The Web Editing Process

At Wonderful Machine, we edit photos a little differently. Please read the following to understand how we work and how you can help us provide you with the highest quality edit in the most efficient (and cost effective) way possible.

1) You and I will start with a conversation (or two) to make sure we agree on an overall direction for your edit. In that conversation, we will reconcile your interests, your skills, and the opportunities in the marketplace to arrive at a concise description of who you are as a photographer. In other words, “you shoot <these> types of pictures for <those> types of clients.”

2) Once we’ve agreed on that direction, send me a folder containing about 500 of your most portfolio-worthy pictures that fit with those objectives, saved as jpegs about 1000 pixels on the long side and named <firstname>_<lastname>_<date>. Upload that folder of pictures to the fileshare service of your choice (we like Dropbox and YouSendIt) and send us a link.

Please organize the pictures in sub-folders named for the category you think they belong in. Do not put the same picture in more than one folder (though you may choose to include more than one variation of a particular picture in that folder, in terms of crop, toning or orientation). Please do not send us layouts of multiple images.

When selecting pictures, please keep in mind that sometimes showing a series of pictures from a particular project is preferable to simply showing the best picture from many different projects.

Please send all the pictures in one batch if you can. Sending pictures in multiple batches will increase both the editing and turnaround time because it often requires redoing some or all of the edit. You can send us more or fewer than 500 pictures, but keep in mind that more pictures will add to the editing time and fewer can adversely impact the quality of the edit.

Please deliver files that are fully processed and ready for display. Many of the decisions we make depend on exactly what the photos look like. When you shoot assignments for different clients, different post processing may be appropriate. But for the purposes of this edit, you may need to adjust the processing on some of your photos in order to present a cohesive look.

Please note that our cost estimates are based on these guidelines and these steps are designed to help save us time and you money. If you are unable to complete these steps, we will be able to accommodate you at an additional hourly expense.

3) We will carefully review your images and make sure they match up with our goals for the final edit. There are times when photos fall into predictable categories, by specialty or project or client or client type. Other times, we’ll propose groupings that are less predictable. Either way, we’ll want to be open-minded about the presentation, allowing the photos themselves to lead the way, rather than our preconceived notions of who you are as a photographer. I’ll review that organization with our other photo editors and producers to get their valuable feedback, then I’ll get your approval before we move forward with the next stage of the edit.

4) After I’ve done that initial sorting, I’ll do a rough edit of each category. We’ll separate our selects into the appropriate categories, and send you PDFs previewing the content of each section.

5) Next, I’ll refine the edit and begin to sequence the images to create a flow that makes your images look their best, and we’ll present the sequenced galleries to you as separate PDFs. We will ask you to take some time to digest the proposed changes, as it can sometimes be a bit of a shock to have an outside perspective on your presentation.

6) We’ll schedule a phone or Skype call to review the edit, answering any questions and noting changes you would like to see.

7) With feedback from that conversation, I’ll refine the edit and the sequencing until you’re satisfied with the final result.

8) Occasionally, the photographer and photo editor will come to the conclusion that more pictures need to be added (or even shot) in order to complete the edit, and we may need to suspend the edit while that can happen. In those cases, we’ll be happy to provide creative coaching on how to approach those shoots.

9) If you’re a Wonderful Machine member, we’ll bill you at the end of each calendar month for the work we did that month. For non-members, we charge half the estimated amount upfront, then bill for the balance of the time at the end of each month as the project goes along.

10) Once the project is complete, we will write a blog post about the project, including a before-and-after screencast. And we’d love to have a testimonial from you to include in that post!

I hope that’s helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions about any part of this editing process.