How Many Wedding Photos Should I Get?
How Many Wedding Photos Should I Get
By Jeffrey House Photography
How many wedding photos should I get?
If you're like most couples, at some point you're going to ask yourself this very same question. Recently, a couple approached me about photographing their wedding. They insisted, whoever photographed their wedding, would need to give them ALL of the photos from their wedding day - even the ones with closed eyes.
Any photographer - worth anything - isn't going to agree to this. I explained to the couple that I would not be able to honor this request and I recommended they look for a photographer that could better meet their needs. Some couples are surprised to discover I sometimes turn couples away, but this is common among most professional photographers.
It's really not "good business" to photograph every wedding you're approached about. If I agree to photograph a wedding - when I know in my heart I'm not a good fit for the couple or they're not a good fit for me - it's a negative experience for everyone. When photographers agree to photograph a wedding for a couple that's not a "good fit," their works tends to suffer. They don't "wow" their clients and it often results in a negative review. Neither the couple or the photographer want to find themselves in this situation.
Every business - even wedding photographers - cater to specific customers or clients. Is Saks Fifth Avenue trying to appeal to the customer that regularly shops at Kohl's? No (I love Kohl's by the way). Is a customer of Saks Fifth Avenue going to be happy with their experience at Kohl's? Probably not. Chances are, this would cause the customer to be dissatisfied and likely give Kohl's a negative review.
When this couples requested "all" the photos, it got me thinking, and it has inspired me to write this article. I want to take a closer look at a few questions many couples ask and address why wedding photographers don't or won't honor them.
1. Will you give us ALL of the photos you take on a wedding day - even the photos with flaws?
2. Can you give us all of our photos unedited?
3. Is it okay if we add "special effects" to the final images and share them online?
I realize that many of you may be reading these questions and thinking, "what's the big deal?"
I hope by the end of this article, you'll see exactly why these situations are so important to wedding photographers.
1. can you give us all of the photos you take on the wedding day?
There are wedding photographers out there that will give you ALL of the photos - even the photos with closed eyes or unflattering facial expressions. Generally speaking, these are your "cheap" photographers or your "one-and-done" photographers. These photographers aren't very concerned about the product they deliver you or even their own reputation. They simply photograph weddings at ridiculously low prices and appeal to couples that value price over everything else.
So, why don't professional wedding photographers give you all the photos from your big day?
When photographing a wedding, we are typically spending at least 8-9 hours photographing one of the most important days in a couple's life. We get one chance to get it everything right and if we don't, disaster strikes! There are no "re-takes" or "do-overs." Wedding photographers must be "on" the entire day.
On average, most wedding photographers will capture 2,000 - 4,000 images on a wedding day, but they deliver far less due to the following:
While some photographers would like you to believe they never make a mistake while taking a photo, it simply isn't true. Even the best wedding photographers in the world make mistakes that result in "unusable" images.
The cameras we have available to us today are amazing pieces of technology - but they're not perfect. Their focusing systems don't always work properly which leads to incorrect focus or a blurry photo.
Closed Eyes & Unflattering Facial Expressions
Most people feel very anxious being in front of a camera and these nerves can cause rapid blinking or unflattering facial expressions. This is why wedding photographers don't take 1 photo - especially when photographing people. We need to take 3-5 images to ensure at least one photos is usable.
When taking photos in an outside environment, photographers have to be highly aware of the sun's position as it relates to their camera lens. if sunlight hits the lens at the right angle, it will cause "lens flare." This results in photos with light circles of various sizes and colors. While lens flare can be used as a creative effect, they often result in unusable photos.
98% of weddings guests have camera phones and several others will bring their own camera. The flashes on these cameras can cause a lot of problems for your photographer because they produce sudden and unexpected bursts of light. This can literally destroy your photographer's images.
Multiples Of The Same Images
As we briefly discussed earlier, when it comes to photographing people, photographers will generally take at least 3 images of their subjects - especially when there is more than one subject - because inevitably someone will have their eyes partly closed if not entirely closed.
Sometimes, multiple photos are taken and the stars have aligned, and everyone has their eyes open. This can create many "duplicate" or "triplicate" images. Your photographer is going to take all of the "acceptable" images and deliver you the best one as there's not benefit in receiving 2 or 3 of the same image. Bear in mind, if you really want these duplicates and triplicates, your photography costs are going to increase because your photographer will spend more time in post-production.
As you can see there are a lot of different situations that cause photos to be "unusable." If your photographer were to give you these images and they were shared on social media, your photographer's reputation could be severely damaged. Even though you requested the photos with closed eyes, I assure you people seeing these photos will form a misguided opinion about your photographer. When it comes to social media, photographers are facing more scrutiny about their work than ever before.
2. can you give us all of our wedding photos unedited?
Many couples ask photographers if they can get their wedding photos unedited. In most cases, couples request this in an attempt to save money on their wedding photography. Post-production is where most of a photographer's work takes place. A lot of people believe wedding photographers charge thousands of dollars for a days work, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Editing alone requires 30-40 hours of time.
Photographers will not give you the unedited photos because it will damage their reputation.
Photo editing is an art form. A photographer simply cannot relinquish control of the editing process, otherwise people viewing these photos can quickly and easily for a negative opinion of the photographer. Additionally, post-production is part of the creative process and it's a significant part of a photographer's brand. It would be like asking a chef if you can add the spices to their signature dish or asking a movie maker if you can edit a scene.
is it okay if we apply "special effects" we like to the final images and post them online?
Photo effects are everywhere nowadays. Often time, couples ask wedding photographers if it's okay to add special photo effects to the final images and share them online. Most professional photographers usually include language in the contract that prohibits this type of situation. Even though you may really like a specific effect, it doesn't accurately represent the photographer's work or brand. This can, once again, cause misguided perceptions of the photographers work and actually prevent them from being hired.
Many couples won't even ask their photographer if this is okay, they apply these effects and post them. I would strongly urge you to read your contract or consult with your photographer. Even though you may have been given the rights to print or share the photos online, your photographer still owns the rights to the images. Technically speaking, they could pursue legal action for any unapproved adjustments to the photographs. This is not a situation anyone wants to face.
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