When choosing a wedding photographer many couples tell me they want to make sure they end up with a good number of wedding photos, but what number is the right number of wedding photos you can expect your wedding photographer to take at your wedding?
The actual number of wedding photos that will be taken at any upcoming wedding can be guessed at, but can’t really be known for sure because that would be like accurately being able to foretell the future.
A wedding photographer can give an estimate or a range of how many wedding photos to expect based on their experience with similar weddings, but the actual number is going to depend on so many different factors on the wedding day itself. How many locations are involved? How many people will be at the wedding? Will they be up and mingling or stay seated? What activities do you have planned? How many activities do you have planned? How many hours will your photographer be at the wedding? How much time are you scheduling for portraits?
Let’s look at that like a sort of formula and say all these circumstances work out to offer up photo opportunities on your wedding day which may be photographed.
And if every wedding has a different mix of circumstances that affects the number of that wedding’s total photo opportunities, then the fact is every wedding will yield a different number of wedding photos.
And No one can guarantee exactly how many photos will result from an event which hasn’t happened yet.
But even if a photographer’s guaranteeing they’ll hit a specific high number, that may create a major problem for you:
If it happens that on your wedding day things work out that there are less photo opportunities than originally expected, and less than that guaranteed number the photographer estimated, that wedding photographer could be pressured to conjur up photos to make up for the perceived shortfall. I say “perceived” because there really isn’t any shortfall if everything that could be photographed was photographed, but because that photographer promised you there would be even more photos than what they delivered, you may feel you were shortchanged.
That means they may take duplicates, triplicates, quadruplicates, quintuplicates… eighteen different angles of the cake… leave in all the blinks… you get the idea. All to make up the difference in the count they promised you.
So contrary to how it sounds, being promised more wedding photos may actually not be better. It’s the ol’ “Do you want quantity or quality” question. You simply can’t create quality images if the photo opportunities aren’t there.
And that means you could be sorting through a lot of subpar images you don’t like to get to those you do. And meanwhile thinking you paid a lot for duplicates.
But take heart. There is a right number of wedding photos you can expect from your wedding. That number is: All the photos it takes. It’s like the famous NY Times quote about how many newsworthy articles they give you. They promise to give you “all the news that’s fit to print.”
It’s the same with weddings. The number of photos you get should be all the photos worthy of your wedding. And even though no one can say what that exact number is, my feeling is the right number of those wedding photos you end up with should have both quantity and quality.
Because the real question shouldn’t be a hypothetical – or arbitrary – “how many wedding photos will you take?” but “will you take as many photos as my wedding needs to tell my wedding story completely?”
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