How many photos should a wedding photographer deliver?

If you plan a wedding photoshoot, the common question that will come to your mind is, how many photos can you expect from a wedding photographer? At a wedding, the photographer takes a large number of raw images but delivers fewer photos after picking and editing the right ones. A professional photographer likes high-quality images, for example, 200 shots out of 1000-2000 raw photographs. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.

The quality of the photographs is always more important than their quantity. In the article, we will answer the queries related to the wedding shoot, how many pictures you can get, and what you should keep in mind while selecting a wedding photographer. 

How many photos do you get from a wedding photographer? You can expect to earn an average of 400–800 photos from a professional wedding photographer after eight hours of wedding coverage. These are the perfect numbers for a wedding event. Proportionally, for smaller arrangements, after one hour of a wedding photoshoot, the wedding photographer will possibly deliver 50-100 professional-looking wedding photos. 

How many photos you will get from your wedding photographer also depends on your photographer’s photography skills, the size of the event, the number of hours of the wedding photoshoot, etc.

For a good wedding photoshoot, you should prefer the quality of photos rather than quantity. You can also specify the wanted number of pictures and give the photographer specific instructions before the wedding shoot. 

Talk about the following things with your photographer:

  • Ask about wedding packages and prices rates.‎
  • Available dates of wedding shoots.
  • Pre-plan the whole event with a photographer for excellent outcomes.
  • Amount of photos that you are expecting
  • Tell the photographer about your preferred style and type of wedding photographs.

Things to Consider

For new wedding photographers or clients looking to see what is “normal”, it’s a common question to wonder how many photos should be delivered with the wedding photo gallery.

For a typical 8 hour day of wedding photography, this means a photographer should expect to pass along 400–800 photos to their clients. You can expect roughly 50–100 images per hour of shooting time. 

Quality, Not Quantity

In theory, having a lot of photos can seem like a good thing. But, there is certainly a point where the number of images can be excessive — especially when they seem redundant.

At the average wedding, we could take roughly 4,000 photos. Most clients would not want all 2,000 or 4,000 of these pictures. That’s crazy! If you have someone looking to get all the RAW images or something — we would suggest steering clear. We’ll cover the why of this in our next section. Ultimately — you could deliver fewer wedding photos than average and still have super happy clients if the images are all great.

Photographers Cull Their Photos

How many photos should a wedding photographer deliver?

Remember the 4,000 photos we just mentioned that we take during a wedding day? When we get home, we upload them to our computer; then, we cull them down to just the “keepers.”

There are plenty of reasons why we want to scale back the images we have taken. These include:

  • Removing unappealing photos (i.e., people making weird faces, low lighting, etc.)
  • Taking out repetitive images (i.e., too many reception dancing photos, too many walking down the aisle shots, etc.)
  • Removing out of focus and poorly exposed images

This culling process is essential to any digital wedding photographer’s workflow. It’s easy to be trigger happy and shoot a lot of pictures — so reducing the number of images you’d want to share with your clients in the end product is key to this process. Your photographs will be your most treasured wedding keepsake. Not sure where to start when it comes to looking for your wedding photographer of choice?

Wedding Photography Image Selection

The overarching question you should be asking yourself as you go through the images is the following: “What is the purpose of this image?” Each image needs to have a purpose. It needs to portray an emotion or idea, whether it be passion, love, romance, beauty or happiness. The exception might be family formals or some detail or venue shots.

Sometimes, we need to capture a group shot of the family to have a picture with everyone. Sometimes we need to capture the food served so that the bride and groom can remember aspects of the day they’re too busy to notice. But (especially) when it comes to people shots and candid moments, each image needs to have a purpose. A group of expressionless people, someone is stuffing their face with food, backs of a group dancing all need to be rejected.

The second overarching question you need to ask is the following: “On its own, is this image a poor representation of our typical work?” Not all images are inevitably going to be award-winning, spectacular, stunning shots. However, unintentional blur missed focus, unintentionally mixed lighting or any other amateur mistakes should automatically trigger the “kick out” reflex.

Of course, there are exceptions, as we’ll go over below, but in general, if a client or guest were only to see that one picture (the picture that you’re deciding to keep), make sure it doesn’t reflect less-than-professional work.

Specific Rules When Choosing Images

Please note that these rules are not absolutes, and each image will require some level of judgement.

Do Not Select Duplicate Shots

Duplicate shots are identical or nearly identical shots. Unique crops, different angles, different lighting, or unique post-production styles are NOT considered duplicate techniques. If the subjects have COMPLETELY different expressions (with all else equal), then the shots are not duplicates and should be kept.

In contrast, if the issues have SIMILAR presentations (with all else equal), they ARE considered duplicate photos. Even with different compositions, if the two images tell the same story of the exact moment, they should be regarded as duplicates, and only one should be chosen. Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here.

Keep (More) Sequenced Shots

Sequenced shots are very similar (in the crop, lighting, event, etc.) but show a sequence of events. Everyday moments during which we take line shots are wedding party playful scenes, wedding party walking setups, the bride walking down the aisle, bride and groom walking back down the aisle, bride and groom’s grand entrance, cake cutting, and the bouquet and garter tosses.

