How Long Does It Take To Get Wedding Photos Back?

Weddings can be stressful. There are so many aspects to balance.

Finding a tailor, booking a venue, inviting your family and friends, reserving a DJ, figuring out a menu, determining the cost structure, finding an ideal pastry chef for the delicious cake… I could go on. If you’ve ever seen Father of the Bride, you know what I’m talking about!

After the beautiful chaos of your marriage, you’re itching for your photos to come back, and waiting for something exciting is the worst, right?

One of my friends is a photographer, so I know I’m covered whenever that special day comes around. But, most don’t have that luxury and are looking for a professional to snap pictures of their wedding. Their biggest concern is how long it will take to get them back after the event.

Multiple Factors

There are many different reasons why photographers can take anywhere between four to six weeks (sometimes longer) to complete your order. A few of them include:

  • The time of year/season
  • If the photos are fully edited
  • If there are multiple scheduled weddings
  • Location
  • Experience
  • Number of guests
  • Elopement vs. wedding

However, most photographers will send you a couple of photographs a few days after the wedding takes place to give you a hint of what’s expected in the upcoming weeks.

More Complicated Than We Think

Photographers have a lot on their plate when it comes to capturing the essence of your wedding. They have to take multiple steps, from curating raw images, telling the story, editing, finalizing the edited photos, and preparing the end product for shipment.

Wedding and portrait photographer Carolyn D’Andrea states: “I think the big misconception is that once the wedding day’s done, that was the big chunk of work for the photographer and that everything else is just easy. In reality, your photographer is just getting started.”

Uploading the photos for editing can be a process in itself depending on the resolution, and D’Andrea says that she can spend up to 30 hours per week completing a singular wedding.

Some Tips and Tricks

Respect the photographer’s process. Reach out if you have any questions regarding your order, primarily if you haven’t heard back within a few weeks.

Frequently, photographers work independently rather than have an entire staff. Thus, developing the photos takes a bit more time. Remember, they’re painstakingly going through hundreds, even thousands of photos.

To make their process more manageable, provide them with information from the start, such as a good contact email. Ask questions, refer to their contract, and clarify what you specifically have in mind for the result.

Wedding photographers in the U.S. can vary anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000, so knowing what you’re getting for the price is important. There are various ways to receive your photos, whether that’s through an online, downloadable version, or a printed copy.

Be sure to save them somehow, regardless. After how much time the photographer put in to recreate your special day, you’ll want to hold onto these memories forever!