3 Reasons You Want BETTER Wedding Photos, Not More!
How Many Wedding Photos Should I Get
By Jeffrey House Photography
"I spoke to another photographer and they told me they would give me 1,000 photos."
How many wedding photos should I get? If you're like most couples, this is a question you've entertained or will entertain at some point. In past articles, I've touched on this topic, but a recent conversation with a potential new client has inspired me to dedicate an entire blog post on this one simple question.
On average, professional photographers are going to deliver between 50-75 professionally edited photos per hour of coverage. Therefore, 8 hours of wedding coverage will generally yield 400-600 delivered images. Every couple, at some point, will also need to ask themselves - do I want more or better?
Why and how do other photographers deliver 1,000 images when everyone else is delivering 400-600 images?
The number of photos your photographer will deliver is something you should discuss prior to hiring them. 400-600 images is average for an 8 hour wedding. Your photographer may deliver slightly less or more, depending on their approach. Keep in mind, the number of photos you will receive is for expectation purposes only. You should never hire any photographer simply based on the number of photos they will be delivering.
If photographers take 2,000 - 3,000 images on a wedding day, why don't I get all of the photos?
Wedding photography is extremely demanding and photographers make errors. While some photographers would like you to believe they never make an exposure error, or any other error for that matter, they are flat out lying. There are also many issues outside of a photographers control - people closing their eyes, unflattering facial expressions, looking in the wrong direction, camera focus, lighting issues, etc.
Because we have to account for all of these potential issues, we can't capture just one photo of our subject(s). We generally take between 2-4 images per "scene" to ensure we have a deliverable image. Because we are capturing multiple images of the same scene, we have a lot of photos that aren't "original" images, they are duplicates. Therefore, your photographer will review the duplicates and select the best image to deliver.
Let's take a look at a real wedding to show you exactly what I mean. The following 5 images are of the bride and her bridal party. The first 4 images are completely unedited and they were discarded due to closed eyes and looking in the wrong direction. The 5th and final image is the fully edited image that was delivered to my client.
As you reviewed the photos above, you may have noticed the little flower girl standing in front of the bridesmaids never looked at the camera. What you can't see in this photo is the groom and his groomsmen standing behind me awaiting their photos. The flower girl was very interested in what they were doing and didn't want to look at the camera. In situations like this, I think it actually adds to the photo because she looks deep in thought, and there is a cuteness to her looking in the wrong direction.
As you can see, this one scene took a total of 5 images to get a deliverable photo. It's easy to see why photographers take thousands of photos during a wedding.
3 reasons you want better wedding photos, not more
1. It's overwhelming
Rarely, if ever, do I see a couple that doesn't feel completely overwhelmed after sifting through a 1,000 wedding images. It's just too much. Do you need, or even want, 50 photos of your wedding rings, another 50 photos of your wedding cake, and 100 photos of Uncle Joe and Aunt Sally doing the Gangnam Style? After 50 images of Uncle Harry doing the Dougie, your eyes will start to bleed!
Most couples agree, 400-600 images is the perfect amount. Every detail is generously captured and the images provide a comprehensive story of your wedding celebration.
2. quality over quanity
Many photographers delivering 1,000 photos or more, are guilty of two things
- "Spray & Pray"
- Poorly Edited Photos
"Spray and pray?" What heck is that? Some photographers will try to allure you into hiring them by using extravagant details - like delivering you an excessive amount of photographs. But, is this really in your best interest? "Spray and pray" or "machine gun" are terms used for photographers that point their camera at something, and take a rapid succession of photos. They might take 10 or more photos of something and then deliver you anything that's usable. Good wedding photographers, take fare less images, but every image is captured with a specific purpose.
I always love it when I hear photographers promise couples at least 1,000 "professionally edited" images and they will have them ready in a couple of weeks. I assure you, their use of the phrase "professionally edited" is very loose. They apply a basic color correction and/or filter effect to the images, but these types of edits are applied to large quantities of photos at once and it takes a matter of minutes to complete.
Couples pay too much money for their wedding photography to get images that aren't as perfect as possible. With every photo my clients receive, every image is reviewed individually to ensure it's ready for delivery. This includes cropping, white balancing, color correction, skin smoothening, removal of hair/lint/etc from attire, removal stray/distracting objects, etc. These are your wedding photos and they should be immaculate.
Let's take a look at what I mean. The couple was married earlier in the day under this arch and later in the night we returned to ceremony site to capture this image. I love this image because of the sentimental value and the romantic blue lighting we created, but I find the tent detracts from the photo.
Removal of the tent was not the quickest of edits as I had to zoom in and remove it around the leaves, but in the end, it makes for a much nicer photograph. Many photographers aren't going to go this extra step, but that just doesn't seem right to me.
Most couples, as they begin their search for a wedding photographer, are surprised by the price of wedding photography. How can it cost so much? Wedding photographers work 8 hours and get paid thousands of dollars! We've got it made - right?
On average, 8 hours of photography coverage requires your photographer to invest 40-50 hours of their time. Editing alone requires 20-25 hours. Even though your photographer is charging $2,500, they aren't making $2,500. Out of that money your photographer has to pay for any products included in your package (album, USB, etc.), assistant costs, 2nd shooter costs, taxes, insurance, advertising/marketing, equipment (new and maintenance), website fees, business expenses (vehicle costs, heat, phone, office supplies), etc. The average wedding photographer bring home less than $30,000 a year.
Let's take a second and look at this from another perspective. On average, couples invest $2,800 for their wedding photography and they receive between 400-600 images. What about the photographer charging $2,800 or less, but promising to deliver 1,000 images? What corners are being cut to deliver you twice as many images for the same or less price? If you're thinking, I don't want to know what corners are being cut, you're right.
the devil is in the details
There are many wedding photographers out there that use different tactics to gain your business - over promising, low prices, delivering an excessive amount of photos, etc. It looks great on paper and it can be very tempting, but don't be fooled by these types of business practices. If something seems to good to be true, it usually is. Your wedding photographer is a critical decision and you should take plenty of care in choosing them wisely. You don't get any second chances to get it right - always choose quality or quantity.
What do you think is important - more or better photos? share your thoughts with me, i'd love to hear your opinion!