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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> A bunch of wedding photography questions:
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10/10/2017 08:39:10 AM · #1
Ok -- it's only one. But now that the wedding is over, I'm sure I'll have a bunch of questions. But the main one is:

How many photos do you give them? It seems like it should be a smaller number and higher quality, but when I searched, all I saw were complaints that their photographer only gave them 450 photos. That seems like a heck of a lot. I got married in the day where we saw proofs. I don't remember flipping through 1,000 little photos.
10/10/2017 09:49:14 AM · #2
I usually give around 400 and all post processed. In case if they have pre-wedding then that is different as those count is way less compare to wedding.
10/10/2017 10:15:49 AM · #3
For an average full day wedding of 12-14 hours or so i'll take around 1500 to 2000 photos on two (or three) cameras. I'll then edit that down to 400 to 600 processed images. Depends on how much is going on during the day and how big a wedding it is. I do tend to stay for a while after the first dance as well so there are often a lot of dancing/party photos.
10/10/2017 10:52:07 AM · #4
I took around 2000, but I probably took too many of the same thing.
10/10/2017 02:34:24 PM · #5
The last wedding I did, I presented 250 of edited finished and gave them the best of the best high quality images, plus their video. They were stoked.
I took over 1000, but they were the same shot/pose over 10 shots just to make sure I had everything perfect, with the perfect bokah, composition yadda yadda.
I knew they would not like getting 10 images of the same thing.
This was about 6hrs of paid work for a very private small wedding.

I make sure and let them know the expectations on what to expect. They were ok with that and they were in love with what they had.

Message edited by author 2017-10-10 14:39:22.
10/10/2017 03:01:04 PM · #6
It's really up to you. Theoretically, that's something you should have determined beforehand as far as how many they expected, but by the same token, you should only submit what you're happy with as far as meeting your standards.

If you have 1200 you're happy with.....well, that's kind of up to you!

As long as you submit groups of good images that cover the stages of the event, the size of the groups should depend on what they'd like to have weighed against how many you're willing to edit for the payment you agreed upon.

Just my $0.02 USD
10/10/2017 03:13:55 PM · #7
Single most important thing people have said here:

manage expectations - YOU decide what and how much you are going to give them BEFORE the gig
10/10/2017 03:26:36 PM · #8
I usually deliver 60-90 for every 2 hours of coverage, usually sized at 300dpi, no larger than 2MB (that's more than large enough to make any size print).

All things considered, that will pretty much cover everything (some portraits, wedding, group photos, reception).

Unless someone is throwing monster money at you to provide cradle-to-grave coverage for a full day event, anything over 250 gets to be ridiculous. Seriously, someone may think they want to eat the whole left-hand side of the menu, but after a few bites, they're full and most images will never really get looked at, consequently relegating your time and efforts to a digital dustbin. What good does that serve?

At least now you have a benchmark ;-)

Message edited by author 2017-10-10 15:27:57.
10/10/2017 03:30:08 PM · #9
I did a wedding for a photographer friend , just a small 2nd time around, I simply dropped them from camera to flash drive and let him do the rest as he is better at PP than me !!!!!
10/10/2017 03:30:41 PM · #10
I've never photographed a wedding but I have shot plenty of videos for weddings... And the one thing we do is let them know exactly what they will be getting beforehand.

I get that photo and video aren't the same but in the case of this, I'd say it's best practice to give them a range (typically lower than what you know you can provide) and exceed that number by a few so that they feel like they are getting a good "deal" and it gives you a buffer if, in fact, you do fall in that range.

Then again, maybe that's why I've never done a wedding. Lol.
10/10/2017 03:46:01 PM · #11
I didn't bother setting expectations before, because it was for one of my best friend's daughter. So it wasn't a paid gig. So I didn't dot the I's and cross the T's. So I was just looking through and realized that I was rather clueless. I was thinking along Skip's lines of anything over 250 seems very silly. But then again, it was amazing that the different sides of the family had about 45 different relative combination portraits.
10/10/2017 03:49:10 PM · #12
Also. It all seems rather silly in a way. Everybody is already posting photos on facebook. It's going to take me awhile to fix these up, because we were dealing with outdoor photos in drizzling rain. When the sky is in the shot, I'll have to do a bit of work to balance things out and not blow the sky.

Are people less interested in the photos now in the times of social media? It seems like a week and a half or so is way too late. But when there's 2000 photos to go through, narrow down and then clean up hundreds...

