How Many Hours Of Wedding Photography Do I Need?

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    When picking a wedding package, this is one of the most typical concerns. 4 hours, 8 hours, 10 hours, 1/2 day, full day, all day, etc. are just a few of the alternatives. But what does this mean, exactly? Can you explain the distinction between all-day and full-day protection? A apparently straightforward question can get convoluted very fast.

    Exactly how much wedding photography coverage you'll need is a question I'll answer in this piece. When asked a number of questions about the wedding, "that depends" is a common response. Every couple and wedding has different requirements, so it's impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all response to most wedding-related concerns.

    In the midst of wedding preparations, you may find yourself wondering about things you have never considered before. You are being asked to become an overnight expert on all things related to events, from knowing what flowers are in season to how much money to set aside for decorations. Thus, we wanted to provide you with a reference today for when you inevitably find yourself wondering, " many hours do we need to book our photographer for?"

    When discussing photography coverage, it's important to define what "continuous" coverage means. Photographers often do not take multiple sets of photos at a wedding unless prior arrangements have been made. For instance, if you purchase an 8-hour package, photography won't be provided from noon to four, then resumed from seven to eleven at night.

    The hours of coverage included in your photographer's package should be clearly stated. If you purchase an 8-hour bundle, you will get service for that length of time. But what exactly does your photographer mean when they say they'll be there for "half a day" or "whole day"? My greatest recommendation is that you not make any assumptions. Photographers often disagree on the meanings of these phrases. Coverage for a complete day can be interpreted in a variety of ways; some people think 8 hours is sufficient, while others think 12 is more appropriate. It's a lot to take in, but "all day" protection must mean something, right?


    Getting Ready Photos (General Time Allotted – 1-2 Hours)

    During their all-day coverage, most of the couples we've worked with have asked for get-ready shots. The difference between needing one hour and two hours for this section of the day depends on a few different circumstances. If you only want photos of the bride getting ready, this should take about an hour, giving you time to capture the end of makeup, the end of hair, and any cute moments in between (like pictures of the bride's friends wearing the matching robes she gave them). This includes having your mother help you put on your dress, your veil, your shoes, and any last-minute jewelry. In essence, this is fairly modest and what the vast majority of our clients have requested when it comes to these photographs. If you have four or more bridesmaids and you want images of them all getting ready, including hair, makeup, and getting dressed, this portion of the day will likely take at least two hours. If you're strapped for time on your wedding day, one option is to have your photographer arrive as you're doing your hair. They didn't include the men because we normally travel in pairs and the men usually take 20 minutes or less to get dressed, so their preparation time falls inside the allotted window for the women. Also, They can take use of this opportunity to photograph the venue's decorations, such as the altar, reception hall, flowers, and other details. However, if you're working with a freelance wedding photographer, keep in mind that they'll only be able to be in one spot at a time, so it may take them longer to capture everything you'd like them to. Arriving early to capture the details of the venue, the bride and her attendants getting dressed, and the groom and his party at the reception would all be good examples. Our ability to work together as a pair means that we can often complete multiple tasks at once, which is a huge time saver for our partners.

    Getting Ready

    The time of day when people usually do their hair and cosmetics is now. Your typical company consists of your closest friends and relatives, as well as your wedding party. You could have a few cocktails if you like. This is a nice, chill time of day since you get to spend time with people you care about.

    From the viewpoint of the photographer, many happy newlyweds cherish the images captured during the preparations for the big day. During this time, it is customary to exchange presents, and the resulting photographs frequently depict touching displays of affection. Also around this time, we'll take some artistic shots of your details (wedding dress, rings, shoes, etc.). Once you're all dolled up, you'll have plenty of time for stunning bridal photographs. The sum of these photographs will enrich the narrative potential of your wedding in a number of ways.

