Whenever I ask my potential clients how much coverage they’re looking for, I want to say 9 times out of 10 the answer is unanimous: “Oh… we didn’t think of that.” Figuring how much wedding photography coverage you need for wedding day can be a bit of a struggle. It’s probably a question you didn’t even know you’d be asking yourself. If you still don’t know how many hours are right for you, keep reading! I’m going to be going over a typical wedding day to help you figure out how much coverage is right for you.

A quick note! No two weddings are the same. Similar, yes, but each day has their own moving parts so do keep this in mind as you’re reading through this blog.

I first want to touch on a few things you should know about the hours you have hired your photographer for, regardless of however many hours that is.

  • Hours of coverage, no matter how many, are continuous. If you’ve booked an 8-hour package, your coverage will be from 1:00 – 9:00, for example. You cannot do four hours here, a two-hour break, and then another four. It just doesn’t work like that. Sorry!
  • The standard 8-hour package might not be what’s best for you. I offer additional hours a la carte so that you can customize your own package – more hours, or less hours, whatever suits your needs.
  • I always allow my couples to add on extra hours after everything has been booked. This could look like adjusting the contract before the wedding date itself, or adding an hour on the day-of and being billed after the fact. I will say that it is cost effective to just book the higher package from the get go rather than piecing hours together as you go –be liberal with the hours you book!
  • Adding a second photographer (if not included in the package) is a great way to make sure you get the most out of your hours. Typically, packages with second shooters receive ~30% more images than those that don’t book a second photographer. While I’m with the bride (typically) the second photographer is able to be with your other half as they get ready. For the remainder of the day, the second photographer will have eyes anywhere I don’t.
6 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

For a more traditional wedding, 6 hours of wedding photography coverage is the smallest amount of time I would recommend. Depending on what time of the year you’re getting married will determine what time of the day your coverage runs from, but I would guess ~2:00 – 8:00 is standard.

6 hours of wedding photography coverage would typically include:

  • The tail end of getting ready
  • The ceremony
  • Family portraits
  • Wedding party portraits
  • Newlywed portraits
  • Grand entrance, first dance, a few speeches

6 hours almost always never covers all of the reception events. If you are opting for 6 hours, I recommend everything be done in one place (getting ready, ceremony, and reception) and that you do all of the important events right off the hop, if you can structure it so. Alternatively, you can opt for no preparation/detail photos and have your photographer stay longer on the reception side of things.  

If you’re having a smaller, simple wedding and aren’t too keen on the details being documented beforehand, 6 hours is likely for you.

8 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

Most of my couples book an eight-hour package. 8 hours of wedding photography coverage is plenty of time for a standard sized wedding (think 100 – 150 guests), and the additional two hours of coverage will allow your wedding photographer to capture couple preparations, details of the ceremony space, and stay until the dance floor opens.

8 hours of wedding photography coverage would typically include:

-      30 – 60 minute of getting ready/detail shots

-      First look (a major timeline saver)

-      The ceremony

-      Family portraits

-      Wedding party portraits

-      Newlywed portraits (you can even venture offsite for this because you have the time!)

-      All reception events

-      15 – 30 minutes of dance floor

Remember, it all boils down to what you want out of your day and where your priorities lie. I have found in some cases 8 hours is plenty of time to get detail shots and stay until dancing, but then in other cases (say when the couple wants to travel 20 minutes for portraits) 8 hours feels tight. Think about what is important to you on your wedding day, how much time will be dedicated to travelling (if at all) and how to best maximize the time you have with your photographer.

10 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

This is the ultimate, won’t miss a moment package. I especially recommend these extra hours if you’re getting ready, ceremony, and reception are all taking place in different locations. 10 hours is a healthy budget that factors in travel time and time to get all of the shots you’re after.

10 hours of wedding photography coverage would typically include:

  • Detail photos of invites, accessories, florals, etc.
  • 1 hour of getting ready photos
  • First look (a major timeline saver)
  • The ceremony
  • Family portraits
  • Wedding party portraits
  • Newlywed portraits (you can even venture offsite for this because you have the time!)
  • All reception events
  • 30 minutes of dance floor
  • A grand exit (if you’re having one)

If it’s important that your entire day is documented, go for 10 hours. I would also recommend 10 hours of wedding photography coverage for any couple that is concerned about being stressed for time or any potential timeline mishaps (because they do happen)!

At the end of the day…

Every couple wants to have a stress-free day. You don’t want to feel rushed – your dinner, your speeches, nor your photos. I always recommend budgeting for more time than you think. Imagine you opt for 7 hours but the coverage is running out before a special dance? No way. Be liberal in your time wedding photography coverage allowance. You’ll be so glad you did.  

Thinking you might need a customized package or help with your wedding day timeline? Let’s connect!