I don't want to put out snapshots. But some of their camera phone snapshots are pretty darn good.
10/10/2017 04:00:43 PM · #13
you really have a couple options: one would be to obsess over this and meticulously go through all the photos, selecting and post-processing like your life and livelihood depended on it.

or, you could quickly scan through them, looking for the ones that jump out at you and flag those for further review. then select a handful of those to really go all out on and then do so.

and when you're done (and i'm thinking you should be in the neighborhood of 40-50 images and having only spend a day or so getting there), then go through the rest and flag the ones that have some redeeming quality. batch process those for quick and easy viewing, export them web-ready (72dpi, 640px longest side, file size limited to 150kb), and send those off the couple and let them see if there are any more they would really love larger.

then call it a day and have a few nice glasses of wine.

really, no sense in going over the top. unless, of course, you just can't control yourself ;-)
10/10/2017 04:13:11 PM · #14
I like your thinking. That's what I was thinking also. Really,i can't see the hair salon or the reception photos being the photos that will get the most attention. (Which is good, because I can't make them much better than they are.) I was actually thinking about sending those separately.
10/10/2017 04:14:34 PM · #15
Oh. I also decided to skip the processing and the wine part and skip straight to the Mike's hard lemonade. :)

I'm sure I'll be happier with the photos after a lemonade or two. ;)
10/10/2017 04:39:28 PM · #16
Since there are already photos from the FB pros, then relax and go through yours as it suits you. Since this is more of a favor/gift thing, then separate the really good ones that make you happy and like Skip said, make a slideshow of those ones after the hue and cry blows over a little.

Don't discount rehearsal dinner/salon images and random candids.....sometimes those are the real gems.

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1130809.jpg    Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_986898.jpg



10/11/2017 12:20:55 AM · #17
Well this is a very timely thread. I shot my nephew's wedding two weeks ago, for free, as a gift and with my brother as a second shooter (he's an experienced wedding videographer, but didn't want to do video for the event), I came home with about 2,000 images to cull, select, process and figure out how to deliver. Exact same situation as Wendy's, including no set expectations on what would be delivered. I started going through them the day after I got home, but my "real" work has gotten super busy and the task is DAUNTING. I like all the advice given here, especially Skip's "have a few glasses of wine" (except I'll being doing shots of vodka).

I also ran into this same issue:

Originally posted by vawendy:

Also. It all seems rather silly in a way. Everybody is already posting photos on facebook. It's going to take me awhile to fix these up, because we were dealing with outdoor photos in drizzling rain. When the sky is in the shot, I'll have to do a bit of work to balance things out and not blow the sky.

Are people less interested in the photos now in the times of social media? It seems like a week and a half or so is way too late. But when there's 2000 photos to go through, narrow down and then clean up hundreds...

I don't want to put out snapshots. But some of their camera phone snapshots are pretty darn good.


We did work our asses off covering everything and herding people around. I would almost say I regret agreeing to do the photos instead of just enjoying the event with family, but I had to admit that I probably wouldn't have had a chance to spend more than a few minutes with my nephew and his friends and wouldn't have met even half the people from the bride's side of the family. As it turned out, I had a pretty good time at the event, stressful as it was.

The one regret I do have is using two cameras (three, counting my brother and his). It would have been easier to swap lenses and adjust settings on one camera, than trying to remember what camera is setup for what and juggling them around, etc. I see the point made about shooting like 10 shots of the same thing to be sure to get the best possible one, but when the differences are so subtle, it really bogs down the workflow trying to decide which one really is better.

Good luck to you, Wendy. I'm sure you'll knock their socks off.
10/11/2017 01:42:49 AM · #18
This whole thread highlights exactly why I won't shoot weddings anymore!! I have done so in the past and not only find it to be masses of pic sorting and post work, but also very stressful to shoot. Furthermore, esp when I shot with Ryan as second camera, the clients never even saw any of my pics...and that was a huge problem. But hey there are people out there who do nothing but shoot weddings....go for it.
10/11/2017 01:50:57 AM · #19
I have done 12-15 weddings in the last couple years as a good side income. I tend to shoot around 1500 images per wedding, and once they are culled and edited, I deliver 600-800 images. I've wondered if this is overkill, but I've heard nothing but positive comments from my clients. The weddings I shoot are typically long events. Portraits early in the morning during sunrise when the light is great, then details/setting, ceremony, and finally reception. It is often a 12 hour day.
10/11/2017 02:57:45 AM · #20
Originally posted by JustinM:

I have done 12-15 weddings in the last couple years as a good side income. I tend to shoot around 1500 images per wedding, and once they are culled and edited, I deliver 600-800 images. I've wondered if this is overkill, but I've heard nothing but positive comments from my clients. The weddings I shoot are typically long events. Portraits early in the morning during sunrise when the light is great, then details/setting, ceremony, and finally reception. It is often a 12 hour day.

Holy crap. I hope your "side income" netted you a nice vacation home in the Hamptons or a Lear Jet or at least a bunch of top notch photo gear. I found the hardest thing was corralling the wedding party and trying to keep to a schedule. It all went sideways when the ceremony started almost an hour late. Many of the wedding party had small kids with them, including my nephew and his bride, who had a 4yo, a 3yo and a 4 week old infant. Family also consisted of several elderly folks, complete with wheelchairs and oxygen tanks. We had planned to get EVERYONE outside right after the ceremony for a group pic and we managed to do that, took a bunch of pics of the whole crowd and then released them before suddenly realizing the entire wedding party wasn't there. Had to bring 'em all back, but a few wandered off.