    Pre- Ceremony Photos (General Time Allotted – 1-2 Hours)

    You can take pictures of the bride and her attendants, the groom and his groomsmen, the entire wedding party, the family, the officiant, the first prayer, the bridal portrait, the groom's portrait, or any combination of these. This would be a perfect time to get some of the bridal party photos taken before the ceremony. Moving more people around and taking separate photographs with each member of the bridal party might add significant time to these if the bridal party is large. These typically don't take more than half an hour if your bridal party consists of four bridesmaids or groomsmen or fewer. If there are five people or more, the photo shoot could take 30–45 minutes, depending on the quantity of props and the artistic direction taken. It could take 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how often you have to rearrange things and how many people you're housing.

    If you don't have far to travel, a quick first glance shouldn't take more than ten to fifteen minutes. However, this is a perfect opportunity to get some romantic photographs of the happy couple. If the moment is suitable and the lighting is nice, take some couple photographs immediately after the ceremony. It's recommended to set aside an additional 20-30 minutes for the couples photographs at this time, depending on how mobile you are and whether or not you want others to view you. This is also a favourite time for many couples to take separate photographs of the bride and groom. Plan on spending at least 15-30 minutes on these, again depending on the locations you choose, the time spent going between each point, changing postures, and actually shooting. If you're like most couples, you'll want to get as many of them out of the way before the ceremony begins, so knowing ahead of time which ones you absolutely must have will help you organize your schedule. The topic of family photographs will be discussed in the (post-ceremony photos section)

    The Ceremony

    The ceremony needs no explanation; it symbolizes the culmination of your commitment to spend the rest of your lives with your spouse.

    From the viewpoint of the photographer, the ceremony itself and the accompanying moments are what make your wedding special. It is suggested that all couples think about having a "wireless wedding." Guests at a "unplugged" wedding are not permitted to record or photograph the event. Numerous wedding photos have been ruined by either a camera phone's flash or an inattentive guest who jumped in front of the photographer to snap a blurry selfie. Photos from the ceremony, even if everyone stays sitting, will be marred by people holding their arms in the air to get that perfect shot of the award being presented.

    In Between Time (General Time Allotted – 15-30 Minutes)

    There will always be some downtime between the pre-ceremony photos and the ceremony itself, even if you've meticulously planned everything. There is always a little delay between the group shots and the ceremony, usually lasting 15 minutes on a slow day and 30 minutes on a busy day. This is perfect since it gives your guests time to arrive, the wedding photographers time to get set up, and you time to put the finishing touches on your hair, makeup, and attire.

    We've found that most of the ceremonies we've helped plan last between twenty and thirty minutes. At the bare minimum, this is when no one other than the officiant, bride, and groom make any speeches. This extra time is necessary if you are planning on having family members read, church members sing, etc. Wedding ceremonies such as the sand ceremony and the knot ceremony require additional time on the big day.

    Recessional & Post-Ceremony In-Between Time (General Time Allotted 10-30 Minutes)

    It takes about 5-10 minutes for the recessional at a typical wedding (120 guests, according to Shaking hands and giving hugs to guests at a wedding reception can take up to fifteen to twenty minutes, and the bride and groom may choose to release guests in groups after greeting them. I use the term "in between time" again because, typically, there is a brief pause of 5-10 minutes between the time it takes for the bride and groom to return to their original positions without appearing to ignore anyone, and the time it takes to gather the family members you want to be present for the family group photos.

    Post Ceremony Family Photos (general time allotted 30-60 minutes)

    Using the same benchmark of a wedding with 120 guests, you can expect to spend about 30 minutes on all the family portrait combinations you'll want to take. To be sure, there are a few exceptions to this rule. These photo montages may be completed in around 20 minutes with proper preparation and planning. These can easily take up to an hour or more depending on the size of your family if you want to include just about every member of the family you can think of, some of the non-family guests, and many possible combos with the same or different people. Jenny and I have found that they take about 30 minutes to complete at the majority of weddings.

