Behind the Scenes: A Photographer’s Turnaround Time | Expectations from your Photographer

Just think of this scenario: you have just made the effort to get everyone camera ready. You found perfect outfits, got everyone excited and the photoshoot session went smoothly. Now you are excited to see the final product. You contact the photographer a few days after and inquire about turnaround times and the photographer mentions it will take a few weeks, you feel a bit disappointed. You are wondering what can take so long? How can one photoshoot or wedding take so long?

Here is a little glimpse into the world of the photographer. Disclosure: this applies to my business, but other photographers may experience the same thing. 

What happens after the photoshoot? Once I have completed the session or wedding, I come home and backup all footage to different hard drives that I know there are multiple backups saved to different locations.

Then comes my editing process: Once I have made backups I select (“cull” in photographic lingo) the absolute best photos from your session in PhotoMechanic. The next few steps might differ to each photographer. I then import the selected photos into Lightroom, other photographers use Photoshop. I then separate a few photos from various lighting situations and edit them so that there is no colour difference. For example at a wedding I might have taken a few photos outside and then the bridal portraits are inside; obviously the colour and lighting will differ so I edit them that they look similar to create a unified shoot. 

Now the true editing starts, I edit each photo in several rounds, firstly applying base presets (filter) that I have created and perfected over the years. Then I go through every photo individually to see if there are any imperfections that need to be taken out, a power line in the background or a pimple that appeared on your wedding day. After this I go through every photo once again and make minor tweaks (any tones, highlights ect.) then I star (or select) the best pictures I want to use on my website and make them black&white.

I will then send you, the client, all the photos that you will be receiving via Pixieset (a photo sharing website). You will then go through each photo and check that you 100% happy with all of them before I share them on my website. Now this differs for every person, because life happens and then it also takes you a few days to work through the photos.

Please remember every photographer has a different process. Turnaround times differ from each photographer, because they might have a different process to mine. A full hour photoshoot takes me about 4-6 hours from start to finish to edit. Sometimes this is broken into a couple of days of editing, depending on my schedule.

So why do I wait so long for my photos? Excellent question. Every photographer has an editing queue, which is a list of all of the photo sessions they still need to edit. Your photograph’s turnaround time is also going to differ based on their schedule, how many tweaks they make during the editing process and depending on what time of the year it is (wedding season in South Africa is from mid August to mid May and may differ), this means that a very popular photographer will be shooting every weekend as well as during the week.

In summer peak season I do family, engagement and weddings. Each week looks as follows: 2 days of mini family shoots, an engagement shoot and a wedding, sometimes 2. I have sunrise and sunset shoots and love to help with a Styling Guide I send out before the session.

Here is an example:

You and your family had a session on Friday, 1 August. Before the session started my queue looked like this:

  • Melissa & Family
  • Kevin & Shana Engagement
  • Gia New Born 
  • Silke & Bosman Family
  • Matt & Robyn wedding
  • Rikus & Annari wedding
  • Kristen & Mike engagement

Therefore, when I add you to my queue after our session, it now looks like this:

  • Melissa & Family
  • Kevin & Shana Engagement
  • Gia New Born 
  • Silke & Bosman Family
  • Matt & Robyn wedding
  • Rikus & Annari wedding
  • Kristen & Mike engagement
  • You & your family

I edit one session per day for 5 days. In between that comes all the other things I have to attend to as a business owner (responding to emails, blogging, sending questionnaires, invoices, client meetings etc.) and then on top of that I am not a machine and need to do things to keep me creative and sane. A typical turnaround time for smaller shoots are 2-3 weeks, sometimes I am sick and need to catch up editing and won’t do anything for a few days and then even nights to catch up on deadlines. 

Please remember every person runs their business differently. 

What happens in Peak season? I am one of the few photographers that doesn’t extend their turnaround time during peak season. More sessions, means more editing. Therefore, I am working doubly hard to get your session done in the turnaround time.  

Every photographer has a different process when it comes to running his or her business, and this includes turnaround times. They are very personal to each photographer’s workload, family life, and editing style. Just remember at the end of the day, we are all human beings just doing the best we can to get you your images quickly, while also ensuring top quality. I strive to deliver an excellent product and I know I am pretty hard on myself sometimes to get things done, and I wouldn’t want to edit faster to cut quality or rush through my workflow, thus delivering a less than ideal finished product.

Therefore, have some patience and grace from your side as a client. We are all doing our absolute best.

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

Menu