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How many hours should I book my Wedding Photographer for..

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

So you are into planning your wedding day, and if you are not using a wedding planner you will have a lot of things you have not had to deal with before. From working out your budget to how many guest’s to have can be a daunting task.

I can't help you with everything on your list, but let me give you an insight on what to expect from the photography coverage.

Typically wedding photographers will offer ‘packages’ that will determine how many hours they will cover the wedding for and a broad breakdown of what elements of your day will be covered.

5-6 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

This is usually the least expensive package offered by photographers often considered by couples who are limiting their budget, however 5-6 hours of coverage is plenty for small weddings and elopements. If you are planning a more intimate wedding, say 20-50 guests, then 5-6 hrs would normally be fine. This amount of time works well if the ceremony and reception are at the same location.

What you will get is coverage of the important moments of the day, arrival, ceremony, cake cutting and first dance, and some group shots.

What you might miss out on is some of the finer shots of the day, details, floral decorations,getting ready, and your guests as reception goes into the evening.

Up to 8 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

An 8-hour package is great for a wedding up to 100 people, and the extra hours of coverage will usually allow the photographer to get additional images of you getting ready, some shots of the reception area, and the start of the reception. Remember a lot more coverage can be done if you are getting ready, and ceremony and reception are all at the same location. If you have 30 minutes travel between ceremony and reception this eats into the photography time.

If you really want some special memories, ie the first look, more unposed/candid guest shots then 8 hrs is going to be a minimum to achieve this.

8-10 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

If you want to make sure you have every moment and emotion covered for the day then at least 10 hours of coverage is right for you. Since the photographer will be with you most of the day, there is enough time to get all of the detail and preparation shots, first look, and guest and family catching up.

Once again, if preparation, ceremony and reception are at the same location, this amount of time will give you a great coverage of your day.

Don’t panic, if as in many cases preparation is taking place at another location away from the ceremony. Most photographers can bring along a 2nd photographer, so whilst one will cover the bride the other covers the groom. A 2nd photographer would normally be charged at an hourly rate for the time they are required.

Finally, make sure you look at a range of options, speak with the photographers who make your short list, most are very accommodating of your needs. Understand what you will be getting and when you receive your agreement/contract from the photographer check everything you want is listed and agreed on.

You might like to read another blog I have, ‘Why would I choose a Documentary Wedding Photographer’.

Good luck and thanks.

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