Tips for a Wedding Photography Workflow

Destination wedding photographer, Kenny Kim, combines his love for travel, culture and photography to capture memorable moments. His nationally recognized work has been featured in the most respected photography periodicals such as: Destination Weddings & Honeymoon, The Knot, Chicago Social Bride, Shutterbug, The RangeFinder Magazine and various online publications. Kenny is also the author of two books: Wedding Photographer’s Planner & Digital Wedding Photography Photo Workshop, both of which are comprehensive must-reads for any photographer looking to successfully execute a wedding day shoot. Below, he shares his workflow after he shoots a destination wedding.


“As someone who has been been shooting weddings for over 12 years now, I often get asked if I have any tips or recommendations for getting started in the travel photography industry. Many who ask this question expect me to reply back with a list of conferences and workshops to attend, what camera gear to purchase or a slew of sound business advice. Instead, I throw a curve ball at them by asking what their workflow is like after the wedding is done.

As wedding photographers, we all know shooting a wedding is only half the battle. While our obvious role is to capture all the moments throughout the couple’s special day, what everyone may not realize, is the importance of workflow behind the scenes and after the day is done to preserve and protect these moments.

In the beginning of my career (not knowing anything), I did what any newbie photographers might do – purchase a desktop drive and some portable hard drives and use it as my backup system. Once they filled up, I bought more drives and repeated the same process. A couple years into the business, I unfortunately experienced the pain of having several of those drives fail. I ended up spending a ton of money recovering the data from the failed drives.

I then began researching for a better backup solution. In 2009, I was introduced to Drobo at the Wedding Portrait Photographer International Conference (affectionately known as WPPI) in Las Vegas, Nevada. I purchased their original 4-Bay USB 2.0 storage solution. I love Drobo’s simplistic approach to data protection. What sold me was that I no longer had worry about losing data, even if my drives failed. It has been over 9 years since then, and I still have the same original Drobo device. As expected, I have had three drives go bad inside. But when it happened, I never had to panic. I simply bought another drive and replaced the bad one and I was back in the game.

I recently upgraded to the new Drobo 5N2 and 5D3 solutions. While I loved my original Drobo 4-Bay (did I mention that it is still working?!), just like my first car, I decided an upgrade was necessary to take advantage of the new technology. What I love about the new Drobo 5D3, is that it is much faster than my previous system (5D3 uses Thunderbolt 3 & USB 3.0) and because the Drobo 5N2 is network based, I can access the files stored on Drobo, from anywhere around the world on my desktop and phone. Drobo 5N2 is extremely beneficial as I specialize in destination weddings, which requires me to travel often. Because travel heightens my risk of losing my data, I had to modify my workflow to ensure that my data did not get lost in transit due to travel mishaps.


Workflow After Every Destination Wedding:

1) Once the wedding is done, I finish packing up my gear and I remove all my SD/CF cards and place them in my ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket wallet. This wallet then goes into my pocket and it never leaves my side until I get back to my hotel room.

2) As soon as I get back to the room, I immediately start the backup process. I do not wait until the next day or few days after as you can risk the chance of losing your memory cards. Using PhotoMechanic by Camerabits, I ingest all the necessary metadata and copyright information to my files and begin importing them to my laptop computer.

3) Once this process is complete, I remove the memory cards and place them back into the ThinkTank wallet. These cards will not get used or formatted again until I return home and I can ensure that the images have been backed up in my office.

4) From my laptop computer, I take two Seagate portable USB 3.0 4TB hard drives and make one copy of the wedding in each of the drives. Once this is complete, I now have four different copies of data from the wedding day: SD Cards, Laptop hard drive, and the two portable drives. I make sure these four backups are never in the same bag/suitcase in the event that any emergency situations occur. If I have a fast Internet connection at the hotel, I even begin my 5th backup option – which is to access the 5N2 Drobo at the home office and begin uploading my files there. Even if it does not finish the entire process in one sitting, I can pick up where I left off and finish the rest of it when I get back home. The Drobo 5N2 is also helpful when my past clients reach out to me about previous orders because I can now easily access all the files.

5) Once I am back at the home office, I finish the backup process by making a copy of the wedding to the Drobo 5D3. If I have not finished making a copy to the Drobo 5N2 by the time I return, I will finish making the copy as well. For the internal hard drives inside Drobo, I rely on Seagate 8TB IronWolf Pro drives. Paired together, they are very dependable and fast!

Between my Drobo 5N2, 5D3, laptop hard drive, two Seagate portable drives and SanDisk SD cards, I have a pretty good backup system that has worked well for me throughout my wedding photography career. As a final precaution, once the wedding is edited and archived, I take advantage of my Amazon Prime Membership (which comes with unlimited cloud storage for photos and videos) and upload a final copy there in case of any emergencies. This backup system is pretty much the same for local weddings. The only part I skip is making backup copies on the two portable drives since I am coming right back to the home office after the wedding.

While this process is simple, the biggest challenge is disciplining yourself to follow these steps after every wedding. When you do, you will never have to worry about losing your data. Everything that we use to capture these moments is replaceable, except for the images. Losing them is detrimental to your business. Thanks to Drobo and their simple storage solution, protecting my client’s heirloom and legacy has never been easier.”

by Kenny Kim

Website: | Instagram: @kenny_kim Facebook: @kennykimphotography | Twitter: @kennykim