This is the first of a series of questions that I want to answer for brides, grooms, and all interested. This blog deals with the age old question regarding when will the pictures be delivered.
Almost a hundred years ago, the "instant" camera was invented. It would take almost 50 years before instant film and cameras would be popular with the mainstream and accessible. With the advent of digital photography and cameras on our phones, the push to get images faster and faster grows stronger. I know many of us wish we had the photos even BEFORE they are taken, but that whole space-time thing....
Depending on the nature of the photography AND photographer, images can be ready moments after the event, or months. There is no right or wrong answer, but only that of expressed expectations. Keep in mind, your photographer wants to put his or her best images out there, and deliver to you the very best.
When editing and retouching is involved, a good rule of thumb is 30-90 days. Do some photographers deliver in 24-96 hours, yes, but not all are created equal, and when dealing with single person studios, that photographer not only has to photograph sessions, but meet with new clients, deliver photos to current clients, edit images, and still run the other aspects of the business.
I have a 60 day clause in my contracts, but depending on time of year, my goal is within 30 days for most jobs, and often within 10 days for proofs. When albums are ordered, or other large prints, I ask for 90-180 days. The goal is always to underpromise and overdeliver.
Sometimes we hear horror stories of clients waiting years to get photos or albums. We'll hear of how they spent thousands on their wedding, but what is often not told, is that they still OWE thousands on that wedding photography. I'll address the importance of a reasonable payment schedule in another post.
In summary, make sure you ask your wedding photographer clearly when the photos will be ready. Have a reasonable turnover date in mind. Do not be afraid to place incentives and penalties in the contract as well. This may end up being a win win for both parties. Also, if the photographer has any deadlines, such as proofing or premier dates, be sure to keep them. This will allow the process to run smoother. Stay tuned for #19 where we discuss the pay schedule.
DISCLAIMER: These questions come from several online surveys that are given to brides and grooms on websites such as The Knot, Wedding Wire, Wedding and Wedding Flowers, Martha Stewart Wedding and others. This series are an attempt to assist the customer with general answers to help his search and experience.