cameras, it makes editing a lot simpler if the clocks on all of them are exactly the same time. You can then order by date/time in Aperture.

The final selection I give to the client can be anywhere between 300 – 1000 JPEGs.

There are links and discount codes to the software’s mentioned above in the Photographer’s Area page.

I am in the process of writing a detailed guide to how I shoot and retouch my bridal couple photographs. I hope to have this up on the site in a month or so.

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  • August 19, 2014 - 11:12 am

    Charley Smith - My pleasure. Great to hear!

  • August 18, 2014 - 9:20 pm

    Chris Morgan - Thanks so much for the info Charley. I met you briefly at Mei and Nic’s wedding whilst I was running the Photo Booth airstream. A great wedding and I’m sure you got some good ones.
    I am just having a play with Exposure 6 and it is awesome. Thanks for the tip.
    many thanks,

  • June 3, 2014 - 2:04 am

    Charley Smith - Hi Andrea, Thanks so much for your message! Great to hear its useful. Best wishes Charley

  • May 29, 2014 - 11:25 am

    Andrea Fishburn - Hi Charley,

    I’m finding your Photographers area so helpful to the development of my own skills particularly in post. I currently work as a camera assistant in the film industry but I love photography and am trying to take it further.

    I’m looking forward to reading your page on how to retouch bridal couple photos.

    Many thanks

    Andrea 🙂

  • November 1, 2013 - 9:20 am

    Graham Nixon - Thanks Charley, I sometimes use a bit of unsharp mask in Photoshop but most of the time rely on the sharpening in Lightroom.

  • October 28, 2013 - 9:44 pm

    Charley - Hi Graham,
    Thanks for your message, and apologies for not getting back to you sooner. It’s been a crazy few weeks of clocking air miles…
    I haven’t found a way to output sharpen within Aperture, so at the moment the only ‘effects’ I use for my wedding photographs are within Alien Skin Exposure 5.
    I have just finished shooting and editing a fashion story for Nylon, and documented the whole process to publish on my blog in a few weeks time. For those images, I used the basic ‘sharpen’ tool in Aperture, and was really pleased with the results.

  • October 16, 2013 - 4:47 pm

    Graham Nixon - Hi Charley,

    Thanks for the article, really interesting workflow.

    At which point do you apply sharpening, is it the final export at 12″ @300dpi?

    Cheers, Graham

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