how long does wedding photography take

How Long Does Wedding Photography Take – Timeline and Turnaround Time

How long does wedding photography take? Today I’m talking about timeline and turnaround time which are important client satisfaction issues. How long does it take the photographer to not only take the photos but deliver them to you after the wedding day?

When couples hire a photographer, they don’t actually know what questions to ask, what to look for, and how to compare wedding photography packages. Unfortunately, while all wedding photographers “have camera – take pictures,” what you’re getting can vary wildly. It comes down to both your experience on the wedding day and what you’re actually getting days, weeks, or months later.

We’re going to talk about two things, the timeline and the turnaround time. The timeline is how long photos take on your wedding day. The turnaround time is how long it takes the photographer to give you the final images.

Wedding Photography Timeline

The wedding day timeline matters. The timeline can dictate how you experience your day and how good the photos you get are.

Take one extreme where your wedding day is directed like a Hollywood photoshoot with the #1 goal of being getting the most epic photos. Then, take the other extreme where there is no plan or precision or attempt to anticipate when photos need to happen. Both of these are extreme and you’re going to find photographers all along the spectrum.

You will work with your photographer to develop a photography timeline and it will be based on your plan for the day as well as what they need for their style of photography. You can have this conversation as early in the process as you want.

traditional vs photojournalism

My opinion?

The formal photography timeline should be efficient as possible allowing the couple to have the best experience of their wedding day. Beyond that, wedding photographers that work in a photojournalistic manner are capturing real moments, candids, emotions, and things that aren’t staged anyway.

That combination of traditional wedding photography and storytelling wedding photography can result in a win-win. The more in tune a wedding photographer is with their couple the more they can be sure to prioritize spending time on the photos that are most important to the couple. For example, couples portraits aren’t a waste of time when they mean both capturing important pictures and allowing the couple to have some intimate time together.

Other opinions might be more on the traditional end where the importance is put on getting a variety of combinations of family photos, this takes a long time. Or conversely, some photographers don’t do any staged photos and don’t interfere with the schedule of the day at all.

Wedding Photography Turnaround Time

Turnaround time is something that at first glance doesn’t seem like a big deal. But when you think about it a little longer you realize that turnaround time is a big deal. You’ve paid for photos, you’ve celebrated the wedding, and now when do you get what you paid for?

Turnaround time just means how long does it take my photographer to turnaround and give me my photos. This likely means uploading them from the camera to the computer, processing them, and then uploading them to your online gallery.

Processing time can vary wildly depending on the photographer and their shooting and editing style. Some photographers shoot thousands of photos and then cull them down to the hundreds that you’re going to received. Then, they edit those selected photos to varying degrees.

Some photographers turnaround your photos over night. Other photographers turn them around when their wedding season is over because they’re too busy shooting to edit. Obviously, there are pros and cons to both.

If a photographer is super fast at delivering photos it might mean they really prioritize it, stay up all night, or outsource their editing. It might also mean that they’re sloppy or careless or don’t edit the photos that well.

be patient but don’t wait forever

Let’s be real for a second and acknowledge that editing software is constantly more effective and efficient. Cameras are also getting better and photos are requiring less manipulation in post-production.

If a photographer is super slow at delivering photos, it might mean they are shooting a lot of weddings and don’t have time to edit. It can get overwhelming to have an insane amount of images that haven’t been sorted, culled, and edited. Processing photos does take time and is a lot of work, more than people expect.

And at the same time, we’ve found that the further behind we get in our workflow the harder it is to recover. We like to practice good time management and block out days during wedding season to cull and edit to ensure we stay on top of our workflow.

Personally, we think this is a client satisfaction issue. Even though in most cases we have already been paid, we care about the client experience all the way through. We don’t want them waiting months and months to get their photos, we deliver them within 2 weeks.

As a husband and wife team, we have the ability to divide responsibilities and get things done faster so 2 weeks is a pretty fast turnaround. However, we know photographers who deliver high quality images even faster.

How Long Does Wedding Photography Take?

How long does wedding photography take? Well that depends on the photographer you hire.

Is your photographer efficient, effective, communicative? Are they focused on your experience or getting artsy photos or both and how does that mesh with your needs?

How is their time management after the wedding day? What does their editing process and style look like? Are they outsourcing anything or doing it all themselves? How busy are they?

I hope that helps you think about the importance of timing! Let me know what questions you have.

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Next check out more of our wedding photography advice for brides here. Lastly, read more about us and view our Colorado elopement guide.

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We are Marc and Brenda Bergreen, a husband and wife photography team specializing in Colorado wedding photography and other adventures. Let us help you make your wedding an adventure! It would be an honor to capture your love.

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