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How Long Does It Take To Get Wedding Photos Back?

For most couples, capturing every magical part of their wedding is highly important. Choosing the right photographer for this can be a process and will require bride and groom to look over portfolios of potential photographers. After the wedding day, reliving the wonderful memories and moments is an exciting prospect, and what better way to celebrate than by looking through the photographs? But how long should you be looking to wait for them to be delivered? What is the industry average? I spent some time researching to find out exactly what to expect.

So, how long does it take to get wedding photos back? Generally speaking, a couple can expect to wait between 2 – 6 weeks for their wedding photos. However, this depends on a number of different factors such as level of editing, experience of photographer and whether or not they have shot other weddings at a similar time to yours. It is quite common for photographers to offer the bride and groom a ‘sneak peek’ of a select few images prior to receiving the full set back. This can occur within the first week following the wedding.

Whilst excitement and anticipation in waiting a number of weeks for your wedding photography to be returned can feel like a lifetime – trust us – carefully selected and edited images are worth the wait.

These everlasting snapshots of your day will bring with them a whole host of emotions, that you can keep forever.

Let us now take a closer look at some of those other similarly related questions you may have; such as why they do take some time and how many photographs should you eventually get back.

How Long Does It Take To Edit Wedding Photos?

Editing photos takes a long time, especially when the wedding photographer is busy with other projects or it is in the height of the season. This is why you should expect your photos to be ready within the 2-6 week timeframe.

Now, you may be wondering why wedding photography is edited – why is this offered as part of your photographer’s package?

Most photographers will edit their photos to simply offer you the best version of what they have shot.

This could be reducing yellow tones to make everyone pictured look more natural, to blend and colour correct any harshness that will unwantedly stand out in your images, or to retouch an intimate portrait of the bride and groom.

Editing your images is as much part of the photographer’s role as actually taking the photos themselves!

Cropping or retouching photos is not simply to make the people in them look better (although that is an added bonus!) but is to ensure that the composition of the wedding photos flows from one image to another and truly paints the picture and tells the story of your special day.

It is important to discuss with your photographer prior to your wedding the level of editing you as a couple would like.

Whether you would like your portraits as newlyweds retouched and airbrushed, or whether you would prefer them to be as natural as possible, edited only to make the image look the best it possibly can.

These different editing requirements all contribute to the length of time between your wedding and receiving your images. Typically, the more photos there are, the more editing will need to be done, the longer it will take for you to receive them.

This is also true if you are wanting your images to be retouched as this can take up to one and a half hours per image!

We would always advise meeting with your photographer prior to your wedding to discuss the editing requirements.

Your photographer will be able to give you an accurate timeline for when you can expect your images based on their diary (availability to edit), their experience and your own personal requirements.

It is highly likely that you will have chosen your photographer based on their portfolio or at least seen some of their images prior to booking with them.

Photographs of other weddings make a useful starting point for discussion of what you would like your wedding shots to look like on your big day. Remember, your photographer will be able to make suggestions about what they think will work best too!

Usually, photographers will give a window within which you will receive the final images of your big day. Remember, if you are worried or concerned about anything – reach out to your photographer.

Why Do Wedding Photos Take So Long?

When you are excited about something, it can feel like forever for it to happen! The same can be said for wedding photography. After their big day, most couples will be super excited to relive those special moments through their photographs and a wait of up to six weeks to see them can seem like a very long time indeed!

One of the reasons that wedding photographs can take a long time is because your photographer will sort, edit and organise the images for you – ensuring that only the best photos are put forward as part of your wedding portfolio.

Who wants to sit through potentially hundreds of photos of guests pulling unexpectedly weird faces or with their eyes closed right?

Compiling the highlight reel through photos is just one of the photographer’s tasks in terms of completing the wedding photography.

Selecting the best images can take time, but what takes longer is the editing of individual shots.

Photographers will have built their reputation, business and brand based on the high-quality images they take. Insisting upon unedited images just to speed the process up will likely leave the bride and groom dissatisfied with the unpolished images and the photographer looking like and amateur.

Professional photographers are highly likely to offer the editing of images as part of the price they charge you for your wedding photography.

This will not only ensure the bride and groom receive beautiful, high-quality images of their day, but also that the photographer is showcasing their talents in their craft to the highest standard.

Editing images and curating the best possible wedding photography will take time. Editing images isn’t as simple as chucking a filter on all of them and calling it a day.

Your photographer will want to ensure that each photo is the best it can be, and will likely spend time colour correcting, retouching slightly and cropping each image according to what will make them look the best.

How Many Photos Should You Get From A Wedding Photographer?

Wedding photography can last for as long as the bride and groom desire. Typically, photographers will capture photos from the ‘getting ready’ phase (we’re talking hair and make up the whole shebang!) a couple of hours before the ceremony, all the way through to the evening, usually making their departure sometime after the couple’s first dance.

That is a good few hours of photo taking that can often result in THOUSANDS of images being captured.

And whilst thousands of images sound like you’re onto a winner, imagine the hours you and your new partner would have to spend sifting through them trying to find the best ones?! We think that is a job best left to the professionals!

As part of their photography service, wedding photographers will typically sort and edit the best images of your day and send only those through to you.

From a full-days photography, newlyweds can expect anywhere between 300-800 images of their special day.

The number of photos couples will receive depends on several different factors including:

  • Length of time photographer booked for,
  • Number of couple portraits,
  • Number of family shots,
  • Prior agreement on number of photos to be delivered to the bride and groom,

Listed are just a few factors that will impact the number of photos couples will receive after their big day.

The number of images received should not be a shock for the bride and groom as we would strongly advise agreeing this with your photographer prior to booking with them.

Final Verdict

Wedding photography can capture the most intimate and special moments of the wedding day it is likely you have spent months planning for.

Whilst two to six weeks and often even longer than that can seem like a long wait for images, trust us, receiving the best selection of professionally edited images will be worth it.

From receiving the photos, couples can then cherry-pick the best of the best images to have printed, put into an album, or sent out to guests and relatives to enjoy.

Up next: Where To Print Boudoir Photos [And Other Considerations]