You will usually receive your wedding images about 5 – 7 weeks from your big day.
You will receive your images on a DVD as well as an online gallery that is password protected for you to share with family and friends if you wish. This is particularly useful for those people who may not have been able to attend your wedding.
What is a reasonable time to wait for my wedding photos from my photographer?
Recently I noticed that someone on Facebook had asked if two years was too long to wait for their wedding photos and my answer to this is it is absolutely too long to wait. While I have seen wedding photographers offer the finished wedding photos in a few days, the question of how long should a customer have to wait for their photos needs to be answered.
To answer this question, it helps to understand what happens after a wedding.
Importing the images and backing them up
A professional photographer would typically take several thousand images or more on say a five-hour wedding. With today’s high-resolution professional DSLR’s, each image file is typically 20 to 50MB or megabytes in size and it is not unusual to shoot 50-100GB’s (Gigabyte) of images on a typical wedding. These will need to be copied on to a PC and backed up, a process that can take at least several hours before the editing process even starts.
Sorting through the images
The editing process involves pre-sorting through all the images taken on the day and selecting those that the photographer wants to keep and process and deliver to their client. This can be quite a long process and involves a lot of time to sort through several thousand images. Any images that may have issues such guests blinking or distracted are usually discarded. It usually takes several passes through all the images to finally select the best ones that we keep for processing.
Editing and retouching
The next stage is the editing process and this is done in Lightroom and also Photoshop as required. All final images are retouched so if there are say 500 final images, the retouching can take a lot of time. Some photographers only retouch the images that go into prints or albums and a “shoot and burn” photographer will do the minimal work if any, such as cropping. “Shoot and burn” photographers will nearly always shoot in JPEG and just burn to disk and this is why they are cheaper as the finished images are usually of a much lower standard. If the editing process is rushed then the quality will often slip so it pays to take a day or so off and then revisit the images for any final adjustments to get them right.
After all the images are edited and retouched, the images are exported to DVD or USB. For most weddings, we deliver two copies and also provide a password protected online gallery where clients can share and order lab quality images in a variety of print sizes up to large canvases if they wish. We supply two galleries of all your images. One is high quality suitable for printing and the other gallery contains smaller files suitable for social media.
This whole process takes at least four weeks for a wedding and if any albums or photobooks are required then at least two to three weeks extra at a minimum would be needed.
In summary, your wedding images will take on average about four to six weeks before they are ready and may take a little longer if there are any albums to be printed. This time can slip out a little depending on how busy we are but this will give you an idea. Other photographers may take longer in some cases but generally anything up to twelve weeks should be considered to be acceptable but over that, you should start asking questions. If you get your images back in a few days or so then I would doubt the professionalism of the photographer and their workflow.