Why a Professional Photographer will not give you all unedited images on USB

Why a Professional Photographer will not give you all unedited images on USB.

Why a Professional Photographer will not give you all unedited images on USB?

Have you ever wondered why a Professional Photographer will not give you all unedited images on USB?

This is something that can be an issue with any type of photography, but often comes to the surface with Wedding Photography.

This is something asked of us many times.

As a client you may be thinking, we have paid for our wedding photography, we own everything taken on that day?

You may also be thinking you do not need the images to be edited?

You have seen the photographers work and it looks great as it is.

You may also be thinking you are not ‘fussy’ so unedited ones will be fine.


Two Issues: Unedited Images and All Images

So there are two issues here.

  1. Unedited Images – no professional photographer puts out images that are unedited, ok I cant speak for everyone, but I would bet my camera’s that very few do. Even if its just a case of adjusting the brightness, colours etc. Most of the images we see everywhere nowadays have been edited, so it lulls us into a false sense of ‘this is how the images looks straight out of camera’. Any artist (and yes photography is also an art) wants to present their images in their best light, so regardless of your feelings about the images looking ‘fine’, most artist would not want their work in any other place than on their personal hard drive, before it is edited.
  2. All images on a USB – All images of any event very rarely given, one very simple reason is that each job is priced on the time spent on the shoot as well as time spent editing afterwards. A professional photographer will have factored in time for all the images to tell the story. If there are 20 of the same scene, they will choose the best ones to edit, as part of your story.

Telling the story

Asking for all unedited images is like asking you to present a report to your Director at work, in all versions, with the mistakes, paragraphs you deleted, wording that you decided against and the bits that your colleagues told you were just a no no.


Each Wedding Photographer has a process in taking images, putting together to best ones and telling your story. Think about the last film you watched that you were engrossed in. What was great about the film? what captured your attention? Now imagine that instead of the watching the completed film, you get to see the version with the numerous takes of each scene, the ones that didn’t make it, the ones where the actors messed up lines, where the lighting was off, where the camera shook, where the audio guy didn’t get the boom arm microwave close enough. The film would probably look very different, and would not have captured your attention in the same way. In fact it could end up quite boring.

This is what you pay a professional wedding photographer to do. To create your story. To capture everything needed to tell it. To take out all the ‘out-takes’. To put it together as a completed piece of work. If this is done properly, you will remember your wedding day as a picture of perfection!


You need not see the poses where your eyes were half closed, and you look partly as though you were falling sleep on your big day. The poses that show a bit too much or the arms you were never comfortable with, or where the flash did not fire.


Photographers also take many more images than they need in every scenario. So while your finished album for example may have two beautiful images of you smiling away while you are walking down the aisle, they would have carefully been chosen from many more.

An example of one of our wedding album designs

Seeing two images from the same set will give you the wow factor, imagine seeing 50, a millisecond apart from each other, by the time you got to the 20th, that feeling would be very different.

We are not the only ones to say this.

Here are a few other articles saying the exact same thing.

Why Wedding Photographers do no give unedited images.

Why photographers do not give all files

Ownership of Images

Many people are very wrongly informed about the ownership of images. An artist still owns the copyright for all of the images that they have created. Even if the images feature you, and your event. Most Photographers will supply your wedding images with what is called a ‘Licence to Reproduce’ The British Institute of Portrait Photographers give a nice explanation here. So you can still print and use them, but they will still be owned by the photographer.

So before you take to social media to rubbish your photographer, sometimes we act out of sincere ignorance.

That being said, of course you will find SOME photographers that will offer you all of that, and more.

UK Based Destination Wedding Photographer

If you are looking for UK based Destination Wedding Photographer, to travel to cover your wedding internationally, then look no further than Lensi Photography.

We have covered weddings, pre and post wedding shoots in many countries with the furthest away being 6,500 miles away in Rwanda, Africa. If you are marrying abroad or living outside the UK we can still photograph your wedding.

