This is just a little tip from the other side of the aisle to help you understand the post-production workflow of a wedding photographer and why you shouldn’t rush them. When your wedding is over, the work is just beginning for your photographer. The first thing to remember is that the photographer probably has 1-3 weddings already in the que by the time they shoot your wedding, plus maybe even a few portrait sessions and possibly some commercial jobs to go through. This means it could be at least 2 weeks before they even start your wedding. In case you don’t really want to read everything below, the gist is that post-production can take 1-2 weeks on your event alone besides the jobs that are already in the que before yours, so don’t expect to see your images the week or two following your wedding. Rushing your photographer will push them to work faster and ultimately everything gets a reduction in quality especially your wedding. Three to four weeks is a reasonable amount of time to allow your photographer to process your wedding pictures. If your images haven’t been posted online or you have not heard from your photographer within four weeks after your wedding, a friendly phone call to see when to expect to see your wedding pictures is reasonable.
So, here is a typical workflow once your photographer starts the job. They will edit your wedding from the 2000-4000 images they took down to the top 600-800 photographs. They go through all the family formals to pick the best one, remove the blinks, blurry shots, test shots or bad exposures. Next they hem and haw back and forth between similar images to find the right one that has the best smile, the best hair, the right motion of you walking or best pose of a bridal party shot, etc. This editing or culling process can take anywhere from 4 hours to 2 days depending on the job.
Most pro photographers shoot in a format called RAW. These files are large data rich files that need to be processed into Jpegs in order for you to see them, to print from or to make albums. Your photographer will painstakingly go through every single image and adjust the exposure, contrast, black and white points, color temperature and a variety of other things. This process can take days! Count on 2-3 days maybe more.
Next the images go into Photoshop where they will use various techniques and software to give it their own signature look that you paid them for. It’s what you love about their images. This process can also be very time consuming and rushing through this will produce less desirable results. This can also take 1-4 days depending on the Photographer.
Depending on how they deliver their images, the upload process can take an entire day. The images have to be converted to web size and possibly run through sharpening batches. Then they need to be uploaded to servers or online galleries and slideshows. This can take a full day to get them all up to their home on the web.
THE REAL 411: Don’t rush your photographer! Give them at least 4 weeks before reaching out to them. This will ensure that they finish their other jobs and work on yours for the full amount of time necessary to complete it properly. Plus there is also all the other parts of running the business besides just production. When you call them and start asking for the work, they feel rushed and will start trying to speed up the workflow on all their jobs and it affects the quality of the work down the entire production line… especially your job since they might be burnt out by the time they get to it. This is standard for all Photographers, it’s part of the job. Calling them the day after to see something or post just a few, etc is only going to disrupt the workflow. – RP