How Many Hours Do I Need A Wedding Photographer?

I think because this is a very heavily discussed topic on wedding discussion groups, people tend to be a bit stubborn with pre conceived notions. No offense of course, I’m just here to help you. While I do think it’s better to have a comfortable amount of coverage than it is to run short, let me play devil’s advocate. If you can budget for 6-8 hours for a great photographer, you’re better off going that route than hiring one who gives you more coverage for less price, who’s work you are not as passionate about. Most of the time, couples don’t need 10 hours of coverage that seems to be the bragging right in these communities. It’s about working smart and making use of your time.

first dance

First steps in determining- How Many Hours Do I Need A Wedding Photographer?

-How long do you have your venue? This could be a factor in the next question.

-Where are you getting ready? If getting ready photos are important to you, having them done at the venue saves time for the photographer. My personal thought, I think some of the getting ready photos are a nice beginning to the story, but you don’t really need 3 hours of them. Considering maybe half a dozen of them go in your album. Some couples and wedding photographers have different ideas. Refer to next question.

-The hours you need with your photographer will depend on not only your timeline but the style of working for each photographer. Include them in the discussion and get their input as well. For example, I spend a lot less time than most wedding photographers on posed photos. That’s part of the style and experience couples book a documentary wedding photographer for.

-What time do you arrive at the venue?

-When do you finish getting ready?

-Ceremony time?

-Reception start time?

-Reception end time?

Know these things and work with your photographer, you’ll have your answer. Time dedicated to getting ready, portraits, and reception are up to you. I think the photographer staying for most of the reception is prudent. But usually until the very end isn’t necessary. As discussed here.  With this said, my 7 hour package is my biggest seller and 7-8 is my average. Some more intimate weddings do nicely with 5-6 hours, there is no black and white. I work with my couples and help them make sure it all makes sense and it’s efficient.