How Long Does it Take to Deliver Wedding Photos?
There is still a lot of people who are confused as to why it can take up to 2 months or more to deliver wedding photos. Let’s clear it up for you. But it’s just a photoshoot, upload and send it, right? Well to put it bluntly nope, no, not at all!
Contrary to what you might believe there’s a lot of care and consideration and hard work that goes into delivering wedding images.
Usually, the workflow goes something like this: we get home at midnight from a beautiful wedding and go straight upstairs to our office and upload and back up about 6-7 memory cards full of huge raw images.
Depending on the write speed of our memory cards, this can take a little while maybe an hour or so. Once they’ve been backed up on two hard drives and sorted into folders with each shooters details it’s about 2 am so we call it a night and go to bed.
It’s a Process
Most weddings we photograph are on a Saturday so on Sunday we spend that time recovering from the massive 16 hour day, carrying heavy equipment around (mostly running with said equipment ducking and weaving to get the perfect shots). We also have 2 young children still living at home so we make sure we give them as much of our time on a Sunday as we can as we’ve not spent much quality time with them that weekend.
Usually by Sunday night when the kids are in bed I like to browse the new images and pick a couple that stands out to me and I will make some edits to those and send to our couple as a sneak peak. As I know they are dying to see something from their day and post an announcement on social media.
The following one to two weeks is spent culling the images down to an amount that is suitable for the wedding collection our clients have purchased. This is probably the longest part of the process for us. (Apart from ordering albums) culling up to 2000 plus images down to 500, 800, or 1000. Depending on the wedding, we can sometimes give a few more. We have handed over 1500 but that’s rare. We want each image to stand out to our client so we do our best to cull the images back to the cream of the crop. This can take a little while.
Once we have finalised the images to our liking, we begin the editing process and we edit every image. I love to create images that resemble the way a film camera captures the image. My edit reflects that. While still looking as clean and true to colour as possible. Each colour pallet in each wedding is different so this process can take a time to achieve the look I’m trying to find for that wedding. There’s always a little bit of straightening and corrections to make, and I go through each image to do this. My aim is to deliver wedding photos as quickly as I can, for a smooth customer experience.
So that I don’t get to the point where everything looks the same or I miss things; I have to break this up into 2-hour blocks.
We always have another couple of weddings we are in the process of editing or creating for so I’ll edit other weddings in between.
This can take a few days, I usually allow at least a good week to do this to my perfectionist’s eye. Rushing this isn’t healthy for my clients, my businesses or my artful heart.
After the culling and editing is all done, we have to arrange the images into the order of the flow of the day. Remember we have two shooters sometimes three and all shooting on different cards with different numbers on each image from each other. So we have to manually go through each card and put the images in order to tell the story of the day. That in itself is a number of hours of work.
Once we have put the images in order we export them from our editing program and back them up renamed & numbered in order to our hard drives. We then back them up in 3 different sizes in a different format for distribution to the online gallery, and the USBs. This takes a few hours.
Once we have done all of this we begin on the extras such as the slideshow, the album layout and anything else our clients have ordered.
The slideshow & blog post about 3-4 days of time. Imagine from 1000 wedding images you have to choose just 60-100 to tell the story of the day in an emotional slideshow to the music your clients love; a little daunting right?
Now this all happens for each wedding and in the busy season this can take at least the whole 8 weeks as we may have 5,6 or even 10 weddings at one time; each with slightly different delivery dates. Plus we have other business to do such as marketing, client meetings, admin and back office work. Also, add in that we don’t work 7 days a week, we MUST have a work-life balance or we will not be able to produce our best most creative work. Also, add that we have families and sometimes we get ill or we need a holiday and just general life stuff. I mean you have a life and so do we. So if you take into account all of the above 4-8 weeks is pretty quick to deliver wedding photos. Especially for a fully functioning busy wedding photography business.
If you get all of your images back super quick, well there are a few reasons for that, one could be your photographer isn’t very busy with weddings, or they don’t have a huge level of care for editing or they don’t edit at all! Your photographer may burn the candle at both ends and stay up all night and day or work seven days to get your images to you. But if you receive wedding photos and they are excellent, it may be that your photographer has outsourced their editing. Which I cannot personally do, I don’t have anything against it; but for me, I like to have control of my editing so it is my work, my interpretation, my art. With outsourced editing, I feel as though I lose some connection to my images. I know sounds silly right! It’s a creatives thing I think.
So for a wedding photography business that does everything in-house, and it’s the busy season 8 weeks to deliver wedding photos is fair. Receiving your album and prints is usually another 3 weeks minimum once you’ve chosen your album images and happy with the layout, so once it’s all said and done we order from our professional printing service also our framing service and the earliest we can usually have an album delivered is 3 weeks; because as you’ve just read, that business is busy too and our order isn’t their only one. (As much as we like to think we are)
Our clients agree it’s an acceptable amount of time to wait but we wanted to demonstrate to you from this post that it’s actually a fairly quick turn around; considering all of the above.
I hope this helps ease your mind as to how long it takes to deliver wedding photos and you’re prepared for what’s to come.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this post so please leave a comment below and we’ll reply!
Make it a great day
Until next time