One option that my brother brought up was using foreign contract services for the image processing. Coincidentally, I had just received a solicitation from one a few days before the wedding. My bro said he knew someone who had used them and they did a pretty good job and only cost him a couple hundred bucks. Anyone have any experience with these types of services?
10/11/2017 12:35:38 PM · #21
I've only done a few, small, weddings. I learned 2 things. One is that the shots I pick as "best" are for technical/aesthetic reasons. The bride's pick depends on how she thinks she looks in the shot. We never pick the same shots & there is no way to predict which ones she will like. The other thing I learned is to say No to weddings.
10/11/2017 05:22:30 PM · #22
Originally posted by pixelpig:

The other thing I learned is to say No to weddings.

That!

Genuine talented, committed wedding photogs earn every freakin' nickel they charge.

And they can have it!
10/11/2017 06:36:55 PM · #23
So I will impart my vast knowledge of having shot my first and only wedding this past summer. :)

I ended up giving them photos as follows:
Ceremony (~65) Just the ceremony from start to end. Fairly minimal on the editing for most shots. Wedding was outside so the most difficult thing was to reduce the clipping in the highlights.
Portraits (~45) Shots with the bride/groom and their kids (2nd marriage for both). Separate location for most of the shots. These also had the most editing, a few of them I took a lot of time with as I thought they would really like them (and I did too).
Random (~90) Everything from before and after the ceremony, minimal to no editing. I will be the first to admit that some of these would certainly qualify as snapshots.
So, about 200 altogether.

When I started processing them, I grabbed a few that I thought were nice shots and looked good sooc and gave them some low res versions with minimal editing so they could see what they were getting, and get a little feedback as to if they shared my opinion.

For the real work, I did the portraits first, as that is really the shots that they paid me for (literally in this particular case), but also because they are the best shots of the day and the ones that I would expect no one else to have. I provided them via Google Drive in a few batches as they were ready.

The rest I uploaded as each category was done, I did the ceremony first and then everything else.

This wedding was for a friend and former coworker of mine and I did it very much on the cheap for him, but I did have a contract in place that said I would provide a minimum of 8 edited images. The number is this low since the contract was literally only for up to 2 hours of photos I categorized as Portraits. He said he would really appreciated it if I showed up before to shoot the ceremony as well, but it wasn't expected. I shot the whole thing anyway, as a favour and self interest. If I was going to shoot only 1 wedding, I thought I may as well do it right!

In addition to the contract, I also got them to sign model releases, so I am hoping to make a little more money off the shots as stock. I found it was a LOT of post work and I would definitely not do another one for such a low amount of money. Besides, I'm experienced now, right? ;)
10/11/2017 08:52:50 PM · #24
Originally posted by FromDaRock:

So I will impart my vast knowledge of having shot my first and only wedding this past summer. :)

Good info. Much appreciated.

Originally posted by FromDaRock:

I found it was a LOT of post work and I would definitely not do another one for such a low amount of money. Besides, I'm experienced now, right? ;)

LOL, yes indeed. Now the word will get out.
10/12/2017 12:13:23 AM · #25
The wedding I did was not a Pull the plug wedding. Everyone and their dog had their cell phones, it drove me nuts.
Took the time to set up the before and after shots, only to have everyone behind me snapping the same photo.. seriously?! I turned around and saw everyone with their cameras up.. I shook my head and moved on to the next shot.

I turned down 8 weddings this year and passed them on to the true pros. I also made those people ( clients that wanted me to take the photos) mad at me by doing that. It is so much not of the shooting of the wedding, the pain was the post processing and editing. I think I will stick with my photoshop fun, macro and nature stuff.

Ppl were posting the images right after taking the shot I had just set up. I just made sure I was smack dab in the middle of the shot or was blocking some of it. they wanted me to move, but I didn't.Call me rude LOL! I truly do not know how professional wedding photogs deal with the rudness of others. It already is a stressful event for the bride anyway..

Also, when I processed them, I made sure I had 2-3 teasers images that night, then it took me an extra 2 weeks to finalize the rest of them, giving them a couple teasers each day. One thing about FB images, I could care less. most all of them were horrible and aweful blurry and out of focus, my head was in the way or I could see where I was blocking things off. I ended up with the huge satisifaction of having the perfect shot in the end.

Oh, I learned a great trick too while I was playing around as the bride was getting ready. I got those plastic/rubber clamps/clips. Then you grab the back of the wedding dress and clamp the waist together making it a hourglass shape.. It really makes the dress look georgeous hanging up by itself. I just loved the smaller details in things like that. and it didn't wrinkle the dress either.

By the way, those that drink, have tripple drink for me please. This wedding stuff, I salute you! This was my 4th wedding and last one I had shot.

Message edited by author 2017-10-12 00:24:42.
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