Weddings - how many images to client?

Newcastle Shooter

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Apr 4, 2010
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Helloo all,

Quite a simple question really. How many edited images do you feel you should give the bride & groom?

Reason I ask. A very good friend of mine recently got married and I was unable to shoot it. They chose the photographer themselves and it was a medium size wedding. After receiving the password to view the photos these were my standout thought:
1. 600 images. Hmmm, alot.
2. Ok. First 5 were flower bouquets from different angles.
3. Im page 2/7 in and Im slighty bored.
4. A few good shots yes, but they seemed to blur in the mass volume of shots.
5. Page 7/7 - a real strugle to get through them.

It made me feel I am being tight with my volume. I tend to provide for small wedding 150+ / medium 200+ / large 250+. I love testimonials and feedback from clients and have yet to have somebody say "not enough". I could provide more but I feel that if a take 4 quick shot of bride with flowers example - I will only edit and submit what I feel is the best shot - not all 4.

Opinions and thoughts welcome
Do you have your images categorized for the client? (ex. bride and groom, formals, candids, reception.. etc.) At the studio, we post all of the good shots on their viewing site, regardless of how many were shot that day. It might be silly to you to have multiple pictures of the bouquet, but you never know if they'd end up ordering a print of them.
Hi Rausch. Once a client logs in they are presented with 4 catergorised galleries to keep things organised. I agree with including 1 or 2 - maybe a colour and a B+W. But I cant see the value in 5 near identical shots. If I multiply and offer all 5 version shots I took I could offer 700+ but thats simply quantity and not quality. The reason I take 5 is to make sure I get the 1 I want.
It really depends on how the day played out and what sort of coverage they ordered. For example, if it's just very basic coverage of the ceremony and the formal shot, they are going to get a lot less than if they want coverage of the reception. It's not just the extra time, but there is usually a lot more going on at the reception etc.

I do agree that less, can be better. We always tend to judge our own work by the strongest images...but other people may judge us by the worst images in the group. Therefore, I only want to show them the best of the best.
I do agree that less, can be better. We always tend to judge our own work by the strongest images...but other people may judge us by the worst images in the group. Therefore, I only want to show them the best of the best.

Thought provoking words. Very interesting and I feel you are right - I prob act very strongly on that. Being extremely critical I do often feel I include alot less from the average pool of 800+ images I take during the day.

If other photographers (this is posted on other forums too) are providing 700+ shots, then how many are they actually shooting during the day?? Or are they simply providing what they shoot and not editing down the quality?
I've seen extremes on both ends of the spectrum. Some shooters take their time and are very deliberate...probably a photographer working with film or at least someone who learned the craft with a film camera. They might end up with only a handful of images from a wedding, but if they are all great, then that's good enough in my books.

On the other end, there are those who use their digital cameras like a machine gun.

And I will say that it's definitely a talent/skill to be able to cull your images in an efficient manor. The photographers who deliver too many images, are likely just bad at culling. Part of it may be that they are not confident enough, in their own judgment, to toss away images that the client may like.

I make several passe when I cull images. First I cut out the obvious missed shots. Then I take out any that are out of focus or bad expressions etc. Then I might take a break and come back to it another day with fresh eyes. Then I decide which ones are better than other similar ones. Then I move on to editing what's left. I will ultimately toss a few more once I get a closer view of them and decide that they just aren't up par. Sometimes I even get someone else to offer an opinion when I'm stuck on a few images.

And you also have to consider the workflow and how much work you put in. Some photographers do very detailed editing on all the images they deliver to the client...and how long would that take with 600 images? (a heck of a long time). But if you can cut that down to 150 images, you just saved yourself a week of editing.
Some photographers don't do as much editing, so it wouldn't be as much work to deliver more images, but that's up to you.

Some photographers guarantee a certain number of images...I don't like that idea. These are often the ones who use that as a sales point (We give you 600 images).
Some clients like this, but I'd prefer to have clients who value quality over quantity.
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I learned my craft with medium format film. I used to be limited to 3, 5 or 8 rolls depending on what the client had paid for. That was 45, 75 or 120 images using 645 format. We quoted that they would get a few less to choose from, allowed for a few errors. Most people took virtually all the images produced in those days, this was very positive.

So now I am still careful with what I shoot, but folks want more now. So I quote say 100 in an album, I show them 200-250 max, never more than 3 times.

Reason, the client is saying no to far more than they say yes to. If they say no to 4-600 images then the overall experience is very negative.
My workflow is something like:

On the day, shoot around 1500 images.
First go in processing in LR3 and I delete the obvious misses (out of focus, person in the way,...) and also flag the first rate gut reaction shots
I'll then go at it another day and flag more as i find rested eyes might see something different.

I aim to get 300-500 images out of those 1500 that are for the client. I sometimes take multiple shots of the same thing and I chose the one I like the best. If there are some that are similar but slightly different, I'll generally leave them both.

Out of those 300-500, I aim to get 60-80 great shots that are wedding album worthy. Either great candid moments, good poses or whatever.

All these colour images are retouched for colour, exposure and crop.

Depending on the client's needs and the agreement, I may convert all to a straight black and white and straight sepia. I then offer to retouch x amount of images, either BW, colour or sepia version, client's choice.

In other cases I have given only 300 images which I chose which go in BW, Sepia or colour and I do certain edits based on what I see would work well with the image and give that to the client.

It all depends, I'm flexible but still keeping things clean and straight in the contract so there are no missunderstandings
IgsEMT - thats the issue - everyones idea of how many photos equal coverage of the event differ from my 250ish to somebody elses 700+.

Bigtwinky - Thanks very much for sharing your workflow in detail. Your numbers, worflow and thoughts are very similar to how I feel. Some good points.

BigMike - again, lots of good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

I might change my name to BigPaul :)

Bob - I spoke with a traditional film photographer the other day and was intrigued to hear he provides around 30 photos. But they were stunning precise formal shots of a caliber I am not capable of. A very different style to me though.
Now that I'm by computer, I can type a bit more (vs a phone).
During film days, I was averaging out about 65frames/hour. Today I average out b/n 85-100/hr.
Back then each wasted frame was about $1. Today its about $0.15 thus i can spend extra 15frames shooting scenery that will be used as a background for the album.
When clients DO ask me "how mane pics they'll get", I tell them ENOUGH to cover the event w/o repeating frames.
I never show more than 300 and sometimes a lot less, give them too many and it takes months for them to pick, I also have no intention of sticking around till all the pi$$ed up guests have bagged off and gone home, they pay for wedding photography, first dance I'm history. H

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