    Reception: (General Allotted Time 3-4 hours)

    Now it's party time! Traditionally, the wedding party will be introduced and more often then not, the bride and groom go directly into the first dance (total time 5-10 minutes). If you decide to do a father and daughter dance as well as a mother and son dance, factor in another 5-10 minutes for these at some point in the evening. Also, at this point you will have likely worked up an appetite! Try to budget around 20-40 minutes for yourselves to eat depending on if it's being served to you or if you've chosen to go with a buffet-style wedding. Another option is food bars, which have become really popular as of late where you allow your couples to build their own fajitas or create their own omelets. These are super fun! Let's say you've danced for 10 minutes, and eaten for 20. You are now likely down to 2.5 hours left for your 8 hours of coverage. Somewhere in that last half hour, you will likely have some fun with a cake cutting, bouquet toss, and possibly a garter toss or some fun wedding traditions like the shoe game or other unique variations we've seen along the way. Now it's time to dance and mingle. Usually, around 1.75 – 2 hours will be spent covering candid moments and dance floor moments during your reception. I say 1.75 because you may be having a special exit or you may have budgeted in some time with your photographer to go outside at night and do some fun off-camera flash shots!  

    Just the Basic Coverage

    To give you an idea, the average wedding takes approximately 6 hours, but you wouldn't believe how quickly it goes by while you're busy running about greeting guests and, you know, being married. Choose this if you're having a small, intimate wedding with a short reception that will all take place in the same place. For larger weddings, it is sometimes possible to cram everything into 6 hours. If I arrive late, I might be able to make it through dinner, but if I arrive early, I might miss the reception.

    6 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

    It's not just for low-income couples because this is the photographer's cheapest package. For intimate ceremonies like elopements, a six-hour time slot is more than enough. There aren't as many guests or photo ops to deal with during a tiny wedding, so the day goes by quickly. However, if both the ceremony and the reception are held at the same venue, then 6 hours of coverage is quite reasonable.

    Things to consider

    • Six hours of airtime meaning there probably won't be time for images of you getting dressed or of you posing in front of a custom-designed backdrop.
    • However, everything that happens will be documented (portraits, ceremony, family photos, first dance, cake cutting)
    • With only 6 hours of coverage, the party ends before it really gets going, so once the dancing starts, there probably won't be too many pictures from the reception.

    Medium Length Coverage

    The most popular choice is medium coverage, which typically provides 8 hours of coverage. It's a great way for couples to have a taste of everything without having to commit to anything for the entire day. With 8 hours, you'll have plenty of time to take pictures before the ceremony, during the ceremony, and during the reception. If the couple wants every element of the day documented, if there are many locations, or if there is a special send-off at the conclusion of the night, then we will recommend extra hours.

    8 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

    The average wedding has between 100 and 150 guests, so an 8-hour package should be plenty. Those extra two hours will allow the photographer to catch the completion of your preparations, some detailed images of the reception venue, and the beginning of the dance party.

    Things to think about

    • We advise at least 8 hours of covering if you are dead bent on a first look.
    • While 8 hours may seem excessive, it is ideal for weddings if the ceremony and reception are held in the same place. You don't want to waste 30–40 minutes on your photographer having to pack up her/his gear and drive to (and set back up at) a second site in order to get some getting ready, detail, and dance images because the extra 2 hours aren't enough.

    Full-Day Coverage

    For me, a full day of covering is anything from ten to eleven hours. This plan is ideal for laid-back pairs who desire more natural photos and a less tense experience overall. alternately, if everything is happening in various places. This spreads out the time we have available, allowing us to go on trips or just rest without feeling rushed.

    10 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

    Don't want to stress out about not getting the perfect wedding photos on Pinterest? Then you should aim for at least 10 hours of coverage. Since the photographers will be present for the majority of the day, there will be plenty of time to acquire all of the necessary detail and preparation pictures, as well as a first look (if you want to do one). In addition, the wedding party and family photographs won't have to be rushed in order to make it to the reception on time for supper and dancing.

