One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to wedding photography is how many hours of coverage do I need? It's a valid question! You want to make sure your whole wedding is covered but since this is your first time planning a wedding, you don't really know how long that takes. Well have no fear! I'm here to help!
Eight hours of coverage is usually the standard when it comes to all day wedding coverage. Eight hours is enough time to capture the getting ready details all the way through the main reception events. If you are having your ceremony and reception at one venue, then eight hours is certainly enough for you! If you are having your ceremony and reception at different venues, as long as the travel time isn't too long, then eight hours is enough for you too! However, if your venues are far apart or if you are having a longer break between the ceremony and reception or maybe you want to visit multiple portrait locations, then you may need a few more hours of coverage.
Let's break down the different parts of the day below to give you an even better idea!
Getting Ready: 1-1.5 hours
When it comes to the getting ready portraits, you will want to wait to have your photographer arrive until you are almost done getting ready. No one wants images where their hair and makeup isn't done! Having your photographer arrive around one to one and a half hours before you will be done getting ready will allow your photographer to get images of all of your details as well as some images of you getting ready. For the gals, getting into your dress can take a half hour in addition to the getting ready detail time. This allows time to get you in your dress but also to get some pretty images of you and your bridesmaids as well.
First Look: 15 minutes
If you are planning on doing a first look (where you will do a reveal and see each other before the ceremony) then you will want to allow around fifteen minutes for this. These go by a lot faster than you think! Fifteen minutes is enough time for the big reveal and for you both to bask in each other's love and really look at each other's attire.
Couple Portraits: 45 minutes- 1 hour
Regardless of if you are doing a first look or not, you will want to allow around forty-five minutes to one hour for these. Your couple portraits are the ones that you will print and hang on your wall and really utilize. All of your wedding day images will be important and you will love and cherish them but the couple portraits are the ones you will utilize the most! Forty-five minute to an hour will allow your photographer to get lots of different images of the two of you with different backgrounds and poses.
Wedding Party Portraits: 30-45 minutes
Your wedding party is made up of your closest friends and you will certainly want to get images with everyone! You will want to get an image with each of your attendants, you fiancé and each of their attendants, you an all your attendants, your fiancé and all of their attendants, and everyone together. Depending on the size of your wedding party, thirty to forty-five minutes will be sufficient to get all of these with several different angles and poses.
Ceremony: 45 minutes- 1.25 hours
Your ceremony time will vary. Most couples either will have a basic more straightforward ceremony that lasts twenty to thirty minutes. Other couples may have a full Catholic ceremony or a longer wedding that takes around one hour. Your photographer will be there to capture the whole ceremony as well as some images of your guests arriving and getting excited for you to tie the knot. Forty-five minutes to one hour twenty-five minutes should be sufficient for this.
Family Portraits: 30 minutes
You will want to allow around thirty minutes for your family portraits. This is enough time for around fifteen different family groupings. This will allow your photographer time to pose everyone and take a few different angles of each grouping.
Reception: 2-4 hours
You will want your photographer to be there for all of your main reception events (first dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, cake cutting, bouquet/garter toss, etc) and around thirty minutes to an hour of open dancing. Your photographer doesn't need to be there until the very end of your reception. You will be able to have a good representation of your day and capture all of the fun within the first few hours. Depending on your timeline, most of these events will happen within two to three hours of your reception.
Sunset Portraits: 10-15 minutes
Sunset portraits normally happen during the reception and that is where you will go out at sunset and get a few more couple portraits with the pretty sunset light. These go by nice and fast so you can get back into the reception and continue partying so ten to fifteen minutes is enough for these or you can add in more time!
There you go! A break down of what to expect time wise for your wedding day! Hopefully this will help you when you start thinking about how many hours of coverage you need. All of my packages come with eight hours of coverage but you can always add on additional hours as needed.