Wedding Photography Turnaround Time: What You Need to Know
Let's Talk Wedding Photography Turnaround Time!
First things first, greetings and thank you for taking the time to read this! I’ve been wanting to do some general advice and information posts for a while, and today has afforded me the opportunity to do so.
As a very busy and productive wedding photography calendar starts to wind down, I want to take some time to talk about a topic that might ruffle feathers but is important for those looking for a photographer to document their upcoming wedding or elopement celebration.
I want to talk about wedding photography turnaround time.
Wedding Photography Turnaround Time and Why It's Important
Plain and simple, wedding photography turnaround time is how long it’s going to take a wedding photographer to get the images back to you once they’ve been edited and processed.
If you’ve done even just a modicum of general vendor research, you’ll already know that there isn’t a standard price or schedule for anything. All vendors operate on what works best for them, and that includes turnaround time for wedding photography.
That’s why it’s critically important to understand and know, well in advance, how long it will take your photographer to get your images back to you.
When going over contracts and agreements, it needs to be stated clearly and plainly what the turnaround time is. If a photographer is vague or cannot give you an answer, run as far away from them as possible.
Even when it’s in the contract, ask them about it directly. Ask why it takes that long. Ask what their workflow is. Ask if this their only job or will they have distractions and other responsibilities on top of working on your wedding photos.
Ask as many questions as it takes to make you feel comfortable with your decision.
A competent professional should know how long it’s going to take to process your photos because they should have a workflow established.
Should Turnaround Time Take Weeks or Months?
The diplomatic answer to this question is, well, there isn’t an answer. Again, everyone works differently and at different paces.
That being said, though, I’m not going to be diplomatic with the following response.
It doesn’t have to take weeks or months.
I’ve been photographing weddings for over 12 years, and it’s never taken me weeks or months to process a full wedding of, on average, 2,000 photos.
I can edit and process a wedding in a matter of days. For example, if a wedding is on a Saturday, I can have that ready to show to clients by Monday or Tuesday.
That’s how I work because that wedding is my only priority.
Now I will say that I don’t have kids and this is my only job. That affords me a lot of time others don’t have. I get and understand that.
Still, it shouldn’t take weeks or months to process a wedding.
Frankly speaking, I also have very little to no sympathy for those that take a wedding job and do not prioritize it. It’s insulting to those of us who do this for a living because we all have to bare the brunt of the negative consequences.
An excuse I always hate to hear is, “Real life got in the way”. Don’t even get me started on those who will ghost clients and not even return an email.
Well, the couple you are working for is real life. Their wedding is real life. Their wedding photos are real life. The job you took is real life. You find a way to make it work and get it done for them.
I can’t speak for the workflows of others, but it is hard trying to wrap my head around a process that would take so long when it doesn’t have to.
What About Sneak Previews?
Ahh… sneak previews. This seems to be the bane of existence for some, but I swear by them.
For whatever reason, some photographers decide not to send sneak previews. That’s their own personal decision, and if it works for them, it works for them.
What I’ll never understand, though, are the photographers that do not send anything to their clients on top of making them wait months for their final photos.
It just doesn’t make sense, and I’ll tell you why.
When I get home from a wedding, no matter what time it is, the first thing I do is dump my memory cards to my external hard drive via Lightroom.
This loads all the photos into my wedding photography catalog where I’ll then begin the editing process.
After the average of about 2,000 photos get loaded, I already have a good idea of what editing style I’m going to use. This is the topic of a more detailed post to come, but I don’t confine myself to one particular editing style. I take into account the suggestions from the clients in relation to past weddings I’ve worked.
You can call them filters, presets, or whatever you want. I have a bunch on the ready and the location, time, atmosphere, and mood of the day all factor into making that decision.
What I’m saying is that the process is very streamlined and takes a short amount of time to make a final decision. It’s called working smart. I’m not sitting there with a cup of coffee and photoshopping every bit of life out of a photo just because that’s what everyone else does.
That helps because I can then go and find a few select photos, probably from the time the bride and groom are together for the first look or their overall couples photos.
I’m looking for photos that really stand out. I’ll know which ones they are because I know it when I take the photo. I’m making mental notes throughout the day so, when I get to this point, I can go right to them, do a quick edit, export them, and have sneak previews ready to go.
Those sneak previews are then sent the very next day. They are usually sent with a lot more because I’m also editing a chunk, at least 1/4 to 1/2 of the photos, that evening depending on the time of night, if I have to get up early the next morning, etc.
By sending those sneak previews, though, the couple has photos to see and share with family and friends. They don’t have to wait weeks or months for them, and I know they are greatly appreciative of receiving them.
The other advantage of sending the sneak preview is that, if they have an issue or suggestion about the editing style, they can go ahead and see it on the front end. They can let me know if something needs to be changed or tweaked.
This is why I’ll always send couples sneak previews, and this is why I’ll never understand other photographers who decide not to do so.
Why You'll Never Have to Worry About Turnaround Time with DSmithImages Photography
As I’ve mentioned, my turnaround time is a matter of days. You’ll never have to worry about waiting weeks or months if you decide to choose DSmithImages Photography to photograph your wedding + elopement celebration.
This is what I do. I’m a wedding photographer, and my chief focus is on your wedding photographs. I’m not going to put them on the back burner for something else. When I photograph a wedding, that is my number one priority.
Even when I have a busy month, I’m not going to get behind. For example, in October of 2022, I photographed 8 weddings. 6 of them were in the span of 10 days, and one of those was an out-of-state wedding.
I still go everything back to each couple within a matter of days because, again, that’s my job and I take it seriously.
My style and approach might not be the best for everyone, but I’m grateful that the couples I’ve worked with have appreciated what I’ve done for them. That is why I’ll continue to operate this way and will continue to take pride in doing so.
If this all sounds good to you, that’s fantastic. Let’s talk because I’d love for you to visit my wedding photography pricing page to find out what else I can do for you!