I completely understand the anticipation that comes from waiting for your pictures. I am a picture enthusiast and it's almost like torture impatiently having to wait to see my pictures that I have put so much thought, effort and money into! That being said, I also understand what goes into making those images so amazing, so I'm forced to take off my antsy pants and remember that they are not just snapping pictures that goes into making them into art form and it's art that is worth waiting for. Every photographer has their own workflow process and even those who have their process polished into a well oiled machine, that machine needs it's occasional tune ups. If I edited my pictures the same way that I did 5 years ago, people would look at my work as beautiful still (hopefully) but definitely outdated. What was popular then has seen it's day, just as the first iphone or those platform sneakers we wore in Jr. High.
To help you understand a little about why it takes me personally so long to get you your images back I am going to take you behind the scenes for a bit. After our shoot I go home and backup your session. Then it's back to being Mom to the three beautiful children that I have the honor of being able to call mine. Any parent of young children can relate to the fact that when your babies are awake, you aren't going to get anything productive done and quite frankly, that is the way that it should be. After all they are only young once. After the young ins are down for a nap or tucked in for the night i get to editing.
I look through the images from our session and find one image that really stands out to me and edit that one to give you a little teaser. I then go back to the session that I did several weeks ago to work on finishing that session. On average I edit 4-6 hours a night. I also work an average of 20 hours at my day job to ensure that my family has health insurance. Then I shoot anywhere from two to seven days a week for usually an hour at a time. With limited time to edit you can see how my sessions can get backed up pretty quickly. I could probably cut some corners to make things a little quicker, but that isn't how I work and that's not what you paid me for.
I go through each session in the order that they were shot. First is the "culling" process which is a photography term for cutting the fat. I throw out the obvious bad shots, and go through the rest to sort out the best of the best images. We as photographers try to make the in camera shot the best it can possibly be, but sometimes you have to hurry to get that smile on the toddler who just won't crack. So some things need some fixing, I make any crops, white balance or exposure fixes to the RAW images before converting them to jpegs. Then I edit each individual image until it's perfect and move on to the next. That one image may have taken me anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes depending on what I did to it. If I needed to overlay the sky or swap a head etc.. those could take even longer to get it perfect.
I am just a one women show trying to promote my business, burn discs, make prints and deliver to clients, make trips to the post office, school events, dance recitals and chess tournaments, birthday parties, and sick days all while answering calls, texts and returning e mails to the dozens of people who all deserve my attention. While trying to make sure the kids are fed and have clean clothes to wear and trying to keep my sanity. It can be very overwhelming to have several people (clients and family) wanting you to do something for them all at the same time. Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel and say I'm done with photography it feels like I am expected to work 24/7.
Maybe I am too busy and I am getting burnt out and losing my passion for the trade. So I will raise my prices. I would have less people book with me and then they would get their images back much faster. What is your take? Would you rather pay more for quick delivery? Or just know up front that it will take around 4 weeks to get your pictures back possibly longer during busy seasons. I truly believe that you will be happy with your pictures, if you feel they are worth waiting for! Thank you to all of my oh so patient clients I really am so blessed to get to do what I love. Thank you for all of your support and understanding in this matter! Hopefully this has shone a light on the subject and you can cut your photographer some slack ;)