Wedding Photography Coverage - Choosing the Right Amount for You

Wedding Photography Coverage – Choosing the Right Amount for You

newly weds just kissing after their ceremony wedding photography coverage matters

You just started planning your day and you’re trying to decide where to cut your budget or how much coverage you need for photos. You’re looking at ALL types of packages and all types of pricing. You’re trying to figure all this stuff out but you’ve literally never done this before and you want to do it want right – you’ve got one shot! Knowing the right about of wedding photography coverage can be tricky. I mean sure you’ve been to some weddings but your job was to literally just to show up and support them whether you were in the wedding party or a guest.

So, how the hell do you know how much wedding photography coverage you need? Well, let me break it down into some typical hours that most photographers offer so you can understand a little bit more. That way you can manage expectations when you talk with a potential photographer that you want to hire!

Four Hours

9 out of 10 photographers will tell you that this is not enough time. Everything will feel cramped and squashed together. Maybe you’re thinking of 4 hours if your eloping or maybe this is the only way to make it work with one photographer that you have in mind. But, let me just tell you as someone that’s gone to a lot of weddings. You don’t want these pictures rushed they’re the only evidence of this magical day and you want to make sure all the most important moments are captured.

Four hours is simply just not enough time and a lot of photographers just don’t even offer it. I know I don’t for a full wedding day. We want to serve our clients in the best way possible and 4 hours just doesn’t allow us to. If you’re really vibing with a photographer and the only way to make it work is with 4 hours. I would seriously consider cutting costs somewhere else and taking the package with at least 6 hours you will seriously be so less stressed and can take a breather.

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Six Hours

This is the – just enough time package. Obviously, personal opinion. All depending on when your festivities start and how much you want to be captured this may vary well be your best option. You may not get as many getting ready photos and your bride and groom exit at the end should you choose to have one may not be captured. So, either one or both of those things might have to be sacrificed which is something you have to be ok with.

If things start running behind that also cuts into your coverage. I say if but I truly mean when – when your wedding is running behind schedule. We truly want to deliver all of those special moments for you. We want to tell your story and capture all the little details in between giving you the best experience possible. Six hours of coverage just definitely isn’t as flexible and so when things run behind be prepared to go with the flow.

Eight to Nine Hours

The sweet spot for hours of coverage. We want to be there for your whole day just as much as you want us to be there. We want to tell it all! From the setting, the getting ready, the portraits, the party, the send-off. We want to see and capture ALL of your day from beginning to end.

With 8 hours of coverage when you start to run late there’s extra time that’s a cushion, no one’s rushed or stressed. You have more time for things like a first look and sunset portraits.

Here’s an example of 9 hours of coverage for photography with a first look.

2:00 Coverage starts

2:00 Begin shooting details/ getting ready photos

3:15 Put dress on – All bridesmaids and mother’s should be dressed by this time. Second shooter will be photographing groom putting on jacket / shoes / other details as well during this time.

4:00 First Look! – Bride + Groom photos immediately following

4:30 Bridal Party photos – Bride with bridesmaids, full wedding party, and then groom with groomsmen last

5:15 Finishing up groomsmen photo – the bride is in the bridal suite

6:00 Get married! YAYYYY!

6:30 Family photos – After family photos, if time + sun allows, we will sneak in 10-15 more mins of bride + groom photos

7:15 Entrance into the reception (estimated time)

8:50 Sunset photos – May sneak out for additional photos at sunset! We would head out 30-45 mins before this time depending on location/ weather

9:50 Sparkler Exit

10:00 Coverage Ends

Of course, depending on the time of year, weather, not having first look, or a dad’s first look or any other special traditons everything would be adjusted to suit the needs that work best for you. Eight to nine hours gives you just enough wiggle room.

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floral arrangement by Bixby and Pine

Ten Hours

Ten hours accounts for if anything goes wrong or runs late. It’s that safety blanket to make sure every box is checked and you can sleep like a baby knowing you’ve got more than enough time. Maybe things run late maybe they don’t and you get to have those amazing golden hour portraits for 30 minutes and a little more of the party is captured. With ten hours of coverage not only will absolutely everything be captured but if and when something runs late nothing will be left out or missed. Everyone can take a deep breath to relax and stop with the cold sweats.

This amount of coverage adds in even more cushion time in between transitions which we all know is the hardest part of any day and it accounts for any mishaps which you should honestly just prepare for now. People will run late and things get behind just take a deep breath and live in the moment. Maybe you’re not considered about these things then you definitely don’t need this many hours. But, maybe you are and you know you’re a born worrywart then the peace at mind might be worth it to take a longer coverage amount.

Twelves Hours

Twelves hours is A LOT. I not even going to lie. It’s a lot for you and it’s a very long day for me but maybe you want or need it. Maybe there are multiple parts to your day that you want to be covered like a morning breakfast or two ceremonies or whatever the case may be. Another option for 12 hours might be to split it between the rehearsal dinner the night before and 8-9 hours the day of. Twelve hours there’s a lot you could do with it.

There’s the rehearsal dinner or farewell breakfast. Maybe a two-day 6-hour hiking elopement or 8-9 hours of wedding coverage and bridal session after. Seriously there are a ton of options get creative

Twelves Plus Hours

This definitely falls into the extra category but I here for it. Maybe we’re going on a multi-day adventure. Or maybe you want the rehearsal dinner and farewell breakfast covered. No matter the case. If you thought you had options with twelve just think about what you could do with more.

Ceremony Spot for wedding in vineyard

Final Thoughts

One of the biggest tips I hear from past brides is that they wished they had scheduled more time for photos. Wedding photography coverage will vary from couple to couple and with every type of situation. It’s hard to know exactly what type of coverage you’re looking for if you have no idea what each hour amount includes. This is when it becomes really important to communicate with a potential photographer. What’s important to you may not be important to any other couple and that’s totally normal and ok. But, we just want to make sure we capture everything but especially focus on those things that are close to your heart.

You certainly may not need 10 or 12 hours of coverage. You might not even need or want 8. But, it is really important to be aware of any limitations the amount of coverage you’re choosing may have. Your photographer will do his or her best to make sure everything is captured just the way you imagined but you also have to set realistic expectations with the amount of coverage you choose.

Wedding photography coverage is so tricky because it’s photographer dependent, budget dependent, season dependent, there are just literally so many different factors. So, don’t be afraid to ask ALL of the questions and just be prepared to have an open and honest conversation with a photographer believe me we’re all ready to listen.

Planning Resources

Torez Marguerite is a Californian wedding photographer specializing in shooting couples, weddings, and elopements locally where she is based in California, all around the United States, and internationally. She loves photographing weddings and elopements along the California coast to destination weddings in Hawaii, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Tulum and all around the world.

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