Wedding photographers, how many photos do you actually use from the reception?

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by shefjr, May 17, 2015.

  1. shefjr

    shefjr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am not a wedding photographer and I do not aspire to ever be one. I ask this question though because I got roped into taking a single photo at my sisters wedding (the father daughter dance).

    So my question is, how many photos do you as a wedding photographer typically expect to turn over to your client just from the reception? I'm looking for a general idea 10-20 or average of 20+/-, not a specific 55 every time type of answer.

    I ask because I decided to have fun with it and play (take photos) of other key points of the reception. I didn't put much thought into how many special moments there are just at a reception. I came away with about 250 photos. Not that all of those were special moments lol.


     
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  2. pixmedic

    pixmedic I am the Lord thy Mod Staff Member Supporting Member

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    it really depends on how many we shoot, and how many of those we dont feel are either duplicates (or close) or have other flaws that mark it for the circular file. we dont have any real number we shoot for.
     
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  3. shefjr

    shefjr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you for the response Jason. I wasn't clear with my question and have edited it in my op. I wasn't looking for an exact number. I was looking for a general answer like, and example of between 20 and 50 or average 20+/-. Taking into account your average wedding and not including the anomaly weddings where it's an intimate group or something different from the norm.
     
  4. pixmedic

    pixmedic I am the Lord thy Mod Staff Member Supporting Member

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    well...the same answer kinda applies.
    some receptions are very short with few people and so we get less shots.
    some receptions go on for hours with tons of people and we get hundreds of shots.
    even for a small reception we probably deliver more than 20 pictures.
    i would say between two shooters we probably deliver around 50-80 reception photos, not counting any B&W conversions.
     
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  5. shefjr

    shefjr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you. I'm not sure I will deliver 20. As stated I have around 250 and I'm happy with a high percentage of them but, some things like the first dance I have multiple photos of and am having a tough time choosing a winner. Then aside from that, the more I like the more I am editing which is no easy task for me or at least it's adding more time sitting in front of a computer and editing. I'm glad that she only wanted the dance and that's it.
     
  6. bratkinson

    bratkinson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm not a wedding photographer but I do shoot church and other events with anywhere from 20 to 300 people.

    I don't ever 'set a number' as to how many pictures I keep. I simply go through the shots I took, getting rid of the easy ones like: eyes closed, over/under exposed (unless it's an important shot and nothing similar), subject/camera motion blurred, etc.

    Of course, shots of 'the VIPs' of that event would be perhaps 30-50% of all the shots taken. Most of those shots are group shots with family members, friends, etc. My own experience at group shots is take a minimum of 5, and increase in multiples of 5 shots for every additional 5-6 people in the group. Why? It's close to impossible to get everyone looking at you, smiling, and all eyes open unless I take 'a lot' of shots. Throw in the fun and games caused by florescent lighting in some of the areas, and I take even more shots!

    In short, my keeper rate is somewhere in the vicinity of 30-40% of what I shoot. Note that I am somewhat in the 'spray and pray' camp, but it's not so much 'pray' as 'get everyone smiling, etc'. Looking through the viewfinder doesn't show where they are looking, are they frowning, or even yawning, etc. So my shooting is more CYA. Obviously, the more I shoot, the more I have to choose from.

    As mentioned previously, it doesn't make sense to shoot, say, 200 frames of a wedding reception with only 20 guests. But then, if lighting were particularly difficult, I'd be comfortable with 125-150 shots of the reception, more as insurance than shoot anything than moves...twice.

    During post processing, and again, afterwards, I make yet another pass through what I've kept and eliminate near duplicate shots, etc. Sometimes, it comes down to the smile on their faces, or somebody/something in the background that detracts from the photo that can't be cropped out, or maybe just a bit better lighting, exposure, or even their posture.

    Of course, the 'really important' shots like the B&G with the parents, grandparents, siblings, for example, automatically in the 'keeper' category, subject only to duplicity issues. One never knows if they'll ever be together again, etc. Of course, the 'rules' of wedding reception photography dictate shots of all guests, preferably not at tables eating (my 'rule'). And don't forget the 'formals', and other 'required' shots taken during the reception.

    So, if I were to put a number on it, I'd figure anywhere from 30-40 for a small reception, to 125-150 for a big reception. I'm not talking printing, just the number I'd put on a CD for the happy couple. It's up to you to provide some kind of package deal options on how many and how large will be printed, etc.
     
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  7. Austin Greene

    Austin Greene Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    To give you an idea, all my clients are on contract for 36 images per wedding. Usually a bit more if they go into the 6+ hours of coverage range. Do they normally get more? Sure.

    The point is, you should never be concerned with the volume of shots you're turning over. Think about quality, and make sure that your clients value the approach you take. Make your shots count, don't count your shots.
     
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  8. shefjr

    shefjr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Fortunately for me she's not a client just my sister and she only wanted one specific photo, which I got. Since she had no other photographer at the reception I took it upon myself to take other shots that I thought were important. The basic reason I asked is that I feel like I have a large quantity of photos to now edit. Even after culling many back and so it basically got me thinking, "holy crap wedding photographers who handle the whole day really do have their work cut out for them." Which then made me wonder the question I asked above.
     
  9. Austin Greene

    Austin Greene Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yep, I hear you. IMO wedding photography is hard, no doubts about it. But it doesn't have to be impossible. Folks who advertise 500+ images are just setting themselves up for failure. Not only does that make it more stressful, but there is no way that those people aren't making a quality vs quantity tradeoff.
     
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  10. shefjr

    shefjr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't know how someone could offer that 500+ photos. I would almost have to guess that they have either never photographed a wedding or they are just handing over every photo they are taking. On top of that there aren't 500 special moments at a wedding. As you said quality vs quantity. Not that I will ever do another wedding reception but, I did learn about some of my habits that I need to work on. It was a great stress free learning experience.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Most offering "500photos" are indeed just taking what they shot and sticking it on the CD. Sometimes that is all they do; the slightly better ones will take out bad shots, but they are often only totally bad (eg flash missfired and they got a black shot) and lots of substandard shots remain.

    They rely upon the idea of buying volume to help drive their company advertising because they know its one area they can "win" in over many others (this also explains why people running this sort of model tend to be at the lower standards end).


    Honestly offering that many shots is daunting for most; even a full day shooting where you can get easily 500 is a lot work through even just for a pre-view thumbnail if you want a good display. So yes many who are at the higher levels wouldn't dream of 500 pictures unles they have a small team and it was a big wedding.

    There's also the fact that if you're selling prints and building albums then less is more. Which is to say if you have less shots your client has both a higher appreciation of your talent (because you're typically raising the average quality bar up as you cut down more and more); and also an easier time choosing what they do an don't want (which prompts them to make print orders sooner rather than later).
     
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  12. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    However many photos you need to tell the story . :)
     
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