How long does it take to get your wedding photos back? This is something lots of couples find themselves asking after their weddings. Ideally, this is a topic that you should discuss with your wedding photographer prior to the wedding itself. Preferably before actually booking, so that you are aware of and happy with your photographers workflow before making a commitment.
There is no definitive answer
The honest answer is that there is no definitive time in which a photographer should deliver back a set of images. Every professional will work differently and every wedding photographer will have their own timeframe in which to deliver photographs. This may also vary according to factors such as the time of year or length of coverage you booked. The most important thing is to be aware of how long your photographer takes to deliver a wedding on average. This will help to manage your expectations and help stop you from feeling anxious.
During peak wedding season, turn around time for many photographers in longer than usual. In the UK, peak wedding season is usually May-September which means that weddings taking place during these months may wait a little longer than the average turn around time for your particular photographer.
Most working professional wedding photographers will specify in their contract the timeframe in which you should expect to receive your finished wedding photographs. It would not be unusual to see anything from 2 weeks to around 12 weeks. However, this does vary. Some photographers will be quicker, others may take longer. Some photographers will also specify a maximum time frame too. For example, you may see “6 months” and panic. In many cases, a maximum time frame is just to allow the photographer some buffer time in case of illness, accident etc.
The reason that it can vary so significantly is because wedding photography is not a one size fits all service. Some photographers like to keep their editing style very natural or minimal, whilst others may heavily airbrush or photoshop each image. Most are somewhere in between. Sometimes it’s just as simple as one photographer works quicker than another!
Additionally, some wedding photographers choose to outsource their editing. If you are not familiar with this term, it basically means sending the wedding photos off to a professional image editor or professional image editing company. Lots of image have staff dedicated to editing images all day, everyday. Therefore their turn around time is much quicker. If your photographer outsources their editing generally speaking, wedding photographs will be delivered quicker than if a photographer has to edit the photographs themselves.
Longer turn around times can be due to several factors. For example, a photographer shooting several weddings a week is likely to have a longer delivery time than one who shoots one wedding per week. A photographer who shoots destination weddings will have lots of their time taken up with travelling, so they may have less opportunity to edit, increasing their turnaround time.
Over all, there is no set time frame in which a photographer should be delivering wedding photos. So unfortunately if you are asking “How long does it take to get your wedding photos back?” there isn’t a definitive answer. That said, it is normal for delivery to take anything from 2- 12 weeks. If your photographer is still within this time frame and their contract does not state otherwise it may not be a cause for concern. However, if you are worried do relay this to your wedding photographer, who i’m sure would be happy to help.
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