How many hours of wedding photography do you need?
At some point, during your wedding planning, you are going to ask that question, “How many hours should I book my wedding photographer for?”. Obviously, booking the right coverage means there are no regrets later.
First of all the amount of coverage and what you will get for it will differ from photographer to photographer. Since this is a common question from brides, I want to help answer that question based on my experience as a Professional wedding photographer.
Usually, for us wedding photographers time is money. A full days wedding can mean an 8 to 12 hour day, and also after that, we have to back up and organise your photographs, cull through them, edit them, and back them up again before delivering the photos. Sometimes the work after the wedding can take longer than the wedding day itself!
How Many Hours are Enough?
It depends on how much of your day you want photographing. Often I get enquiries from clients, and after checking if I am available, they say I want you to cover my wedding day. But is that a 4hour coverage? A 6hour coverage? A 10hour or my maximum coverage?
Figuring out the Size Of Your Wedding, and looking at your wedding timeline will help you choose the right coverage that meets your expectations and budget.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY COVERAGE
First, we must understand that any Photography coverage you choose will be ”Continuous coverage.” there is no start and stop or breaks in between stages of the wedding day unless you make special arrangements with your photographer. Example- if you book a 10-hour coverage, your photographer will not provide photography from 8am-1pm, break from 1pm-5pm, and then resume coverage from 5pm-10pm.
THE WEDDING DAY
BRIDE AND GROOM PREP
This is the part of the day when everyone is getting ready. Can take 1-3hours. How many bridesmaids and groomsmen do you have? A bride with two bridesmaids being styled will need fewer hours than a bride with eight bridesmaids, flower girl and other family members all waiting for hair and makeup.
You may want your photographer to document all the fun, natural shots of the bridal party getting their hair and makeup done as well as the groom and his best men’s preparations. Also, During this time, the photographer will take detail images, of the dress, shoes, bouquet, rings, and other jewellery.
Things to consider
- Would be willing to pay the photographer for the time to be there, as well as a second photographer if the bride and groom are getting ready in two different locations??
While the makeup and hair being fresh, Right after prep is the best time for individual portraits of the bride and groom (separately). Allow 15-20mins each for the Bride and Groom.
What do you plan to do before the ceremony? Exchange Gifts? Prayer? Reveal the dress? Family picture? First look?.
Some brides choose to have a special time with their Mother/Father or both parents when they see her for the first time in her wedding dress. Moments like this are very special and worth your photographer capturing. You may also want some family pictures or pictures with the bridal party.
Things to consider
- How long does it take to travel to the ceremony location? The photographer needs enough time to go to the second location.
- Allow 20minutes for the photographer to take pictures of the ceremony site, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area.
- You may want to plan for extra time if things are running late- hair and makeup taking longer than expected, limo getting stuck in traffic, the decorators are late etc.
The amount of time for the ceremony varies, but civil ceremonies wrap up in less than 30 minutes. Traditional Asian wedding ceremonies can be up to two hours long.
Things to consider
- After the ceremony, photos such as certificate signing, group photos with your guests (at the ceremony site) and pictures of you being congratulated can add to your time frame.
FORMALS AND COUPLE PORTRAITS
Time to take advantage of all the beautiful locations at your ceremony for family portraits, bridal party portraits and romantic portraits. Group formals should take around 45mins to 1 hour depending on the size of your family and the number of guests.
Things to consider
- How many group photos do you want? Just gathering the right faces can be a challenge and it can take some time, so plan for 3 minutes per group on average. For example, if you have ten groups, schedule in a 30-minute time slot.
- Couple portraits- I recommend having these photos done away from the guests – just so you don’t get stopped during the process – you may have to include travelling to another location to get this done. Allow a minimum of 30-minutes + travel in between locations. The best time is just before the sunset.
Typically, your wedding reception will include various events that you’ll want photographing – grand entrance, cake cutting, speeches, first dance, dances with parents, fun dance photos of guests, bouquet toss, and the sendoff. Receptions are usually 5 hours.
Things to consider:
- You might want to consider if you wish to pay for your photographer to stay for the entire reception. If you are working with a budget, you may want to have your photographer stop their work before the end of the evening.
- The best thing about having the speeches before the meal is that the table setup is still pristine, no piles of serviettes in front of the guests, and the guests are waiting for the next formal part of the wedding.
So what do I recommend?
2-3hours of Wedding Day Coverage
For civil ceremony only, with onsite group photos and couple portraits at a nearby park or another location. Allow time for travel.
6 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage
Six hours coverage is enough for small weddings with less than 50 guests. When weddings are intimate, there are very few people to manage and photograph, so things tend to move quickly. Six hours of coverage will work nicely when the ceremony and reception are in the same location.
Six hours of coverage also means no photos of you getting ready, but there will be coverage of all of the essential moments (ceremony, family photos, couple portraits, first dance, cake cutting).
8 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage
An 8-hour package will be enough for an average-size wedding. This coverage will allow your photographer to capture the last part of your getting ready shots, some of the detail shots of the ceremony and reception, and the start of the dance floor at the reception.
10-12 HOURS OF WEDDING DAY COVERAGE
If you have a large wedding party and family, I recommend 10-12 hours of coverage. Apart from it being more than enough time to capture all the details of the day, It will allow you to have multiple moments of travel between locations, more extended ceremony and change of outfits for the reception (normal at Asian weddings).
If you still struggling to decide how much coverage is the right amount for you, don’t worry. I am happy to have a chat and help put together a package that is suitable for you. You can contact me HERE.