There will likely be dozens of shots taken from these moments, so you’ll still have to narrow it down to about three to seven images (usually around five or so) for each scene. However, don’t write all of them off as duplicate images and don’t mind the expressions (or focus) in each painting as much as you usually would.

Exception: Don’t keep too many sequenced shots of unimportant events. For example, we only need a couple (of the best) photos of the bridesmaids walking down the aisle and each couple entering the reception during the entrance. We don’t need an entire sequence of each. In contrast, we want more of the bride’s arrangement walking down the aisle or the groom stripping down during the garter toss.

Do Not Select Unflattering Images of the Subject(s)

Description: Each of our images should have a primary subject or multiple primary subjects, isolated by either the focus, the lighting, or the composition. It should go without saying that this main subject needs to look good, not blinking nor in the middle of an awkward expression. Avoid selecting images with unflattering angles or highlighting unflattering features.

Exception: If there are multiple subjects, use your judgement to select images in which at least one of the issues is captured in a flattering way. If there are a sequence of shots (see sequenced photos above), not every image needs to have perfect expressions.

Pick ONE image from each group of formals.

With the formal, posed shots, we ideally only want the best picture selected. The main reason for this is that when people are ordering images, they call from proofs, and they often can’t zoom in like we can to see all of the expressions and focuses. Therefore, it’s up to us to select the best image. This seems simple but gets complicated when there are multiple “good shots” or something slightly wrong with various embodiments (someone blinking, someone hidden, etc.). As you’re selecting, make sure you’re using the compare function in Lightroom and zooming to see all of the details. If you’re having a hard time choosing, follow this order of prioritisation:

  • Visibility – choose the image that shows everyone’s face
  • Focus/quality – choose the image with the most accurate focus and the most amount of “crispness.”
  • Blinking – choose the image that is void of blinkers.
  • Expressions – choose the image with the best terms with priority on the bride and groom, then immediate family, then all others in the picture.

Exception: If there is a flaw in every one of the images of a particular group based on the criteria above, you can deliver two images so that the client has two options. For example, if grandma is blinking and the aunt is visible in one picture, but the aunt is hidden in the sight that grandma is not blinking, deliver both. Do not give more than two shots of the same group unless they’re doing something different. For example, if the photographer has them do something silly or he’s changed up the posing, these are now other pictures, and you can deliver both.

Be More Selective with Candids of Guests

In our studio, candids are defined as non-posed shots focused on expressions during non-critical moments. We need to be incredibly selective with these. As a whole, these shots are essential for capturing the vibe and joy of the wedding.

However, individually, a candid shot would not likely be missed if it wasn’t delivered. If you leave too many in, you run the risk of diluting the overall product by drawing attention away from the rest of the great images. This is why we can afford to be a bit more selective with these shots, making sure only the best ones are delivered.

Be More Lenient with Major Moments

During significant moments, be a bit more lenient with your image selections. Important moments include most aspects of the wedding ceremony, the first look, the couples session, the grand entrance, major dances, toasts, and the garter and bouquet tosses. For example, we need more than a few first dance shots, and ideally, we’d have at least a couple of pictures for the first kiss, even if they aren’t necessarily the best images of the day.

Be More Lenient with VIPs

VIPs are family members and the wedding party. You’re going to be more lenient with images of these people in comparison to the pictures of random guests. Be extraordinarily lenient with grandparents and older people at the wedding. With the camera naturally drawn to the loudest people at the wedding, the more senior crown can sometimes fly under the radar. Moreover, they often leave the earliest, giving us less time to capture excellent images of them. If there’s a good exposure of grandma or grandpa, almost always keep it.

Don’t Eliminate shots based on “Fixable” Characteristics.

Many image flaws can be corrected pretty quickly by shooting on the newest Professional Cameras and using great software like Lightroom. This is why it’s important to choose images based on the factors that cannot be converted and not worry too much about slight under/overexposures, incorrect colour temperatures, and other fixable factors. As you get more and more comfortable with the capabilities of Lightroom, this should come naturally.

Be Highly Selective with Details/Venue Shots

For our purposes, details are all of the inanimate aspects of the wedding day, such as the bouquet, venue, favours, rings, etc. Ideally, we would have just one or two shots of less important details (wedding favours, earrings, wine bottles, etc.); and around three photos of the essential elements (rings, bouquets, venue, etc.). These venue shots are set up and controlled, so there should be no excuses for low lighting, awkward crops, or inconsistent photographs. These really should be near perfect and only keep the ones that are.

Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.

Photo Storage

With so many photos taken, a good wedding photographer will want to back up their shots.

We begin this process while we are shooting. We use cameras that allow us to be dual write our images to 2 SD cards. This gives us peace of mind that we will not lose any photos between shooting the wedding and getting them uploaded to our computer at home.

Once home, they are immediately uploaded to our external hard drives as a backup. This is 100% mandatory for any wedding photographer! Need help finding the right external HD for you?

Get the Images the Client(s) Want!

While it’s good to know how many photos should be reasonably expected, knowing that you are to deliver 400–800 images for a typical wedding day only tells part of the story.

