Why Photographer's Charge a Rush Fee

MargoReed MargoReed

Why Photographer's Charge a Rush Fee
Why Photographer's Charge a Rush Fee

In the world of photography, post-production is an essential phase that transforms raw images into complete stories. However, many are unaware of the meticulous steps involved in this process, often leading to the expectation that images can be delivered almost instantaneously. I thought demystifying the post-production workflow could help explain why a rush fee is not only justified but necessary. With that in mind, hereÊ»s a look at what goes into delivering images after a typical shoot. 


1. Downloading Photos

The first step after any shoot is to safely download the images from the camera to a computer (and whatever storage setup the photographer uses). This ensures that all data is secure and ready for the next critical phase. It's a basic yet crucial step that sets the foundation for the editing process.

2. Culling

Culling is the process of selecting the best images from a shoot. This step is vital for storytelling, ensuring that only the strongest images that contribute to the narrative are chosen. It involves going through possibly hundreds or thousands of images to find those that truly stand out. This is not just about finding one good picture but ensuring all chosen images collectively tell a cohesive story.

3. Post-Processing a.k.a. Color Correction

This is where creativity really comes into play. Post-processing involves adjusting various parameters like exposure, contrast, and color to bring the best out of each image. It’s the most dynamic and enjoyable part of my workflow, where photos transform and their true potential is unleashed. This process adheres to my strict ethics on post-production and retouching, ensuring authenticity and integrity in every image.

4. Retouching

While post-processing adjusts the image as a whole, retouching is more focused and detailed, often necessary for portraits. This step is about perfecting details, like removing blemishes or smoothing skin texture. However, for event photography, extensive retouching is usually minimal due to the varied lighting and backgrounds, which can make uniform edits challenging. My approach to retouching is clear, aiming to enhance rather than alter the essence of the photograph. Read about my retouching ethics here.

5. Exporting and Delivery

After all edits are finalized, the next step is exporting the images. This is crucial because RAW files, which are the high-quality files captured by cameras, are not directly usable. They need to be converted into formats like JPEG or PNG, which are easily accessible on phones, tablets, and computers. This step makes the images ready for delivery, viewable on various devices, and ready to be shared on social media or other platforms.

The final step is delivering the images to you, the client. This can be done through various means like online galleries, USB drives, or cloud storage, depending on the project requirements and client preference.

So...Why Is There a Rush Fee?

Understanding this workflow, it should become clear why delivering high-quality images quickly can be challenging. If a client requests a "rush" on their images, it means pushing their project to the front of the line, often requiring late nights, skipped meals, and bypassing the usual care that ensures each image is perfect.

Rushing can lead to errors such as color inconsistencies, missed imperfections, or even the accidental exclusion of key images. Each step in the editing process is designed to ensure the highest quality and integrity of the final product. Skipping or rushing these steps can compromise the quality of the work that my studio stands for.

Thus, a rush fee isn't just about faster service. It compensates for the additional effort and adjustments in the workflow that ensure the project is still completed to the highest standard, despite the shortened time frame. It's a way to ensure that even under tight deadlines, the work remains meticulous, professional, and beautiful.


The post-production process is an art form in itself, requiring time, patience, and a keen eye for detail. Each step, from downloading to delivery, is crucial in transforming raw footage into polished, professional images that tell a story. Rushing this process can compromise the very essence of what we strive to achieve—capturing moments that resonate and inspire. So, when you're asked about a rush fee, remember, it's not just about speed; it's about maintaining quality and artistry under pressure.

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