Why it Takes Six Weeks to Get Your Wedding Photos: A Case Study in Before and After Edits

You've just gotten married to the love of your life, and you're anxiously awaiting the images from your photographer so you can share them will all the people you know and love. But here's the thing: your photographer's contract says it could take between 6-8 weeks! What the what!? How could that possibly be? 

Of course, every photographer is different. Some photographers take 2 weeks and some take 12. There are many factors that go into this, and each photographer runs their business differently. My typical turn-around time is 6 weeks, and here's why.

1) I give each and every photo individual attention.

It may not look like a ton has changed in this image, so let me walk you through it. I use two programs to edit my images: Lightroom and Photoshop. The vast majority of my editing is done in Lightroom. The first thing I did was apply a preset (I use Mastin Labs). What a preset does is applies a few pre-selected adjustments to an image all at once so you don't have to do it individually every time. After the preset is applied, I then make exposure (brightness) adjustments and temperature (blue-orange) adjustments. For this image, I brought the exposure up and the temperature up (more toward orange). After all of the basic adjustments had been made, I did a simple retouch on this beautiful bride by softening her skin and removing a few blemishes. All-in, this image took me about 3 minutes to edit. That doesn't sound like a ton, but when you have 800+ images from a wedding, that can add up quick (to 2,400 minutes or 40 hours!)

2) Some images require a lot more work.

The Royal Crest Room Wedding

The Royal Crest Room Wedding

In addition to all of the adjustments I mentioned for the first image, this photo also had to go into photoshop. This location is a golf course in St. Cloud (The Royal Crest Room). While it is a beautiful spot, there are some golf course specific things I didn't want in my final shot, like those cart path markers. So, I had to take the image into photoshop to remove them. This image was simple to do, so maybe only an additional 5-10 minutes. Some images are far more complicated.

3) I usually have several weddings AND sessions on my plate at once.

During the busy wedding season (October-March here in Orlando), I am shooting a wedding almost every weekend and engagement sessions during the week. That means it may be up to three weeks after a wedding before I can even start my editing because I have previous weddings and sessions to finish first. Now, I always edit a few previews for my clients right after the wedding so they have something to hold them over, but then I might not touch their images again for a couple of weeks.

4) I have responsibilities other than editing. 

Banyan Estate  Wedding

Keep in mind that your photographer doesn't spend all of their free time editing. We answer phone calls and emails, we drive out to coffee shops to meet with clients, we design albums and other print products, we are out photographing sessions and weddings, we attend networking events to build relationships and market our business, we write blog posts to keep our website up-to-date, we spend time on social media to build an on-line presence, and so and and so forth. Being a business owner is hard work! And then we must have time for family and sleep! Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about it all :)

5) I want my clients to have my very best work.

Listen, if I wanted to bang out a wedding in 2 days, I could. But then it wouldn't be up to the quality that my clients hired me for. When you select your wedding photographer, you're choosing not only them, but the quality of images you want for the biggest day of your life. The memories that you will look back on always. Don't you WANT your photographer to make sure they deliver you their best?

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