How Many Hours of Wedding Photography Do I Really Need?

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“How many hours of Wedding Day Photography coverage do I really need?”


This is one of life’s great questions.  On par with “Why is the sky blue?” “Who’s going to stop me?” and my favorite, “Will you marry me?” 


In today’s post, I’m going to give you some amazing tips for determining how much photography coverage you need at your wedding! Lots of questions regarding wedding planning, are impossible to answer with a cookie cutter approach because every every couple, and every wedding has unique needs. It’s why I help design a custom Wedding Day Timeline for all of my Dovely Brides!


So Many Choices

Wedding Photography coverage can be especially tricky, so I really try to keep it quite simple, so that everyone from Grandma to the flower girl knows exactly what’s included. 


Many photographers offer packages in the ranges of 6, 8 or 10+ hours.  Some offer “half-day” or “full-day.”  “All day coverage” may mean 12 hours to one photographer, but only 8 hours to another.  Industry standard for most wedding day coverage is 8 hours. It’s important to ask specific questions when finding a photographer, so you know exactly what you’re getting.  


Your Wedding Day

Unfortunately, wedding days do not operate like well-oiled machines.  There are so many moving parts and factors that contribute to the time available during the day, beginning with what the couple wants photographed.

  • Will there be getting ready and Pinterest-worthy detail shots?

  • Will there be a First Look Session?

  • Will we take couple’s portraits in multiple locations?

  • How big are the  families?

99.9% of every wedding I have ever photographed has run behind schedule… and almost always, “late time,” “rest time,” and “snack time” were not accounted for in the planning process.  

  • Did hair and makeup take longer than expected?

  • Did a groomsman get lost on the way to the reception?

  • Did the bride get car sick on the way to the reception and need hours and hours to recover? (yes, this actually happened!)

  • Are the bride and groom having too much fun dancing to make toasts?  

  • Is there time allotted time for driving/walking/golf-carting to different shooting locations?

Even though most couples feel that 6 hours of coverage “should be plenty”, 8 hours of coverage is the standard, and planning more will help to account for any unforeseen circumstances.  


Simple Wedding Photography Coverage

I define Wedding Coverage in terms of “Continuous Coverage.”  That means that I, the photographer, arrive at our agreed upon time, and work the agreed upon hours, continuously, until the time is up.  For example, when a bride hires me for 8 hours, and wants me to arrive at 11:00 am to shoot her “getting ready” photos, I begin at 11:00 am and leave at 7:00 pm.  I always check with my couples before leaving to ask if they would like additional time, especially if there’s something we didn’t capture – a Grand Exit, or photos at sunset, for example.  


I understand that this is the biggest day of every couple’s life, and they want it to be perfect.  With a little planning on the front end, and clear understating of the end goal, I’m able to plan a custom Wedding Day Timeline for all of my couples, to make sure we capture everything, in the right amount of time!



April 25, 2019

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