In truth, most clients want a fair distribution of images, so they encompass ALL of their wedding days effectively. If you provide five getting ready photos and 200 reception photos, it may seem that something is a little off. Keep this in mind when photographing the wedding.

And of course, before the wedding day, consider reaching out to your client(s) directly and asking them what is most important.

When you fill a wedding gallery with the most important shots and wedding moments, they will end up much happier with their images regardless of the number they receive.

Showcase the Photos Beautifully

How you display your client’s wedding photos is just as important as the photos you provide them. We’ve seen some newbie wedding photographers load them into a hard-to-understand and visually boring platform like Dropbox. While this is a great cloud storage site for an assortment of files — it’s not so great for making an excellent first impression.

Of course, some photographers still like to provide their digital photos in a physical medium — so selling albums, prints, and USB flash drives is a great way to go.

Define Your Image Count in a Contract

The single most important thing when it comes to the number of images being provided is to set the expectation in writing.

Clients can often get confused, even upset when this information isn’t known upfront. It’s an easy mistake to make — especially for a beginner. The easiest way to counteract this frustration is to dictate how much should be expected! 

In our photography contracts, we stipulate our clients can expect to receive 300–400 images for our 8-hour package. We set the bar low and often over-deliver! Some wedding photographers do this and then treat the additional images as an upsell. The sky’s the limit: but writing it down removes all concerns upfront.

If you’re a photographer who wants to provide 50 stunning highlight images, you can do that and still retain happy clients by being transparent about this fact from the start.

What Should You Expect When You Hire a Wedding Photographer?

Keep in mind, if the photographer is capturing thousands of images. It does not mean that you will get all of them. A professional photographer takes more than 3000 RAW wedding photos, and out of them, he selects only perfect pictures and edits them. There is always room for negotiation. If you want more images, you can ask your wedding photographer for this before the shoot.

On average, you can expect around 400 photos (out of roughly 2000 photos) after an 8-hour wedding shoot coverage. For a wedding event, you can also hire more than one wedding photographer for more photos. We would suggest that you do not look at the number of wedding photos. A smaller number of good quality wedding photos are much better than a large number of bad quality photos. A professional wedding photographer captures multiple images of a single scene to avoid any errors. Out of these numerous raw images, a few perfect images are selected and edited for the client.

Every photo is reviewed individually and corrected to avoid distractions. A wedding photographer typically delivers the edited images after a couple of weeks of a wedding photoshoot. However, the delivery time can vary according to the personal schedule of your wedding photographer. You can also discuss it in advance. It’s better to give the photographer extra time to edit images for quality work.

Tips on How to Hire a Good Wedding Photographer

How many photos should a wedding photographer deliver?

For a wedding event or a wedding shoot, hiring a good wedding photographer can be a tricky task. The process requires a lot of research and pre-planning. Here are some tips on selecting a good wedding photographer and getting those amazing wedding photos that you deserve. Looking for a Mornington Peninsula wedding photographer? Look no further! Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.

Look at the Style and Portfolio of the Photographers

When hiring a wedding photographer, we suggest you look at the portfolio or the photographer’s website. Check the reviews and see the style of the photographer and if it suits your taste well. Every photographer has their aura and taking photos. You can select the right person according to your preferred style.

You also need to see the time and venue and see if your photographer is good with it. The platform can either be inside or outdoors. We suggest you hire a photographer with the best portfolio and style that is similar to your demands.

Create a Budget

Before hiring a photographer, decide on a budget that you want to spend on the wedding photoshoot. Keep in mind; you need to book a photographer a few months before the event to make sure that he is not preoccupied. You can have a hard time finding and hiring a good wedding photographer if you will procrastinate on this task.

The budget of a wedding photoshoot varies according to the number of hours and depends on a photographer’s skills. You can inquire of the wedding photographer about his entire budget and delivery time of images beforehand.

Ask the photographer if he charges a travel fee and does he have a refund policy. It is good to know if they provide retouching or “photoshop” services.

Arrange a Meeting Before Hiring the Wedding Photographer

This will help you understand the potential and nature of the photographer. Moreover, an excellent client-supplier relationship is necessary to get the best outcomes. If you cannot personally meet with the photographer, then a video call is also a reliable option. Do some homework and ask them about their work and previous clients.

Specify Your Priorities

During the meeting with a wedding photographer, you can specify your priorities and give your wedding photoshoot coverage directions. Moreover, you can share about your venue, timing and theme of the photos.

Ask the photographer about his reservations about the style, theme or venue of the wedding shoot. You also need to inquire about the packages, discounts and publication rights of your wedding photos.

Conclusion

How many photos should a wedding photographer give their client? The short and simple answer is 100 per hour of shooting or roughly 800 images for 8 hours a wedding day coverage.

As we explained, this figure is not some industry standard that all wedding photographers have to stick to. Different styles and approaches to photography will lend themselves to an additional volume of pictures at the end of the day. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.

Ultimately, if you are upfront with your clients about the number of photos they should expect and create great work, however many you decide to give in your wedding packages will work.