January 27, 2023
Do you hear that? It’s the wedding bells chiming in the distance as you wait for the biggest moments of your whole life. Maybe you’re newly engaged and ready to start looking for your dream wedding photographer. Firstly, I highly recommend checking out this blog and this blog before deep diving into your wedding photographer search. Fast forward and you’ve got your eyes set on someone amazing and talented. The next question you ask yourself is “how many hours should I book my wedding photographer?”. This a completely valid, normal, and helpful question! Discussing with your wedding photographer will always be the best way to go. However, if you’re in need of some guidance, here are some helpful and essential tips… coming from a wedding photographer.
Determine Your Guest Count | How Many People Are Attending?
Firstly, you’re going to need to know how many people are attending. While you may not think that the number of guests attending your wedding can influence your photography coverage, it totally does! The most influential numbers will be the number of people in your wedding party along with family members attending. This will dramatically impact the time spent on wedding party portraits and family portraits. In turn, this may shorten or extend the hours needing your wedding photographer.
If you’re planning on having a bit of a smaller more intimate wedding, you’re much more likely to get away with booking a 6-hour wedding package. It gives you the perfect amount of time to capture couples’ portraits and prioritize your wedding party and family. For a more average-sized wedding, I highly recommend anticipating having your wedding photographer there for 8 hours minimum. If you’re having a larger guest count/wedding party size I would lean more toward 10-hour photography coverage.
What Are Your Priorities For Your Wedding Photos?
Next, you’re going to want to determine your priorities for your wedding photos. Basically, what are you wanting to prioritize during your wedding day? If your priorities include having every moment documented from beginning to end, you’re looking at more toward a 10-hour day. This will give your wedding photographer enough time to capture getting-ready moments, portraits, the ceremony, and the entire reception before it’s time to close the curtains.
Maybe you’re someone who only prioritizes the morning and the ceremony. But don’t mind your wedding photographer leaving halfway through the reception. You may be able to get away with an 8-hour package in this case. Again, this is all dependent on what you and your partner prioritize.
Knowing Your Timeline
This is one of the most important aspects that not many couples take into consideration when looking for a wedding photographer. First off, if you’ve read this blog, you would know how important it is to establish a wedding timeline. It helps keep everyone on track and establish the perfect amount of coverage for your wedding day. Typically, when I hop on a consult call with a potential couple, I like to give a rough draft of a wedding timeline. This is to help determine their photography coverage based on what they prioritize being photographed on their wedding day.
What it all boils down to is making sure that you have an idea of what your timeline is going to be. Details such as if you’re planning on getting ready at different locations, or if you have to travel far for portraits all can play a determining factor in how many hours to book your wedding photographer.
Wedding Photography Hours Breakdown
Below is just a small summary of different hourly packages and what they could include on your wedding day. Keep in mind that the best way to know the actual hours of photography needed for your wedding day is to talk to your wedding photographer. However, this will help give you an idea of what type of coverage you may be looking at to best prepare.
6 Hours of Wedding Photography Coverage:
Having 6 hours of wedding photography coverage is best for smaller/intimate weddings or elopements.
A lot of photographers will offer this package for couples who are having more intimate weddings or elopements. When deciding to have a smaller wedding/elopement, there aren’t as many components as with a wedding with more guests + parties involved. Fewer people in your wedding party, and fewer family to photograph for portraits, means less time that you need to hire your wedding photographer to be there. 6 hours of wedding photography coverage gives you the perfect amount of time for this wedding size, without feeling rushed.
8 Hours of Wedding Photography Coverage:
Having 8 hours of wedding photography coverage is the average amount for normal sized-weddings and most of the wedding day covered.
If you’re having an average-sized wedding (between 80-150 guests), then the 8-hour wedding photography coverage may be just what you’re looking for. 8 hours of photography coverage is typically the standard time that most photographers would give for a wedding this size. It gives you the chance to document the day, from beginning to end without rushing. Please keep in mind, that your wedding photography coverage also includes commuting time! If you’re doing a lot of traveling between locations throughout the day, this can influence your photography coverage.
10 Hours of Wedding Photography Coverage:
10 hours of wedding photography coverage are for larger weddings and multiple different locations being photographed.
Remember when I mentioned that commuting can play a major role in your photography coverage? That applies to 10 hour packages as well! Commute times between multiple locations play a major role in how many hours of wedding photography coverage you have. You also need to keep in mind that traffic and accidents happen, so accounting for that as well is super important.
These packages are best for couples who are planning on having a ton of guests and family photographed. Also, if you have a larger wedding party, then this package may be the one your wedding photographer will lean towards.
How Many Hours Should I Book My Wedding Photographer?
At the end of the day, the most important thing is communication with your wedding photographer. This will give you the best idea as to how many hours you should book your wedding photographer. Your wedding photographer is there to capture the moment, not stand there and do nothing! So when they give you an estimate of the time needed for your wedding photography, I highly encourage you to take this into consideration. You want your wedding photographer to take their time and document the day true to you, and not in a rush. Basically, communication is key!