Congratulations on your engagement! As you embark on the exciting journey of wedding planning and picking a photographer, one of the questions that tends to come up is “How many hours of wedding photography do I need?”. In this guide, we’ll help you navigate this decision, and make sure no moments are forgotten when making your choice.
General Rules for Determining Wedding Photography Coverage
The first question you should ask yourself is, “What do I want to remember?”. Your wedding day will go by in such a blur, and on a day with so many emotions and loved ones, many moments will be missed without a professional photographer and their keen eye for special interactions.
When working with our couples, we like to arrive between 3-4 hours prior to the start of the ceremony in order to capture detail photos, getting ready photos, any first looks or first touches, and portraits that can be done prior to the ceremony.
From there, how many hours of wedding photography you need depends on the rest of your event. If you will be hosting a short & sweet ceremony, and have few family photo groupings, six hours of coverage may be enough to capture your day until speeches and special dances. If you’re anticipating a longer ceremony with personally written vows, have lots of family members to take formal photos with, and want to capture the shenanigans during the open dance floor, I’d recommend 8-10 hours of coverage. 10 hours of coverage is an absolute must for couples with multiple locations, weddings with over 300 guests, ceremonies closer to a full hour in length, and killer parties that just NEED to be told to the fullest extent.
Let’s dive in a little deeper and get to the bottom of how many hours of wedding photography you really need.
1. The Magic of Getting Ready Moments
The getting ready phase is a treasure trove of candid and emotional moments. From the anticipation in each partner’s eyes to the shenanigans and love from the wedding parties, these intimate scenes set the tone for the entire day. Allocating dedicated time for getting ready coverage ensures that every detail, from the final touches on each partner’s attire to the emotional reactions from loved ones, is beautifully documented.
2. Detail Photos: Setting the Stage
Begin your wedding day photography coverage by dedicating 30-45 minutes to capturing intricate detail shots. This includes photographing the wedding rings, invitation suite, shoes, and other personal items. Flatlays featuring these elements not only showcase your unique style but also add a layer of storytelling to your wedding album. By starting the day with a focus on details, you set the stage for a visual narrative that complements the overarching story of your celebration.
3. Understanding Your Wedding Day Timeline
Create a rough timeline of your day, emphasizing key moments like the ceremony, reception, and any special events or traditions unique to your celebration. Understanding the flow of your day will help you determine when and where you’ll need photography coverage the most.
4. Ceremony and Reception Duration
Consider the length of your ceremony and reception. If you’re planning a shorter, more intimate affair, you may require fewer hours of coverage. On the other hand, elaborate events with extended ceremonies, cocktail hours, and dancing into the night may benefit from more extensive coverage. If you’re planning on having a grand exit with sparklers, bubbles, or even fireworks, consider having your photographer stay until the end to ensure no memories are missed.
5. Sunset and Golden Hour Opportunities
Photographers often cherish the golden hour – that magical time shortly before sunset when the light is soft, warm, and flattering. If dreamy, romantic portraits are a priority for you, consider scheduling photography during this time. Factor in the sunset time on your wedding day to ensure you make the most of these enchanting moments.
6. Special Events and Traditions
Every wedding is unique, and you may have special events or traditions that require additional coverage. Whether it’s a cultural ceremony, a surprise performance, or a grand exit, communicate these moments with your photographer. This ensures they are prepared and ready to capture each unforgettable detail.
Conclusion: How Many Hours of Wedding Photography Do I Need?
Deciding how many hours of wedding photography you need is a highly individual choice. By prioritizing the magic of getting ready moments, dedicating time to detail photos at the start of the day, understanding your day’s timeline, and considering key events, you can craft a photography plan that beautifully captures the essence of your celebration. We’re here to guide you through this process, ensuring that your wedding day story is told in its entirety with the perfect amount of coverage.
For more tips and inspiration on wedding photography, explore our portfolio and blog. We can’t wait to be part of your special day and create timeless memories that will be cherished for a lifetime!