Groom kissing his smiling bride while she holds a bouquet of flowers with green trees behind them

How many photos should a wedding photographer give their clients?

With over 20+ years of experience as wedding photographers, we have a ton of experience going to weddings, filling up SD cards with tons of images, then narrowing those down into a final gallery we deliver to our wedding clients. 

One of the biggest questions that remains top of mind, both for clients looking to hire a photographer and for photographers looking to make sure they provide enough images to their clients, is – how many photos should a wedding photographer give their clients?

In our experience, wedding photographers aim to provide around 100 fully edited, digital images per hour of shooting time during a wedding

While every individual wedding photographer will be different on this, you will find that the average wedding photographer delivers at least this much. That means for the average 8 hour day, the gallery delivered will be about 800 images. 

With wedding photo galleries of this size, there are additional things to keep in mind while you look to price your wedding photography services. 

Additional things wedding photographers should think about

Quality of images, not quantity

In the world of wedding photography, quality is definitely more important than quantity. You probably hear this a lot. We would want to add to this sentiment, though, because most clients who are hiring you for a good portion of their day will also expect at least an average level of quantity (~100 images per hour). The reason for this is because so much happens at a wedding, and clients want to be able to look at their photos and remember all of the little bits and pieces throughout. 

With this said, you could provide a client with 6,000 images from their wedding and just overwhelm them. With this many photos, it’s likely most of them aren’t even particularly good or interesting – which are two subjective measures that can help you decide when you want to share the photos with your clients (or not). 

In some circumstances, you may be able to provide less images if the quality is high. Many top wedding photographers in the world do this, and their clients like a really refined gallery of best moments and shots. 

The photos you take are not the ones you deliver

Professional wedding photographers typically take thousands of images throughout the wedding day. Afterwards, they will cull the images to the best selections. 

There are many reasons why wedding photographers don’t typically share all of the images they shoot, a few reasons include…

  • Duplicate moments
  • Test shots
  • Out of focus images
  • Not interesting
  • Bad facial reactions
  • Poor lighting
  • Technical mishap (like flash not firing)
  • Too many images can overwhelm a client

One of the biggest selling points of hiring a wedding photographer (vs. just letting friends and family take phone pics all day) is not just for the technical and creative abilities of the photographer, but because of their ability to cull the images to a reasonable gallery size that makes remembering the day that much more easy and special. 

Focus on the images your clients want

Many photographers provide their clients with opportunities to share any specific photos they’d like to have. This can range from receiving a full-blown shot list to smaller suggestions like just mentioning the specific detail items they have. 

In our experience, we typically ask for key info about the wedding day in a wedding photo questionnaire. We reserve some space in there for special requests, as well as putting together a family photo list. 

Don’t have a shot list or any specific photo requests from your clients? 

We suggest aiming to give a gallery with the following break downs. 

  • Getting Ready photos – 20% of your gallery
  • Bride & Groom First Look & Portraits – 20% of your gallery
  • Group Photos (Family & Wedding Party) – 15% of your gallery
  • Ceremony Photos – 10% of your gallery
  • Reception – 35% of your gallery

Breaking this out for a gallery with 800 images you’d deliver…

  • 160 Getting Ready photos
  • 160 First Look & Bride/Groom portraits
  • 120 Group photos
  • 80 Ceremony photos
  • 280 Reception photos

How you show off the image’s matters

How you showcase the images from the wedding matters. 


Put yourself in your clients shoe’s here. What sounds better of the options below…

1). You receive all of your images in a Dropbox folder. In order to view them, you need to scroll through each image individually. Downloading photos can take a lot of time because this system is not well optimized. 

2). You receive all of your images in an online gallery created for photographers. All of your images are showcased in a grid and load quickly. Downloading images is quick because you have easy access to web size downloads. 

(Hint: The answer is #2)

We always recommend for pro wedding photographers to use an online gallery storage solution. These are affordable, enhance the client experience, and often have other features like an integrated print store that can even help you recoup your costs (and make more, too!). 

Some great online galleries for photographers to check out include:

  • Pic-Time
  • Pixieset
  • Sprout Studio
  • SmugMug
  • Zenfolio
  • Pass
  • ShootProof
Lawyer at a desk reviewing a photography contract

Always use a contract and define how many images a client will receive

One of the most important things you need to learn to do when you’re a wedding photography businesses is how to set expectations with your clients. While you should have some discussions on the phone or via email, spelling your terms out in a contract is important as a point of reference. 

We recommend indicating how many images a client will receive in your wedding photography contract, as well as defining what those images will look like (“full resolution, JPEG, edited images” is more concise than “images”) and sets a better expectation. 

Tips for Creating Backups of Your Wedding Images

Now that we’ve established how many photos you should plan to give your clients as a wedding photographer, we want to talk about how to ensure the images you take are being stored effectively. 

Double write on SD cards while shooting the wedding

Most professional cameras include the ability to write images to 2 SD cards at one time. For wedding and event photographers, it’s crucial to use this as any lost images will be impossible to replace or replicate. 

We have had SD cards fail while shooting at a wedding, and were able to ensure images were still backed up and good to go by removing the failed card, storing the safe backup in a secure case, and switching out to new cards.

It’s a good practice to also keep the SD cards until the delivery of the full gallery set for extra safety. 

Copy images to an external hard drive upon return home

When you arrive home from a wedding, we recommend backing up images to an external hard drive. This allows you to have a 3rd backup of the files. 

For extra protection, use multiple external hard drives or cloud storage solutions

In the world of tech, there is a common saying that goes like this…

“One is none, and 2 is one”

This is in reference to backups. If you only have 1 backup, it’s as good as having none because if it fails, your entire project fails. Having multiple backups just provides extra layers of security. 

You can also consider cloud storage solutions for backing up your files. 

Need help finding the best external hard drives for photographers? Read out post the 21 Best External Hard Drives for Photographers – What’s Right for You?


Wedding photographers should plan to give around 800 edited images to their clients for a regular day’s work. We’d consider anything in the range of 600 – 1,000 photos to be “normal.” We do use this loosely as wedding photographers typically operate as independent businesses, so every photographer may do things a little differently depending on their style and the expectations they set with their clients. 

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