This is often a question I get from couples booking their wedding day photography with me. It can be a daunting question for couples as you want to make sure you are getting all the coverage you want, but also meeting your budget needs. My job as a photographer is to ask questions and listen to what your priorities are for your wedding photos. A number of factors go into how many hours of coverage you may need such as; travel, timeline, size of family/wedding party, desire for getting ready photos, etc. Here are a few questions that can guide you in choosing how many hours you need to get all of the photos you want. Obviously, I am always more than happy to talk through your wedding day and help you figure out what is best for your wants and needs.
Do you want to capture getting-ready images?
Do you want the photos of your hair and makeup being put on? Are you getting ready onsite of your ceremony or is their travel involved? For all of the getting ready details I would suggest allocating three hours of coverage prior to your ceremony time. If you are looking for just photos of you getting your dress zipped up, and your bridesmaids together in the dressing room, an hour before the ceremony should be sufficient.
Are you having a first look?
If you are planning to do a first look prior to the ceremony, this is something that you don’t want to rush and I would recommend allotting the time to make this moment special for you and your partner. Your wedding day is going to be filled with love from friends and family and a first look can give you two intimate times on your special day. This time can also give us the opportunity to capture bridal photos of you as a couple if you have a shorter time frame between the ceremony and reception. I suggest adding an additional 30-60 minutes prior to the ceremony for a first look to truly treasure the time together.
How much travel will be involved?
Is your ceremony and reception all at the same location? If so, it will take less time to capture bridal and bridal party photos in-between the ceremony and reception, which would allow for a shorter period between these events. If there is travel involved between the ceremony and reception, or you would like to go to a separate location for photos, be sure to calculate travel time when mapping out your wedding day timeline.
What activities do you have planned for your wedding reception?
I would say in the majority of cases an hour into dancing most couples will feel satisfied with the photos captured and are ready to enjoy the night with friends and family. In the first hour of dancing, first dances have occurred and any special events (bouquet toss, garter toss, grand march, etc). If these activities are going to occur longer than an hour into dancing, you may want more coverage or want to talk to your DJ about adjusting the order of events.
One average most couples decide that 8-10 hours is the perfect fit for their wedding day needs. If you book and decide that you want to adjust the number of hours your need for coverage, we can talk about updating your contract appropriately. If you have any questions, or would like to sit down to go through your wedding day timeline just ask, I would love too. :)
Hello! I'm glad you are here.
I am an Appleton, Wisconsin-based photographer. I lean into my creative side when I shoot and love bringing out your personality during your session. To ramble off a few of the things that fuel my soul (other than my camera); clear night skies, snuggles with loved ones, the outdoors, sunsets, having genuine conversations with new people, and listening to audiobooks.