If you only read one article before you book a wedding photographer – let it be this one. Since this blog post will help you gain clarity on an important issue that almost all couples eventually come across during their wedding planning process.
In fact, if you’re already in the process of planning your wedding day, you may have come across it already. And so you might be wondering how much time of coverage you should book with your wedding photographer.
I mean, most wedding photographers have multiple packages with different coverage options available. And it may not be easy to decide on the ideal number of hours to book.
On one hand, you’ll want to make sure you get all the magical, heartfelt, or goofy moments of your big day captured by your photographer.
So, the time you book should be enough to capture all the key moments of the day (and then some more) comfortably before your photographer leaves.
On the other hand, many couples have a wedding budget that limits their options. And with most photographers, more coverage time means investing more of your budget into immortalising your beautiful day.
As a result, many couples are forced into choosing which parts of the day they want to include in their limited timeframe – and which parts will have to be left out…
Don’t worry though! At the end of this blog post, I’ll share a special tip you can use to get a full day’s coverage of your wedding – without paying extra.
But first, let’s dive into how much photographic coverage you need for your wedding!
Typical wedding photography timeline
The best way to determine how many hours of coverage you really need to book for your wedding date is to imagine your entire day – and decide which parts you want documented, and which parts to leave out.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the most important parts of your wedding!
Getting ready photos & first looks
The getting ready part is one of the most exciting parts of your day!
It’s the calm before the storm (with the best “storm” in the world), when the bride and groom prepare themselves for the fairytale dream that’s about to come – either together, separately, or even with a small group of friends & family.
Between hair and makeup, dressing up, and transforming into a fairytale princess (and prince) – there’s always time for some light-hearted moments of nostalgia, anticipation, and fun!
You might find yourself shedding a few tears as you flip through old family albums, or popping a bottle of champagne with your best friends as they hype you up.
But the point is, that these very first moments of your special day – your anticipation, excitement, and joy as you transform from “young love” into “bride & groom” – deserve to be preserved.
Afterwards, you’re pumped & ready to get married – but hold on! If you’ve chosen to get ready separately, then that means you haven’t seen each other – yet…
So, let’s have a first look: a heartfelt & beautiful moment when you get to see each other for the first time on your wedding day. This powerful moment is just about the two of you and the love you share. This is when you’ll fully realise: “holy cow, we’re really doing this!”.
And your first look will be such an emotional moment, that you won’t fully know what to expect until you’ve experienced it yourself.
I’ve seen couples cry tears of joy while hugging each other tightly.
I’ve seen jaws drop as they take one look at each other and once again realise they’ve “hit the jackpot”.
And I’ve seen couples who take this time to just have fun together and be themselves before everything starts happening at once.
But no matter how you react to your first look…
…it will be magical, and I just know that you’ll lock your first look photos in your hearts forever.
Wedding ceremony photographs
When you hear the word “wedding”, the actual ceremony is probably the first thing that pops into your mind. After all, even though every wedding is different – all weddings have ceremonies in one way or another.
So, whether you decide to have a small, intimate wedding – or a large wedding with tons of guests – your ceremony will be a magical moment that will change the course of your lives forever.
It’s when you walk down the aisle, get married (officially), say your vows, and stand before each other (and your guests) as man & wife – for the first time ever. And no matter what type of wedding you’re going for, your ceremony will easily become the emotional highlight of your day.
So it makes sense that no photographer in their right minds would dare skip out on your wedding ceremony – even if you book their most basic package.
Portrait shots & family portraits
Once you’re married, you’ll probably want photos of everyone in your wedding party. All your guests, friends, and family members who you’ve known and loved for many-many years.
Depending on the number of guests you have, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and beyond. After all, everyone wants a special photo with the freshly wed couple – and it’s not easy to say “no” to Uncle Bob, is it?
Still, you don’t want group photos to drag on longer than absolutely necessary – even if you’re not on a tight schedule.
But your couples portraits, on the other hand, are a whole different story. For one, you might appreciate a breath of fresh air away from all the hustle & bustle of your wedding. Just the two of you (ideally during golden hour & sunset), having fun, while creating the most romantic & breathtaking photos of your lives.
