Following my previous blog post, I’d like to follow up and answer one of the most important questions on everyone’s mind now that you know you need a timeline. How many hours of wedding photography coverage do I need? Most of my customers have never been married and/or have never planned a wedding. So this is when a wedding planner or wedding photographer becomes the most trusted person to the couple. Wedding photography coverage can range from 5-12hrs depending on your needs and your needs can be hindered by a limited budget.

When you hire a photographer, most couples are 6+ months away from the wedding day but they know most of what the day will look like. So this is when I ask the couples the following questions in order to determine their wedding photography coverage needs:

Where do you plan on getting ready? Ceremony and reception location?

This helps determine if travel time needs to be calculated. If your ceremony and reception are in the same place, it is a tremendous because you don’t have to use any of your time for traveling between locations. Choosing a getting ready location closer to your ceremony site helps speed things up.

wedding photography coverage

Do you want getting ready images? Does the groom?

If this isn’t important at all, you have just saved about 1hr-2hrs. I do recommend having getting ready images because it helps you and your wedding party get comfortable with the photographer. This is especially helpful if you haven’t done an engagement session.   

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Have you considered a first look?

I ask this because if you are, you will need enough time between getting ready and the ceremony for this and the wedding and family portraits to happen as well and reap the benefits of a first look. The idea of having a first look is to make the rest of the day go smoother and so that you and your party can enjoy cocktail hour more.

atlanta wedding first look

What time is the ceremony?

When I ask this question, I ask with the intention of working backwards from this point on to determine an approximate starting time from either the getting ready or first look.

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Do you have a grand exit planned (sparklers, fireworks, etc)?

I ask this question because if you don’t have anything planned then all you need is the reception formalities covered (first dance, cake cutting, etc) with an hour of dancing. With an hour of dancing, you will have had enough images from people dancing and mingling.

atlanta sparkler wedding exitExample of an 8hr timeline with minimal travel and first look

1:00PM – 2:30PM – Getting ready

2:45PM – 3:00PM – First Look

3:00PM – 4:00PM – Family and wedding party Portraits

4:30PM – 5:00PM – Ceremony

5:00PM – 5:15PM – Travel

5:15PM – 6:30PM – Couples portraits

6:00PM – 7:00PM – Cocktail Hour

7:00PM – 9:00PM – Reception

I hope this blog post helps you determine how many hours of wedding photography coverage you need. Remember, every wedding is different and if you plan on hiring a wedding photographer to document the day, make sure he understands you needs. Don’t forget to follow us on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM.