If you plan to hire a wedding planner, they can help you build out the timeline for your wedding. Historically, most weddings are between six and ten hours long. So, when you start to research photographers, you’ll find pricing around most packages starts with a set amount of time. Here are some ways to determine just how much coverage you will need and what you may want to consider if you’re on a tight budget.

Planning for one event location

Every photographer may have a different version or order for each of these events, but this tends to be the general timeline for weddings that take place in one location (or in very close proximity to) with a first look.

Getting ready with the bride and/or groom - 2 hours

If you are set on having photos taken while you’re getting ready, then I would add at least an hour to your schedule. This ensures that both the bride and the groom are able to be captured. If the groom is not at the same location, you’ll want to make sure you account for travel/walking time.

First look or first touch with couple portraits - 30 minutes

In a private location, we’ll capture the reactions of seeing each other for the first time before the ceremony begins. If you choose to do so, this is also the time we’ll have the father of the bride see his daughter. After the first look, you’ll spend some time capturing some photos of you as a couple in a few picturesque locations around your venue.

Wedding party photos - 30 minutes

After everyone is finished getting ready, we’ll photograph the bride with her bridesmaids and the groom with his groomsmen. Then, one photo of the entire wedding party. If you plan to skip the first look with the bride and groom, but still want photos of the entire wedding party, then plan to build in at least 30 minutes to do this later on in the evening - usually during cocktail hour or before the reception begins.

Portrait shots with immediate family - 15 minutes

This can be done very quickly if you have a list of your families ready to go. I always encourage couples to think about this ahead of time, particularly to make sure we include any immediate family members who might have traveled from out of town.

Ceremony - 30 minutes

During this time, your photographer will take several angles while your nuptials are happening. Because your photographer may be bouncing around during that time, let your photographer know if you plan to do anything special during your ceremony. This way, they are prepared to capture it in the best way.

Reception - up to 4 hours

At the reception is when first dances, the cake-cutting ceremony and dancing takes place - lots of it. If you don’t need the photographer to stay for the entire reception, you may not need any more than six hours of coverage.

With all included above, that’s around eight hours of photo coverage and one photographer, like what is covered in my Standard package.

Planning for multiple event locations

Build in travel time between events

Assuming the locations of your getting ready, ceremony or reception are outside of walking distance, include at least 15 minutes of travel time (depending on distance) to get to each location.

Consider hiring an additional photographer

If your ceremony and reception require a car to travel between locations, that will eat into the time you have to take couple or wedding party photos. If this is the case, and where events may take place synchronously, then I always recommend an additional photographer and more photo coverage, like my Premium package offers.

Reducing photo coverage hours

If you need to stick to a budget, there’s a few things you can consider in order to get the most out of six hours, like what I offer in my Starter package.

Focus on the ceremony and couple photos

By forgoing the getting ready photos or cutting down on the time during reception can save you up to two hours alone. When dances, cake-cutting and speeches are over, getting a handful of dance floor moments can be enough for some couples.

Sticking to one photographer

If your event is at one location and you have a traditional timeline for your wedding, you can get away with just one photographer. 

Of course, all the suggestions above are based on a traditional wedding schedule, but it may need to be adjusted for your unique timeline. But when trying to determine how many hours you’ll need, here are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • If you’re planning for your event to take place in one location, six or eight hours should be plenty of coverage for you.
  • Weddings with multiple locations should consider more photographers to ensure all moments are accounted for.
  • To reduce photo coverage to six hours, consider having your photographer arrive after you’re done getting ready or leave earlier in the reception. 

And, if you need help determining your coverage, I’d be happy to walk through your proposed schedule and recommend a package. Let's get in touch.