We've spent some time discussing selecting your wedding photographer and what to expect during the wedding. But I thought I would take a moment to talk about what happens after your wedding. Once you return from your honeymoon, there is one perhaps two wedding vendors you will still work with. Those are your photographer and videographer (if you had one). The creation and delivery of your photos is the last step in the process.
There are many ways to give you your images. There are paper proofs, on-line galleries, viewing disks (not to be confused with printable image files), 4x6 prints, print magazines, proof books, projection viewings at the studio, desk/wall prints, wedding albums, slide shows, hi-resolution images files and some I'm sure I forgotten. Depending on your package you may be entitled to any combination of these items or none at all. Your photographer may have included them in a package or you could purchase them ala carte.
Even at this point, every photographer and studio has their own method and timeline for delivering these items. Typically, you should have your proofs within a month of you wedding. But some studios might take more or less time depending a variety of factors. Some studios provide you with some sort of credit to use towards the purchase of photos or your album. Beware this credit could expire!
Creating your album is a process unto itself. The process can vary to you actually selecting the photos and album layout, to the photographer/designer doing everything with no input from you and everywhere inbetween. Once you album is ready for production it can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months for you to receive your album. It all varies on the company which your photographer uses to print and bind your album. In fact some companies are overseas which adds to the production time.
No matter what products your photographer is delivering to you or the timelines they use, you should know what to expect from your photographer. When you originally met with your photographer they should have provided you with the basic process and timeline. After your wedding, your photographer should once again review the timelines. There are times when the unforseen happens and your product does not arrive when promised. In that case, you should be able to receive timely information (via phone or e-mail) from your studio as to when to expect your products. Effective communication between you and your photographer is just as important after your wedding as it is in the planning of your special day.
Howard Kier, Certified Professional Wedding Photographer