How Much Wedding Photography Coverage Do We Need?

So, you know you need a wedding photographer, that’s a given nowadays. But how much wedding photography coverage do you really need? Every wedding is unique, and unless you’re a wedding pro, you probably have no idea how long you’ll need your photographer to make sure you have your entire day documented so you don’t miss a thing! While every photographer’s offerings differ, here’s my super simple time breakdown to give you a good start at figuring out how much wedding photography coverage you need!

Capturing the Important Moments on Your Wedding Day

While not required, it is definitely helpful to have an idea of these 3 things as you begin searching for your wedding photographer:

  1. What time is your ceremony?
  2. Do you want a first look?
  3. When does your reception start?

Knowing the answers to those questions will give you the building blocks to create your timeline and will also help determine the total amount of wedding photography coverage you’ll need for your photos. Your timeline should be based on what images are most important to you, so my suggestions below are flexible to your wants and needs.

  • Details/Getting Ready Photos: 2-4 hours
  • First Look/Couple’s Portraits: 1-2 hours
  • Wedding Party Photos: 30 minutes-1 hour
  • Ceremony: 20 minutes-1.5 hours
  • Family Formals: 30 minutes-1 hour
  • Cocktail Hour/Reception Details/Candids: 30 minutes-1 hour
  • Dinner (Take a break from photos and eat!): 30 minutes-1 hour
  • Reception Events/Dancing/Candids: 2-4 hours

Ok, but how much photography coverage do we NEED?

That’s a lot of info, I know! I always build the photography timeline for my couples, because I know exactly how much time I need to photograph what matters most to my clients, and I also include buffers and backup plans just in case (and by that I mean when) things change or fall behind. If you’re not ready to jump into all the schedule craziness that goes into a wedding day just yet (I don’t blame you), here’s a quick breakdown of how much wedding photography coverage I recommend to get you started:

Up to 6 hours of photography coverage

For elopements, micro weddings, intimate weddings, and other small celebrations, you can probably capture most of your day with 6 hours of coverage or fewer. The key here is having minimal travel between locations, so I recommend this coverage for events that only have 1 location for ceremony/reception, potentially with 1 other nearby location for portraits.

7-8 hours of photography coverage

7-8 hours of coverage can be a great fit if you want photos of your final touches while getting ready through your reception events. As with above, this amount of time works best for weddings with 1 location for both the ceremony and reception with minimal travel between getting ready locations and your venue. I highly recommend a first look for this coverage, as it will minimize the time your guests are waiting between the ceremony and reception, and you’ll have more time to enjoy your cocktail hour and receive photo coverage of your reception events!

9-10 hours of photography coverage

For most weddings, this is the sweet spot! Especially if you want a complete story of your wedding day without having to rush through anything, 9-10 hours of coverage should be perfect! This amount of time is great for weddings with multiple locations, and will easily allow time for additional portrait locations outside of your ceremony and reception spots. This is typically enough time for getting ready photos, all of your portraits and candids, all of your reception events, and some great candids of everyone letting loose and partying at your reception!

11+ hours of photography coverage

Don’t want to miss a single thing? If you have a large wedding party, a big gap of time between your ceremony and reception, or you’re planning an epic end-of-the-night send-off, you may need a full 12 hours or so over coverage to fit everything in! You may also need this extra time if you’ll be doing a bit of driving between event or photo locations or you want to get a ton of fun portraits around town!

Need more help figuring out how much wedding photography coverage is right for you?

I can help! My wedding photography coverage is broken into 2 collections: full-day coverage and half-day coverage. With me, you don’t have to worry about the time, you can just relax and celebrate knowing that I’ll be there to tell your entire story and capture every moment of your wedding day! Click here to inquire and learn more!

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