how many photos will I receive?
In this blog post, I'll be answering the "number of photos" wedding clients ask to give you a sense of relief if were you to purchase a high-end package. (Scroll down to see the short answer!)
I keep getting asked this question. "How many photos will I receive?" It's an arbitrary question, yet a valid one, and it's definitely a step in the right direction. Photographers mention this a lot on their sites. Some advertise 600-800 photos, some 2000-gazillion photos which to me, is overkill.
Is there a limit to how many photos you can take?
Not really. We can buy 1 Petabyte SD card and take unlimited photos, but we don't because it's unnecessary, and the work will be infinitely hard. Finally, a camera has an average lifecycle of about 250,000 shutter clicks which means that we will need to purchase a new one every 3 or so years.
See, the photos we take in our cameras use about 256 gigabytes. Each photo contains about 26-40megabytes, depending on the cameras you use. A gigabyte is about 1000MB. If you do the math, that's about 9600 photos. (I've never hit that number, ever.)
Compared to most smartphones in the market, the average MB a cellphone camera takes is about 1MB. Which is about the size of a postcard if printed.
Our cameras shell out 26MB of raw data. Which is about the size of a bedroom wall. We use very powerful computers so that we can convert these files into viewable, much more manageable photographs. Plus you can store hundreds of more wedding photos on your phone.
We edit each photo using Lightroom by adjusting our White Balance, Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks. We also crop the photos to make them more compositionally appealing. And finally, we calibrate it into our color pallet to give you beautiful photos.
The Technical Answer
On average, I shoot about 3,000 photos per wedding. They go through a process called "culling" which is a term we use to remove photos that are duplicates, or compositionally similar to the previous photo. We also remove photos that are blurred, unwanted sun glares, over-exposed beyond repair, under-exposed photos, closed eyes, squinting eyes, nose pickers, anything that doesn't look appealing to your gallery.
If there are any particular photos that may need photoshopping, they are taken to another program to remove any unwanted objects such as food stuck on the teeth, boogers on the nose, dandruff on the shoulders, sweaty armpits, etc. (You're welcome!) This can take between 5-10 minutes max. I mentioned "max" because if we spend our time photoshopping every single photo, it can take months to complete a gallery.
Lastly, it's sorted in internal folders under "name" "getting ready," "ceremony," "family photos," "cocktail hour," "reception" etc.
If I start out with 3000, I will cull about 1500 photos, these are mostly shots of the reception. If you want to be more technical, a pie graph of photos will look something like this, but on average, this is what it looks like.
Getting Ready 10% = 150 Photos
Ceremony - 20% = 300 photos
Family Photos - 3% = 45 photos
Bridal Party - 7% = 105 photos
Reception - 50% (cake cutting, first dance, toast, people eating, laughing, making jokes, bouquet toss, garter toss, etc) = 700 photos
In the end, I will cull again taking 50% of what makes sense into the final gallery. The rest of the photos are still kept despite not being submitted. If a client wants more variations of certain memory that they'd like to pull up, I can do that as long as it's not over the past 2 weeks, as they are stored in separate hard drives.
WHY ARE THESE NUMBERS THE WAY THEY ARE?
During the getting ready segment, we are more relaxed, this is when our creative juices are cycling. We would focus on the small details as we roam around the venue photographing cutlery, centerpieces, moms helping their daughters with their gowns, etc. You can check out our wedding list here for a complete detailed shot list of your wedding.
At the Ceremony is when we ramp up the number of photographs we take, documenting all sides of the aisle, people, and venue, the kiss, procession, recession, saying of the vows, crying behind the camera(don't judge me), and finding a clear area while your guests make their way to the cocktail hour.
Family photos are super straightforward, I follow a list of group combinations like mom and dad, then add in grandparents, siblings, newlyweds, and siblings, bridal party, the bride of honor, best man, etc. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes depending on how fast everyone cooperates.
Cocktail hour is reserved for the newlyweds to photograph their alone time, this is also when I get creative. So I'd ask the husband and wife to walk around for the first 5-10 minutes while I photograph them, then circle back to me. I've created a blog post about poses here so that you can see what my process is for natural-looking, candid photographs.
At the reception, if I have the time, which many times, I don't, I switch over my SD cards, batteries, lenses, and flashguns. During the grand entrance is when photograph any silly poses/dances made by the bridal party. From butt bumping, fist-pumping, high 5 fiving, waving the hands like you just don't care, and sometimes fireworks! This often leads to their first dance and then dinner as most guests get famished 2 hours or so later after their arrival. I photograph the rest of the reception by following a program that was given to me or the DJ/wedding planner.
Why does it take 3-4 weeks to get the photos back to us?
Simple, we photograph other weddings. On average, we take about 15,000 photos each month. Despite how much we'd love to attend weddings, edit our photos during the week, many photographers are a one-man band, like me. We update our social media, create blog posts like these, attend multiple consultations with potential clients almost 16 hours each day to make a living. We also live our normal lives that go without saying.
The Technical part
A rough estimated time used each day to cull and edit your photos is about 4 hours. We've cut about 8 hours each week to edit and send to the final gallery.
The following week, we look back at it again with a fresh pair of eyes to see which photos can be re-edit again. This is important because when you're staring at the computer for a while, colors would start to mash together and crunchy tones just don't make any sense. You can find some of my earlier works you'll see some that I was not happy to submit. (I would stop myself from writing this but I thought transparency is best, I was once not a good photographer myself)
The third week is when I should finish culling, this is when I'll upload the photos to an online gallery, sort them according to their photos. As a portrait and wedding photographer many things can come up and we're forced to submit the following week.
The TL;DR of this article
So going back to the question and I know this is A LOT of information to take in.
How many photos do we photographers take?
It depends since every wedding is different but on average, around 800 photos. All edited and finalized. Videos are even longer which I should write another blog post about. When you print your photos, an average photo album will contain 300 4x6 photos. Most couples will frame about 20-30 photos and 2-3 wall print arts. 800 Photos are good enough to pick and choose without having to use your entire day to pick which angles are the best. Which I made super easy for you to do via our Private online wedding gallery.
Why does it take 3-4 weeks?
Because we have lives to live lol
Send me a message below on how I did with the article! Thanks!