I’m sure you’re here because you’re engaged, and the wedding planning is well underway! (CONGRATULATIONS!) Most likely, you are probably in the beginning stages of vendor shopping, and there may be some confusion, specifically when it comes to wedding photography coverage and how much you need. Let me shed some light on the subject and help out wherever possible!
How much coverage do you need?
In addition to reviewing the potential photographers’ portfolios and learning if they will be a good fit for you and your wedding day, you also need to determine how long you’ll need them. Firstly, the best way to figure out how much coverage you need is to map out what is already scheduled, like the ceremony and reception start times and the locations of the events, and fill in the rest from there. Next, review the sample wedding day timelines. See how other couples have mapped out their day, and see which timeline resonates with you!
Four Hours of Coverage
Firstly, for discerning couples who relish the basics, four hours of coverage is ample time for an intimate ceremony. A super chic and private affair with no fuss and little organization required. Imagine this, a romantic ceremony in the park with about 15 guests in attendance, followed by a lovely mid-afternoon lunch.
- 1:00 – 2:30 PM: Couples Portraits Session
- 2:30 – 3 PM: Ceremony
- 3:00 – 3:30 PM: Portraits with Family/Guests
- 3:30 – 5:00 PM: Reception/Celebration
Six Hours of Coverage
Next, discerning couples requiring slightly more coverage will need six hours to document the day’s events. This amount of time will be ideal if you plan to have a more traditional nuptial ceremony and will allow more time for family and bridal party portraits. Time spent with your photographer should include documenting the additional details you want to capture as the day unfolds.
- 11:00 – 12:00 PM: Getting Ready Photos
- 12:30 – 1:30 PM: First Reveal/Couple’s Portrait Session – (more information on what a First Reveal is, here)
- 1:30 – 2:00 PM: Portraits with Wedding Party and Family
- 2:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Wedding Ceremony
- 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Reception – Cake Cutting, Speeches, Dinner/Dancing – your Photographer leaves while the festivities continue.
Eight (Or More) Hours of Coverage
And then, eight (or more) hours of wedding photography coverage would be sublime for discerning couples seeking the entire spirit of their fairytale event. From the first moment you begin preparations to the Grand Exit after the reception, 8 hours is the perfect amount of time to fully document and visually tell your love story.
- 10:00 – 11:00 AM: Getting Ready Photos
- 11:15 – 12:15 PM: First Reveal / Couples Portraits
- 12:30 – 1:00 PM: Wedding Party Portraits
- 1:15 – 2:00 PM: Family Portraits
- 2:30 – 3:00 PM: Ceremony
- 3:00 – 4:00 PM: Cocktail Hour (Couple’s/Wedding Party/Family Portraits – if you decide not to do a First Reveal)
- 4:00 – 6:00 PM: Reception – Grand Entrances, First Dance, Parent Dances, Cake Cutting, Speeches, Bouquet/Garter Toss, Guest Dancing, etc. – your Photographer leaves (at 6 PM) while the festivities continue.
A Few More Things to Consider
The sample timelines shown above provide a general idea of what to expect. Feel free to tailor any of them to suit your needs better. But here are a few more things to consider that may impact the wedding day: logistics, location, wedding party/family size, and open communication with your photographer.
Keeping your hair and makeup artists informed of the timeline also aids in a smooth transition. It is best practice to be 100% Camera Ready when your photographer arrives at your location.
Is everything taking place in one centralized location? Sure the wedding timeline may seem fine, but if you’re getting ready at a hotel 20 minutes away from the venue, you have to account for that travel time.
Wedding Party / Family Size
Depending on the size of your family or wedding party, the photographer may need additional time wrangling everyone for your portraits.
Communication with your Photographer
Lastly, open dialogue with your photographer regarding concerns about your timeline is essential. Creating a custom timeline with your photographer will maximize wedding photography coverage, and this communication will iron out the kinks and determine if you need additional time.
Your Story To Tell
The bottom line is that the amount of wedding photography coverage depends on how much of your story you plan to tell. As I’ve shown, there are a few solid starting points to help you figure out how much time you need for wedding photography coverage.
Some of my clients prefer to split their celebrations into two separate days; an intimate ceremony with a couple’s portrait session in the middle of the week and a reception dinner with the rest of their guests on the weekend. However they decide to commemorate the day uniquely, I’m all for it! I allow my clients to split their 8-Hour Photography Collection this way to alleviate the pressure of a long wedding day.
I hope the information I’ve provided offers some insight, and please feel free to comment below, follow me on Pinterest, or contact me if you have any additional questions. I’m eager to help where I can!
Thanks for stopping by!