Q & A - How long do I actually need a wedding photographer for?



7/10/20243 min read

How much photography coverage do you need on your wedding day?

So your planning your wedding day, and every photographer you look at has a set number hours in their packages. But how do you pick how long to have a photographer for on your day? How long is too long? Well lets have a chat about it and see if we cant help you figure it out!

First I suggest putting together a rough timeline of your day.
Be sure to include all the key moments throughout the day, like the below.
Times for getting ready, Ceremony start time, ceremony end time, reception start time, first dance/cutting the cake, reception end.

Next you and your partner need to decide what's most important for you both to have captured on your day. The ceremony and family photos are a given, but just about everything else is personal preference.
Do you REALLY want getting ready photos, wearing your matching PJs, and hanging out with your best friends?
Are you super excited to get party photos, showing exactly how wild the dancefloor got?
Or maybe you don't care about dancing photos, but you want the first dance, and the cake cutting captured.

Figure out what matters most the most to both of you.
This will change for every couple, and for every wedding day. From there you can look at your timeline and say to have photos of everything we want, we will need about X hours of coverage.

To help, here a recent timeline from a wedding I captured.
Note - this couple was a bride, and groom, so the language in this section will reflect that.

General Timeline of the day.
12pm - Hair and make up arrive Brides house
2.20pm - Bride leave for ceremony
2.30pm - Groom arrive church
3pm - Ceremony start
3.30ish - Ceremony finish - family photos etc.
4pm - Finish at church then wedding party photos at gardens
5pm - Arrive at bar for drink/photos
5.30pm - Reception entrance (No reception coverage required).

Their priority was the ceremony, with fun photos with their wedding party before the reception. They wanted a little bit of getting ready captured, but it wasn't as much a priority for them. They also didn't want reception coverage at all, they were happy to have guest snaps through the night to capture it for them.

This is what our end timeline looked like for the day - this couple went with a 4 hour package, and we added about 20 min because of travel times.

1.20 - Arrive Groom Prep (20 min for photos)
1.40 - Arrive Bride prep (40 min for photos)
2.20 - Leave for ceremony (20 min drive)
3pm - Ceremony start
~3.30 - Ceremony finish. Congrats and candid's with guests
~3.45 - Family + Group photos (20 min for photos)
~ 4.05 - Finish at Hilton - Leave for Botanical Gardens (10 min)
~4.15 - Arrive at Botanical Gardens - Conservatory. (40 min for photos)
~4.55 - Finish at Botanical Gardens - Leave for Stratford (10 min)
~5.05 - Arrive at the Fox for quick drink
5.30 - Reception Entrance
5.40 - Photographer Leaves

They ended up with at least a couple of photos from each part of the day, with more from the parts that meant the most to them. Spending time with their bridal party, and each other were the most important to them - so that became our focus for the day.

So - does this help?
Hopefully from here you can sit down with your partner, and figure out exactly what you want captured on your day. Then put together a rough timeline, and figure out how long you'll need a photographer for.
Another little tip - although most photographers have set packages, if you LOVE someone's work, and want a slightly different package to what they offer, just reach out. Most of us are happy to talk about custom packages, or adjusting coverage to suit.
I hope this helped you to figure out how many hours of coverage will suit your day! Have a great time planning your wedding.

Until next time lovers x