One of the most common questions we get as wedding photographers is “How many hours of coverage do we need?”, it may be difficult to decide how much photography coverage you need and it’s important to partner with someone who can help you decide how much wedding photography coverage you need for your special day. I understand that as a couple, you want to ensure that all of the important aspects of your wedding day are captured, but you also don’t want to waste your wedding budget on hours of photography that you don’t need.
When I talk to couples about working with me, I share my knowledge and experiences to assist them in creating a timeline. In this way, I may use it to help all of my couples figure out how much wedding photography coverage they need for their special day. I would like to make it simpler for you, so here’s the guide to choosing how many hours of wedding photography coverage you’ll need on your big day.
Consider these factors when calculating how much you’ll need a photographer!
- Are the wedding ceremony and reception held in the same location?
- Are you having a first look?
- And how important is getting ready photos for you?
- Are you planning a grand exit at the end of the night that you’d like the photographer to capture?
It will save you a lot of time if the ceremony and reception are held at the same venue. That drive time can consume into portrait time, and with only 5-6 hours booked, every minute counts. Depending on how far apart you are, travel time will add a significant amount of time to your wedding day coverage.
When you want to see your partner before the ceremony, the photographer will be able to complete most of your portraits before the ceremony even starts. A first look is when you and your partner see each other before the ceremony and have it photographed on the wedding day, this is a recent trend that adds to the amount of time you need for photos. Between the service and the reception, family pictures, bridal party photos, and wedding portraits are traditionally taken.
Getting Ready Photos
If getting ready photos are valuable to you, you should think about where you and your partner will get dressed. You should also consider the distance between your getting ready location and your ceremony location.
The extra hours of coverage are well worth it if you want the photographer to capture your grand exit. Photos from your getting ready suite to the last kiss under the fireworks and capturing some enjoyable and unforgettable moments with your guests from the dance floor as the drinks continue to flow is all worth it because it can be relived in your wedding gallery.
Other things to consider when deciding how much time you need from your photographer include the size of your wedding party, the number of guests on your guest list, the time of year, whether you want golden hour portraits, and plenty of cocktail hour memories.
Eight Hour Wedding Photography
The most famous duration of wedding photography coverage is eight hours, which will cover most wedding days from start to finish. Here are a few scenarios where 8 hours of wedding photography would most likely be needed!
- Your wedding ceremony and reception will take place at different places.
- You want to do the first look
- You’ll need pictures of you getting ready as well as a lot of dancing photos.
Sample 8 Hour Wedding Photography Timeline
1:00 pm Bride and Bridesmaids Getting Ready
2:00 pm Groom and Groomsmen Getting Ready
2:30 pm First Look and Couple Portraits
3:30 pm Ceremony Details/Guest Arriving
4:00 pm Wedding Ceremony
4:30 pm Family and Wedding Party Portraits
5:15 pm Bride and Groom join Cocktail Hour or Take a Break
5:30 pm Reception Grand Entrance
5:35 pm Toasts
6:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm First Dance and Parent Dances
7:10 pm Open Dancing
7:45 pm Cake Cutting
7:55 pm Bouquet and Garter Toss
9:00 pm Fake exit
Overall, the amount of coverage for your wedding day is determined by what you want your photographer to document. If all you want is some simple getting dressed, portraits, ceremony, reception with toasts, and a few dances, 6 hours may be enough. If you want more coverage of your reception, including golden hour images, dancing photos, and a send-off, 8-10 hours might be the best option.
The bottom line is to consult with your wedding photographer on what you want to be covered, and they will help you determine how many hours you’ll need there to capture everything your heart desires. And I’d be delighted to help you plan your wedding timeline and photograph your big day!
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