Do wedding photographers give all photos?


outdoor wedding pictures in the rain

When hiring a wedding photographer for your wedding, you’re entrusting them to capture some of the most significant and intimate moments of your special day.

Naturally, you might wonder whether you’ll receive every photo taken on the day. The short answer is, typically, no. Wedding photographers generally do not provide every single photograph taken at the wedding. The reason why?

This decision is mainly because of the professional process of photography, which involves careful selection and editing to deliver the best possible collection of images that represent the essence and emotion of your wedding day.

I’ll explore why photographers select certain photos over others, what happens during the editing process, and what you can expect when receiving your final wedding photo album. This understanding will help set realistic expectations and facilitate clear communication between you and your photographer, ensuring that the result beautifully commemorates your once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

Can You Ask a Wedding Photographer for All Unedited Photos?

If you’re thinking about asking your wedding photographer for all the unedited photos, you might want to consider a few things first. It’s a common question, but the answer isn’t always straightforward.

Why Photographers Might Say No

Most wedding photographers see themselves as artists and care a lot about how their work is presented. The photos we give you are carefully chosen and edited to look perfect. Unedited photos aren’t finished products—they can be blurry, badly lit, or just not that flattering. Photographers worry that these raw photos might not show their work in the best light. The final result will be outstanding. You have to trust the knowledge of your photographer, as you did not choose her/him by chance, after so much thinking.

Here’s What You Can Do

If you want to see everything, discussing it with your photographer before signing any contracts is best. Here’s how you might handle the chat:

Understand the other side: Consider why you want the unedited photos. Is it because you want to make sure no moments are missed? Or maybe you’re just curious? Knowing why can help you explain it to your photographer better.

Look for a middle ground: Maybe your photographer can agree to give you more edited photos instead of handing over all the raw files. Sometimes, they might agree to edit a broader selection if you emphasize wanting to capture more moments.

Respect their rules: If your photographer says no to giving out raw photos, it’s usually best to respect their professional boundaries. Pushing the issue might create tension, and that’s the last thing you need when planning your big day!

Do wedding photographers give all the photos?
wedding guest with super cool red sunglasses

Another Idea

If you’re worried about missing out on some moments, you could ask about having a second shooter. This means another photographer will help cover more ground and capture more special moments.

While you can ask for all the unedited photos, be ready for a discussion and possibly a compromise. It’s all about finding a balance that works for you and your photographer!

What Are RAW/ Unedited Wedding Photos?

These are the photos where the magic starts. RAW files are the unprocessed images captured straight from the camera’s sensor. They’re called “RAW” because they haven’t been compressed or edited in any way, which differs from more common formats like JPEG. RAW files contain all the data the camera sensor can capture, giving photographers much more information and flexibility when editing. Shooting in RAW allows photographers to fine-tune photos with greater control over colour, detail, and overall exposure without losing quality. It’s like having a digital negative that you can develop in countless ways, depending on your aim.

Unedited Photos: The Raw Reality

On the other hand, unedited photos are simply those that haven’t been touched up or altered after being shot. These could be in RAW format or JPEGs that haven’t been polished yet. They include every click the photographer makes during your wedding, regardless of whether the shots are perfect. You’ll see everything from blinks to motion blurs to those test shots of the photographer’s feet.

RAW or unedited photos are like the ingredients of a gourmet meal before the chef has worked their magic. They have the potential to become stunning images but usually need a bit of expertise and enhancement to shine. While it’s natural to be curious about every photo taken on your big day, remember that part of hiring a professional photographer is trusting them to make the final gallery as beautiful as possible.

the groom wipes the tear from the bride's face during their wedding ceremony


Deciding how many photos you should get from your wedding photographer is like figuring out how much icing should go on a cake. There’s no strict rule, but general expectations and factors influence the number. But don’t forget that they know what they are doing!

Typical Photo Counts

Generally, the number of photos delivered can vary widely based on the photographer’s style, the wedding length, and the events captured. However, most couples can expect somewhere between 400 to 800 photos for a standard 8-hour wedding day. The numbers could easily increase if your wedding spans the whole day or includes multiple events like a rehearsal dinner and a brunch.

Factors Influencing Photo Count

  1. Event Duration: More hours usually mean more photos. Photographers are there to capture moments, and more time means more moments.
  2. Number of Photographers: If you’ve got more than one photographer covering your wedding, you’ll likely receive more photos since multiple lenses capture different angles and moments throughout the event.
  3. Wedding Size and Complexity: Larger weddings with many guests and multiple locations generally result in more photos than smaller, more intimate ceremonies.
  4. Photographer’s Style: Some photographers shoot more liberally, snapping away to capture every possible moment, while others take a more composed approach, focusing on quality over quantity.
destinational weddings in Hungary in an abandoned factory

Quality Over Quantity

It’s important to focus on the quality of the shots rather than the quantity. A smaller set of stunning, well-composed photos may be more valuable than hundreds of mediocre shots. When discussing your expectations with your photographer, consider asking how they approach shooting and what they believe is a typical number of photos for a wedding similar to yours.

Setting Expectations

Before your wedding, chat with your photographer about how many photos you can expect and when you should expect them. This conversation can help set realistic expectations and give you an idea of what to anticipate regarding the diversity and volume of photos.

In Conclusion

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to how many photos a wedding photographer should give you. It depends on various factors, including the photographer’s style, the length of your wedding, and what you’ve agreed upon beforehand. The key is to find a balance and ensure that your photographer understands what moments and aspects of your wedding are most important to capture.


So, wedding photographers typically refrain from handing over every photo taken at a wedding, and their reasons are rooted in both the practicalities of their workflow and the artistic integrity of their profession.

Quality Control and Professional Standards

One of the primary reasons wedding photographers do not provide all photos is quality control. A photographer might take thousands of shots during a wedding, but not all of these will meet their high standards. Many images might be duplicates, poorly exposed, or simply unflattering. Photographers aim to deliver only those images that reflect their professional skills and aesthetic judgment. This selective process ensures that clients receive the best possible representations of their special day, highlighting moments with the greatest emotional and visual impact.

Protecting Artistic Integrity

Photographers see themselves as artists whose medium is photography. They carefully curate which photos to deliver based on their artistic vision. This curation is part of the storytelling process, where the photographer chooses images that best narrate the event’s flow and emotional highs. The goal is to provide clients with a coherent and compelling visual story rather than a random assortment of all captured moments.

Overwhelming Volume

Delivering every photo taken at the event can be overwhelming for clients. Sorting through thousands of images, many of minor differences or quality is daunting and diminishes the specialness of the more impactful photos. By curating the selection, photographers help clients focus on their wedding day’s most memorable and significant moments.

Wedding photographer Bristol

Efficiency and Practicality

From a practical standpoint, processing every photo taken at a wedding is immensely time-consuming and inefficient. Wedding photographers typically spend considerable time editing photos, adjusting everything from colour balance to lighting to ensure that each image delivered is polished. Editing thousands of additional photos would not be a feasible task without substantially increasing costs and delivery times, which could lead to client dissatisfaction.

Client Expectations and Communication

Finally, managing client expectations is crucial. By communicating their process clearly, photographers set realistic expectations about the number of photos delivered and the reasoning behind their selections. This discussion helps build trust and understanding between the photographer and the client, ensuring that the final album is appreciated for its artistic value and emotional resonance.

In summary, not providing every photo is grounded in the desire to maintain high quality, uphold professional and artistic standards, ensure efficiency, and manage client expectations effectively. This approach guarantees that the final photographic output captures the essence of the wedding day in the most beautiful and meaningful way.



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