Hi, I’m Josh Hartman- Traverse City Photographer, Yoga Teacher, and Adventure Seeker. I thought I’d share my editing workflow in this blog post to better inform my photography clients of what’s happening behind the scenes after I capture a photo adventure. Really, my work has just begun!

After a photo shoot, it’s time for the culling (making the final photo selections), editing, and upload/delivery of the final gallery to the clients. For every hour I spend shooting, I have at least 2 to 3 hours of computer work to make the images look their very best. Let me take you through my workflow so that you may have a better idea of my process and what to expect to see in the final gallery.

How many images do you take? How do you select the best images?

In just one hour of shooting I can easily snap off 750 to 1,000 images. As a photographer who is looking to capture the unscripted natural moments, I’d rather have more images to choose from than too few.  Often I ingest multiple photography sessions at once and can easily have 10-15,000 images to review from one busy weekend. Then it’s time to cull/make the final selections. The culling process is one of the most important steps in my photography process. It’s when I select the very best images for additional editing. I use a program called Photo Mechanic to flag these images. Below you can see I’ve made the final selections in red. Then I go through those images once or twice more to choose favorites for the final gallery.


How do you edit the photos? What changes do you make to the images?

After culling the photos from a session, I then transfer my final selections to Adobe Lightroom Photoshop. This is the editing software I use to make the images look their very best. I will adjust the basic levels of the image including but not limited to exposure, white balance, saturation, sharpness, image noise, and warmth. I straighten the image and crop in if necessary. In addition to these standard adjustments, I will often soften skin, remove blemishes/stray hairs, remove distractions from the background, and bring out certain parts of the image with a contrast, exposure, or sharpening brush. When I feel the images are ready, it’s time to export and deliver the final gallery.

Josh Hartman Editing Workflow

Do you have a particular editing style?

I do have a filter that I have refined over the last 10 years that I use for all of my images. This is my “look” or artistic flair. As I’m sure you can tell from my work, I tend to like my images colorful and warm. I do strive for my photos to look timeless and like real life. For this reason, I tend to avoid really trendy effects or over-saturating so that an image looks unrealistic. I am always open to suggestions or feedback, but I do try to stay true to my artistic style when editing photos.

What if I want more images or additional edits?

No problem! Once you receive your final gallery, you can easily ask for additional edits and images. You might say, “Hey Josh. I love these images. I’m curious if you have a couple more selections from when we were running down the dunes?” or “These photos are awesome (with a screenshot of the image). Is there any way you can remove that stray hair? Thanks!”

You can even make a favorites gallery through Zenfolio. Make sure to share your favorite set with me and explain what edits you’d like to have done. I want to make sure you are 100% happy with your images. Please understand that additional edits will take additional time.

Santa Barbara Editing Workflow

How long does it take for me to receive my photos? What about sneak peeks?

By the time I photograph a session, I may already have a backlog of a dozen photo shoots and weddings to edit. Most of my weekends are spent photographing couples and families and so my weekdays are spent catching up on editing and other business tasks. My typical delivery time for photo adventures and weddings is 2-3 weeks. In the really busy months of July through September (when kids are out of school and the wedding season is hot), my photo turnaround may be closer to 4-6 weeks. I do offer sneak peeks the week after your photo shoot for my proposal and wedding clients. If for some reason you need your photos asap, you can always request rush delivery. Email me for more details.

How can I get an update on my photos?

The best way to know my progress on your images is by checking my social media. Click the image below to follow my photo adventures on instagram. I continuously update my feed and also share my current turnaround time to give you a better idea of when you will receive your images. Thanks for reading and feel free to reach out if you have any questions. See you at the trailhead!

Josh Hartman – Traverse City Adventure Photographer

Instagram @JoshHartmanPhotography Workflow Editing