Why It Takes Photographers So Long to Turn Around Photos

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Ever wonder why it takes photographers so long to turn around photos? You wouldn’t be the first & you won’t be the last, but I’m going to take a crack at it.

Perception of Time

Everyone has a different perception of time. What you might think of as being a shorter or longer amount of time might be different to someone else. I feel (indicates this may not be factual, but is likely accurate) like you've got 3 personalities with time. Please laugh with me & don't take this personally.

#1 - arrives 15+ minutes early to work (These individuals expect that their gallery will be done before the noted time & will ask about it frequently.)

#2 - arrives on time to work (These individuals are considered late by the people above & expect that their gallery will be done by noted time, but are appreciative if they get it a little sooner or later. May ask once or twice about the gallery.)

#3 - arrives 15+ minutes late to work (These individuals are so flexible that they don't usually care when they get their gallery as long as they get it. Might not ask even once.)

The problem here is the photographers also fall into one of these three personalities & expectations vs reality can clash. This is why communication is hecka important.


Your photographer has a flow that works for them. They've assessed what it takes for them to turn around galleries based on a wide variety of factors, from strengths to weaknesses.

Your photographer is an artist.

It's that simple. An artist has a certain amount of time they need to be able to work with & in to create something beautiful, meaningful, & complete.

Your photographer runs a business.

Taking our time (whatever amount that may be) is quality assurance. We don't just want to do our job; we also want to do it well.

Your photographer is self-employed.

Establishing boundaries of where work starts & stops is difficult because most of us are our own bosses. For those of us who work from home, we can't leave our work - at work. It follows us everywhere. Most of our clients are busy working during the day & are not able to communicate until they get home, which means we have to be flexible with our hours. Most people say, "You are in control of your hours. You don't have to answer." But let's be real. The nature of the work we do doesn't allow for that & I would personally give my clients an arm & a leg to see to it that they are well taken care of & that I have done my job to the best of my ability.

We also have multiple clients at a time. The chances are that if a gallery is due today or this week, there are several others following right behind. So it's not just making sure that clients are well taken care of, but showing that same level of care to every client we have.

Your photographer is a human.

The headline makes me giggle, but it's true. We have ourselves, spouses, children, families, & friends to take care of. There are places we want to be or things we need to do. Our job is important, but not at the cost of the stuff that is the most important. Just because we work from home doesn't make the value of our work life or personal life different than those who don't. We need vacations. We need sick-time. We need days off. We need rest. We need to clean. We need to cook. We need to bathe our babies (and ourselves) & walk the dog. We need to visit someone in the hospital or attend a funeral. We need to be a human.

The Bottom Line

If you are trusting someone to tell your story, then trust their time. It doesn't matter if someone else does it differently or even if you feel they should do it differently. They have their reasons for the way they do things & it's 100% for both of your benefits.

If you made it to the end of this & I could leave you with some encouragement:

Clients: Yeah, you're right. You've got a deadline on the contract that your photographer gave you. I know. If you hire someone that you know is dang good at what they do (because there are some really crappy photographers who have taken people's money & ran or delivered crap work) I promise it's worth the wait. Instead of asking about your photos, maybe prioritize asking about them & telling them how excited you are to see what they are creating. 

Photographers: Be committed to the deadlines you establish. Before you book a client, make sure you have openly communicated what editing + turn-around + delivery looks like for you so that they understand your workflow. If you need more time to work, be honest about it (but don't make excuses). 

XO, Dakota Chasity

Dakota ArgoComment