Tales of woe and how to make sure your wedding photographer doesn’t lose your wedding photos before delivering them

What I find strange is that I’ve never been asked how am I protecting the photos before I deliver them. On the private wedding photographer groups that I’m a member of, I often see posts from wedding photographers who are desperate for help because they’ve lost some or all the photos before they had delivered them. Today, I want to give you some tips and talk about this.

I admit that I don’t quite understand why it takes weeks or months to deliver wedding photos. But few couples realise quite how risky that wait for their photos can be.

Your wedding day is one of, if not the most important day of your life. You’re so excited you hired a professional to do your wedding. On the day they have all the gear and you feel safe in their hands. They show you photos on the back of their screens and you are so excited to see the final results.

Weeks go by and they finally reach out with an apology that they don’t have some or all of your photos. The reason? They didn’t have a decent process in place to protect your photos before delivery.

A side note: What I find more cheeky is these wedding photographers, who’ve lost your photos, often ask if they should give a ‘partial’ refund. Partial? WHAT!?!

It happens to us all eventually.

This happens more than you think. Not a month goes by without me seeing at least one of these posts. So this sounds like it’s out of your control but it isn’t. There are things you need to ask to make sure your wedding photographer has done everything they can to mitigate this happening.

What you need to be asking your wedding photographer before your wedding day

  • Make sure ALL their cameras have two card slots. It’s a much bigger risk going with anyone whose camera(s) only has a single card slot. They will likely reply ‘well I haven’t had a problem yet’. I’d reply with ‘…and what happens when your single card does fail?’
  • Ask how they back up your photos on the day, during the editing and after they deliver.
  • If they give out previews, ask for a preview from a set that you know matters to you. They may not want to because some photos do take much longer to edit (big formal group shots for example). You can at least ask that they do have them.

Now, whatever they say, get that IN WRITING, be it an email, text, or message. Anyone who hasn’t had a card fail is living on borrowed time. It WILL happen at some point and yes, it has happened to me. Having duel cards saved the day!

My Process for keeping your wedding photos safe

I guess I’m lucky in that I give myself time between each wedding to edit and deliver the photos. No couple has ever waited more than 5 days for their photos. My process is this:

  1. On the wedding day, both of my duel-card cameras writes to both card slots at the same time.
  2. Back home I immediately download the photos and put ‘both’ cards in a safe place (So I now have 3 copies of your photos, the computer and both cards).
  3. I cull the photos so I don’t include photos like people blinking etc. Check that EVERY part of the timeline is there.
  4. Over the next few days edit the photos and once I’m ready to deliver, I’ll export those photos into the cloud, the USB for the client and on both my back-up drives.

Before I reformat the cards, I will have the photos saved on between Three and Five separate devices, plus the cloud.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m under no illusion that even what I do is foolproof. I know there is still a risk but I have tried to mitigate those risks as much as possible.

If you’re looking for a Wedding Photographer for your wedding, please get in touch!

Simon Day

If you have a wedding, portrait, event or festival coming up please contact me. Likewise for portraits. Check out my social media channels: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter