Wedding Photographer Late With Photos? What To Do

It’s drilled in time and time again – the only thing you have left after your wedding day is your wedding photos and your dress. So what do you do when your wedding photographer is late with photos?

After promises to deliver your wedding photos by a particular date they don’t and now your wedding photos are late.

This happened to one of our brides recently. She wrote:

“We got married just over 8 weeks ago and were told that our photos would take 4 weeks. We emailed them to see where they were at (we knew our photogs had gone away over the holidays but said no pressure from our end). They replied saying they aimed to have them sent to us by the end of Jan which has now been and gone and still no photos.

We really want our photos, more so we want to get our thank you cards done which require high resolution images. I feel like we are being rude to our guests but I also don’t want to be a nag to our photogs, however we also paid $3000 for the service. Am I being impatient?”

Why do wedding photos take so long

The core issue here wasn’t the amount of time they were waiting for their wedding photos, it was that they’d been promised them by a certain date, and are still waiting.  The wedding photographer should’ve kept up clear communication.

Some brides commented on the original post with stories of photos turned around within a week – that is possible with some photographers, but it’s not realistic for everyone. The thing is, professional wedding photographers don’t just turn up to your wedding, take some shots then send them to you.

There’s actually quite a bit of back-office editing, color correction, and tweaking that goes into producing beautiful wedding photos.  If it’s the middle of wedding season (November – March) then they’ll be editing other weddings too.

Average time to get wedding photos back

Photographer Kate Groundwater of Still Waters Photography said that 8 weeks is fine to wait for delivery – but it’s about managing expectations.  She has a timeline in her contract so couples know her turnaround time and said “…it’s not cool, however, to promise a delivery date and then not deliver”.

Advice for future brides

For future brides, our advice would be:

  • ensure there’s a delivery date set in your contract, so that you have some paperwork to back it up if your wedding photos are late.
  • Be patient (easier said than done, I know). You want your photos to be their absolute best, not rushed through because you kept harping on.
  • If you get specific shots taken for your thank you cards, ask your photographer if you can get those ones first, so your thank you cards can go out as soon as possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to follow up with your photographer if it’s longer than promised – and if it’s the height of wedding season, a phone call may be better than an email. Emails can get buried under the mountain of enquiries and messages that come in daily, whereas a phone call is immediate.

Final Thoughts

wedding dried flowers

Receiving wedding photos late can be a frustrating experience for couples, making clear communication and realistic expectations essential between both parties.

To address this issue, it’s important to discuss a delivery timeline, consider negotiating partial refunds or additional services if needed, and maintain open and respectful communication.

Ultimately, couples should approach the situation with understanding and patience, while photographers should prioritize delivering quality work within the agreed-upon timeframe.

For more post-wedding information check out these other great posts:

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