    Things to think about

    • We advise booking at least 10 hours of coverage if the wedding ceremony and reception are taking place in different places. The photographer will have ample time to arrive to the second site and take all the necessary photographs.
    • Are you making an impressive exit? Ten hours usually isn't enough to have a photographer present till the very end of the reception unless you're ready to sacrifice coverage in the earlier hours.

    12 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

    There are a few scenarios in which having coverage for 12 hours would be beneficial to you and your partner. This quantity of coverage is almost required if there is a very large wedding party, and it's more than enough time to record all the events of the day (bridal parties of 12 or more).

    Things to think about

    • We normally advise a minimum of 12 hours of coverage for a wedding with a large bridal party and extended family. Why? When everyone is in the mood to celebrate, it can be challenging to capture and maintain their attention. It can also be tricky to track down the correct people at the right time.
    • It would be a shame if all of the design aspects weren't captured if you're really into the design and/or have the money to make all of those Pinterest inspiration ideas come to life. We recommend 12 hours of coverage to give your wedding signage, personalized cocktails, and lounges the full spotlight they deserve.

    What Other Factors Influence the Time You Will Need for Wedding Photography?

    We learned that taking wedding photos often takes between 8 and 12 hours. However, there are more variables that can affect the time required.

    • What's the guest count for the wedding?
    • We was wondering how many people make up their
      We was wondering how many people make up their If many settings are needed, how many do you anticipate? (Does it take place in a church, or in the venue hosting the reception?)
    • Are you going to need to set aside time for driving? (From the site of the ceremony to the place of the reception?)

    How many hours you need a photographer for depends heavily on how large your wedding party and family are. Assuming a "average" size wedding party (three attendants on each side) and families, the timelines listed here should be used as a guide (parents, 1-2 siblings and grandparents).

    Every wedding day is special in its own way. Your wedding day is unique because of the many personal touches and rituals that have meaning for you. All of the things I've said are things I've seen and done in my role as a wedding photographer over the past nine years. I appreciate that if your photography budget is tight, you might not be able to hire your dream photographer for as many hours as you'd like.

    It's important to remember that your wedding photographer isn't a magician who can make more time appear on the big day. You don't want to crowd all your important activities into a tiny room (like the evil stepmother in Cinderella trying to fit her big feet into the glass shoe). Doing so can just lead to anxiety and irritation on the big day, something no one wants.

    Every one of the brides and grooms may rest assured that we will provide 110% on their wedding day. This is another reason why We provide my wedding couples detailed timetables months in advance of the big day. If We sincerely advise that we extend our coverage by an extra hour or two, it is not because We want to pad my paycheck. To put it simply, They know that if we try to cram too much into your wedding day's schedule, important moments will be lost. Whether we're attempting to decide if an extra hour of coverage would be ideal, or anything else, open and honest communication is always the key to success.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Wedding Photography?

    While one photographer should do a great job at a regular wedding, two photographers can capture more angles, and they also can be at two different places at the same time. Like one is shooting ladies getting ready while the other one is with guys. Or one can shoot details of the ballroom while another shots portraits.

    An 8-hour package is usually enough time for an average-size wedding, and the extra coverage will allow the photographer to capture the final part of getting ready, some detail shots of the reception space, and the start of the dance party.

    This is because with a smaller wedding or elopement, there aren't as many moving parts, so to speak. With less family to photograph, a smaller bridal party (if there is one), and less happening, 6 hours of coverage is usually the perfect amount of time and it won't feel shortchanged.

    Your typical wedding reception runs about 4-5 hours—plenty of time for cocktails, dinner, toasts and, of course, dancing! Follow this foolproof wedding reception timeline to ensure a smooth, fun-filled evening of celebration for you and your guests.

    In terms of salary, wedding photographers earn range from $40,000 to 60,000 per year according to Payscale. This is significantly higher than the earnings of general photographers, which are closer to $35,000 per year. On the high-end, approximately 10 percent of wedding photographers make more than $62,000 per year.

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