Is There a Sweet Spot for Client Delivery?

Post Production Pro Tips - Weekly editing advice and workflow suggestions from the post-production pros.
Is There a Sweet Spot for Client Delivery?

We always tell wedding photographers that using Post can help them deliver images faster to their clients – often within a week. That’s usually a great selling point, as many photographers are weeks or months behind in their editing.

Recently, however, we received a different response from one photographer. “I can’t deliver that fast,” she said, “or else the client’s perceived value of my work goes down.” Her concern is that clients will think she rushed through the work if they receive images too quickly.

We have to admit it’s a valid concern, and it got us thinking about whether there’s a sweet spot for client delivery. Take too long and clients get mad, plus sales tend to go down because guests have moved on to other things. But deliver too quickly and they assume you didn’t do anything to the images.

After some internal discussion and reading on the web, we have a potential solution to the  issue: it’s all about expectations. If you explain your process and set client expectations for delivery time up front, then the client won’t jump to their own conclusions when images come back quickly. It’s up to you to educate them on what is a reasonable amount of time.

For example, you might explain that you aim to deliver images within two weeks of the event because you like to stay on top of the editing (or you have a great editor). Then you can exceed expectations (always a positive) by delivering in a week.

So, is there a delivery sweet spot? Is setting proper expectations a good solution? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Quick-Tip: Don’t believe you can return images in a week? Here’s a simple post-event schedule that shows how to achieve this feat. Quick-Tip: Wedding season is here! Get acquainted with your Post editor now, before you get too far behind on editing.
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  1. I think a little anticipation is best.. 2 weeks is good. No earlier, though a few shots can go out on fb or blog

    • Anticipation is definitely something worth fostering. But I think it comes regardless of the turnaround time. If you tell the client to expect images in a week, they’ll wait a few days before the anticipation kicks in. If you tell them two weeks, they’ll just hold off a bit longer before starting to get excited. Either way, they’re drooling for the images by the time the expected delivery date approaches.

  2. Let them go on their honeymoon which is usually 2 weeks. Tell them that you need the same time for the files. Send them a few pictures during that time så they can show the world. A happy couple will return to you.

    • Another vote for 2 weeks. Makes sense to time it around the honeymoon (for weddings).

  3. I think 2-3 weeks. I am usually 4 weeks, though, unless I use Post. I just recently added an option in my packages: “Priority Delivery” – images back within 1 week – for $300 (minimum). If the wedding is going to be highly complex…. like 14 bridesmaids, multiple events, etc.. then I’ll increase that charge. I don’t bring it up until after I’ve already explained everything else…. Its mainly to cover my POST charges. If its not important to the couple, then they can get my regular snail delivery. I haven’t actually contracted with a new client yet… I just added this option last week…. so I have no idea how successful it will be.

    • That’s an interesting idea – let the clients decide how fast they want it. After you’ve been running this for a while, we’d be interested to hear whether it’s a popular option and whether you get more print sales when clients choose the priority delivery.