March 30, 2023
So you had your wedding day and you’re literally squirming to see your full gallery…I get it, I promise. I’ve been on the client side when we did our vow renewal, and whew waiting is HARD. But it’s so worth it to have a finished product that is truly amazing and get to relive your wedding day in all of its glory.
From the photographer’s perspective, capturing a wedding day in all its beauty and emotion is no small feat. As professional wedding photographers, we invest our time, expertise, and passion into creating a visual narrative that tells the unique story of each couple’s special day. However, one aspect of wedding photography that often goes unnoticed is the extensive post-production work that goes into editing a full wedding gallery. In this blog post, we will delve into a few of the reasons why it takes so long for a professional photographer to edit full wedding galleries and why rushing the process can compromise the quality of the final product.
This may not be the case for every photographer, I will only speak to my process and my business model. If someone is able to deliver a beautifully edited gallery super quickly, kudos to them! Everyone does things differently, and we have to do what works for our businesses and our work/life balance. The main takeaway here is that it is super important to ask about turnaround times and make sure you are comfortable with the terms in your chosen photographer’s contract on this topic.For example, I tell my clients that a full wedding photography turnaround time to expect from an 8-10 hour day with two photographers takes 8-12 weeks for full completion and delivery. Now, does it always take that long, no, usually not. But depending on busy seasons, life in general, etc, times arise when the whole contracted time is needed.
I know that feels like a really long time to wait, but rest assured, I always send a sneak peeks of amazing images throughout the day so you can share them with family and friends and so you can see just how fabulous the day was. I will say though, regardless of length of time, it is super important that your photographer be open in communication and let you know how things are going and what the turnaround time is. You shouldn’t have to guess. Usually, I get so excited as I work through the album that I randomly send extra sneaks or screenshots of what’s on my screen. I really enjoy reliving your wedding day as I go through my whole process.
A typical wedding day of 8-10 hours can yield hundreds, if not thousands, of photographs from just one photographer depending on shooting style. For us, we both take photos so you get photos from each angle, both posed and candid, so that’s double the amount of images. Each shot represents a fleeting moment that holds deep sentimental value for the newlyweds. For most weddings, this ends up being somewhere between 75-100 images PER HOUR in your final gallery. So that’s a nice 800-1000 images I’m working with. (woah, right?!) That many images plus, well, life and kids and family…a healthy work/home life balance is super important for a business like this.
The first step after photographing a wedding is coming home and backing those images up to external hard drives and cloud-based storage service so that we know they are safe. From there, I start sorting through this vast collection of photos to select the absolute best shots. This ensures no out-of-focus, unflattering, or mis-shots are included in the final bunch. I typically do at least 2 culling rounds to ensure that I have plenty of variety of the best images from each part of the day and that nothing is missed. From there, I bring them into my editing software and carefully sort them all into folders of various parts of the day. This organization is so helpful for me as I edit to ensure that nothing is lacking from your gallery. Now I’m ready to actually start editing.
Wedding photographs are more than just snapshots; they are an art form that demands precision and creativity. Every detail is scrutinized to ensure that each image is a work of art. Editing can be a lengthy process depending on how detailed you get with it…Starting with color correction, HSL adjustments, color grading, exposure adjustments, and more in the initial round of editing then moving on to removing blemishes, smoothing flyaways, and enhancing backgrounds or whatever other needs arise that I have to pull out Photoshop for. This level of detail work requires patience and skill, as any rushed edits can result in subpar images that the couple will cherish forever.
I’ve been known to do a good bit of post-processing in Photoshop because I want the photos to be as magical as my bride remembers the moment. This is definitely a time-consuming task that requires utmost care and attention but it ensures that the end result is wowing. Now, I know there are probably faster ways to do this, including outsourcing editing or using AI software to edit, but personally, I prefer to meticulously go through every single image and hand edit to ensure that the final gallery is a visual masterpiece that perfectly tells the story of your day without missing moments. I just can’t relinquish control of such important moments to robotic software or someone else. That’s just my personal preference though! (Control freak I guess)
Every photographer has a unique style that sets them apart. When editing a wedding gallery, it’s essential to maintain a consistent look and feel throughout the collection. Achieving this consistency involves careful calibration, ensuring that all photos align with the photographer’s signature style. Rushing the editing process can lead to a lack of uniformity, which can be jarring for the couple when viewing their photos. Typically I avoid this by doing a final pass-through of each folder of the gallery and as a whole to ensure that everything is consistent and reflective of my style. I don’t want my couples to have surprises when they open their galleries.
Professional photographers often engage in open communication with their clients to ensure that the final product aligns with the couple’s vision. This feedback loop can sometimes lead to revisions and additional editing work, especially if there’s something the couple wants photoshopped additionally. Accommodating these changes takes time, but it’s a vital part of delivering a product that the couple (and I!) will be proud of.
Quality control is absolutely imperative when it comes to delivering wedding photographs. Rushed edits can result in overlooked errors, such as color inconsistencies, distorted perspectives, or unnatural skin tones, or distracting elements. By taking the time to review each image meticulously, photographers can ensure that the final gallery is of the highest quality.
Professional photographers develop a strong emotional connection to the couples they work with. They understand the importance of their work in preserving cherished memories. This emotional investment means that photographers are dedicated to delivering nothing short of perfection. Rushing through the editing process can undermine this commitment…and well, I can’t do that to my people. Like, I sincerely feel such a connection to my couples and their sweet families and I just want to make double sure that everything is perfect. Wedding photos and how you feel about them are a huge responsibility that I do not take lightly.
In conclusion, as professional wedding photographers, we invest our time, expertise, and heart into capturing and editing the perfect wedding gallery. Rushing the editing process can compromise the quality of the final product, and ultimately, the couple’s satisfaction with their wedding photos. The process of editing a full wedding gallery is an art form that demands time, attention to detail, and patience to deliver images that will be cherished for a lifetime. As clients, it’s essential to trust in the photographer’s expertise and to appreciate the time and effort they put into creating these lasting memories. In the end, the wait is worth it, as the final product will be a testament to the artistry and dedication of the professional wedding photographer.
Let me be clear, I am not saying there is anything wrong with shorter or longer wedding photography turnaround times, as long as the client understands the photographer’s turnaround and is well informed on it. For me and my perfectionism, I use every bit of that time to ensure that your images are perfect in every way. Is it the only way to do business? Nope, but it is how I ensure that I serve my clients with the quality they deserve. Those are the images that will adorn your walls and be a visual legacy for future generations as they flip through your perfectly curated albums. Why rush it, right?
Looking for more? Check out this article to discover A Guide to Choosing Your Perfect Wedding Photographer.
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