This is a short blog about being a UK Based Destination Wedding Photographer covering a Destination Wedding in Africa.

So you are looking for that special wedding photographer to photograph your wedding, but they are based in another country from you, is this a problem? For most photographers this is not problem, as it wasn’t for us. It may cost you a bit more, but you will be getting exactly the people you want to document your wedding and create the images you want to remember your day by.

How to choose you wedding photographer

see our blog post on this Choosing your wedding photographer

For the photographer – What to bring?

You will have to travel a bit lighter than when you are covering a wedding at home, but travelling with a good airline will allow for a decent baggage allowance. Put anything you need, can be broken easily and cannot do without in your hand luggage. You have to allow for your baggage not arriving, and IF it does not, what do you deliver to your client? Not all countries have easily available shops that equipment can be rented from. This is exactly what happened to us (but that story is for later). Between the first and second photographer we bought, four bodies, 8 lenses, a range of flashes, umbrella, batteries, video lights, boom arm, and reflectors. For a wedding in the same country would carry Quadra Ranger Packs and Ice Lights (but as all of these looks could be replicated with other lights) we opted not to carry these.


Preparation – before the wedding

Being a UK based destination wedding photographer, all the normal pre planning is required, and possibly meetings over Skype. In addition to this you may have to get additional jabs that you may need to factor into your wedding expenses. We had to get Yellow Fever vaccination at £70 so not cheap.



Some countries will need you to state that you are going there to work, which may cause some extra administration and incur extra money and problems. some countries also do not allow you to do jobs as a foreign person that can be delivered by their own citizens, such as Canada. This is all worth checking out before you travel.


Plan B, C and D

As you are UK based working in another destination will mean that you do not have easy access to your usual back ups should something go wrong, so have a plan B, C and D. Ours was to travel with four bodies, in hand luggage, and only to have reflectors and stands on the main suitcases. Very lucky considering as the lead photographer, my cases did not arrive! And did not arrive until the day we were returning home, I literally went to the airport collected them from arrivals, walked to the other part of the airport and checked them back in to come home. But due to pre planning our client we still able to receive a quality product. Hiring Equipment in Rwanda is impossible, equipment is expensive so very precious to local photographers, and has to come all the way from South Africa or further afield. We needed to borrow a reflector, and ended up hiring one from a local studio twice the price of the cost of buying one in the UK.


Leading Up To The Wedding

Rwanda and Kigali was not what we expected, but getting to know the area a little before the wedding, gave us time to plan for pre / post wedding shoots should there be time. Our couple were extremely busy people, and this was always only a possibility even though we are in the country for a week. It is a beautiful country, although most people still (20 years later) only associate it with the Rwanda Genocide.

uk based destination wedding photographer

kigali rwanda

uk based destination wedding photographer

kigali rwanda

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I had the opportunity to go  Gorilla Trekking with Wild Gorilla’s (6 feet away from a wild silverback and its family Gorilla in the Wild by Lensi Photography visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre and got to experience a side of Africa that we are rarely shown in the Western World, beautiful homes, trendy wine bars, posh restaurants, thriving town city centres, with sky scraper buildings, and lets not forget the motorbike taxi’s….which were scary for a car driver, but very economical!


On the Day of the Wedding 

Rwanda Weddings are very similar to Indian Weddings in many respects. Much of the ceremony involved the families, gifts are exchanged between families, outfits are very similar, there are even ceremonies involving milk. As in any other wedding ensure everything is charged up and your back ups at hand in cars / rooms nearby if possible.

As our luggage did not arrive, we were not dressed as appropriately as we could be… however the most important thing was creating the images we had been hired to create!


After the Wedding

The issue of how to get your products to your couple. We use online viewing platforms for the images, and biased via Skype and whatsapp. Postage of our album would cost about £50 but our couple travel so frequently that we were able to meet them in Birmingham and hand their album to them in person.


If you are looking for a UK based Photographer to cover your destination wedding, look no further than Lensi Photography.