These are the photos you might come across Instagram & Pinterest and say “wow”. These are the epic shots that will take your breath away (and draw a tear from your eye) even decades from now. And these are the moments when you get to forget everything & everyone – and just focus on being yourselves while embracing the present moment together.
For this reason, most of my couples just couldn’t get enough of their couples portraits at their weddings. An hour or two flew by so fast that they didn’t even realise it! And with all the breathtaking photos we’ve created together, I say it was worth it.
Wedding reception & cocktail hour photos
After you’re officially married, it’s time to celebrate and have fun with your guests!
It’s time for your first dance, wedding speeches, and cake cutting (or champagne drinking). Afterwards, expect your guests to hit the dance floor and show off their booze-inspired moves as a tribute to your eternal love (sounds weird to say it aloud, but it’s TRUE!).
If the music is on point and the vibes are good, then your reception can last a looong time.
And the longer it lasts, the more special & rare moments there will be. Some of these once-in-a-lifetime moments will be heartwarming, others will be goofy – but all of them will be authentic and truly real.
And after the party’s over, there’s still one last epic moment yet to come: it’s time for your guests to say goodbye. Okay, you can definitely have one last romantic dance – but then, they’ll send you off as a married couple.
Now, you have many options for your send off – you could have fireworks, sparklers, lanterns, candles, or even neon sticks.
But whatever you have, it will be epic. And don’t even take my word for it: almost all of my couples told me that their sendoff – their last few moments of their wedding day – was what truly left a lasting impression on them. It warmed their hearts, and crowned their epic day in the most epic way.
So even though most photographers won’t wait around long enough to capture your final – and arguably most epic – moments (and all the goofy & authentic moments that happen earlier), I believe you deserve one last wedding photo of your last wedding moment.
So how many hours of photography coverage do you need?
I guess you can say “it depends”…
But let me start off by saying that as a wedding photographer, I’m strongly against hourly packages.
I mean, your photographer is dedicated their entire day to capturing your love story anyways. And it just comes off as awkward to ask you – the couple – to pay extra if you happen to realise that you may need to add additional time on the spot.
Sure, at first glance, 8-10 hours may seem like a long time…
…but something unexpected can always come up. And besides, you shouldn’t stress about sticking to your exact timeline (or fitting into your budget). Not on your wedding!
And what if you do end up running out of time? What if you fall behind your schedule? Or what if you’ve just booked fewer hours to fit your budget?
Do you really want to miss out on your getting ready part of the day?
Are you prepared to rush your portraits & group photos just to get it over with?
Or wouldn’t you regret missing the end of your reception, your last dance, and your romantic sendoff?
THIS is exactly why I believe you deserve all the time in the world on your big day.
You deserve enough time to walk down the aisle gracefully – without rushing your steps due to some arbitrary time constraint. You deserve enough time to capture ALL the magic of your big day – from getting hair and makeup done all the way to the end of the reception – and not just some of it.
And this is exactly why I’m all for offering full-day coverage (up to 12+ hours) in all my packages – WITHOUT charging any extra for the extra hours (and ripping you off in the process).
To me, THIS is what it’s all about. Capturing your love story, authentically & fully – without compromise.
How to get full-day coverage without paying extra?
The secret is to book a photographer who offers full-day coverage in all their packages. Book someone who isn’t willing to accept your money for staying a few hours longer to document your entire love story. Book someone like me…
I mean, all my wedding photography packages – from the most basic one all the way to my luxury package – come with unlimited full-day coverage at no extra cost to you. With me, there’s no such thing as extra time – since you already have all the time there is to have.
After all, it makes sense that you shouldn’t have to worry about rushing your photos on your special day, doesn’t it?
So, click here to gain access to my wedding pricing guide – and book me in for your special date.
*Not to rush you, but I’m sure you realise that since not many photographers offer unlimited coverage in all their packages, I’m getting booked out super fast! Take the first step now to lock me in as your wedding photographer!