10 Questions to Help Decide How Many Hours of Wedding Photography Coverage You Need
Updated: Mar 4, 2021
It's finally happening: He bought the ring, popped the question, and you said, "YES!. Congratulations! Woohoo- you're engaged! Now it's time to start some serious wedding planning.
After choosing a date and scoping out a few venues, looking for a wedding photographer is usually next on the list. You might know what style you're looking for, or maybe you even have a photographer in mind, but knowing exactly how many hours of coverage you'll need for the wedding day can be a tough decision. Most couples are also working with a wedding budget and want to find wedding coverage that meets their needs AND still fits within their specific budget.
While talking with inquiring coupes about what sets the Leyre Experience apart from other photographers, one of the first questions we ask is:
"How many hours of wedding photography coverage are you looking to book on your wedding day?"
Want to know the most common answer we get?
"We aren't sure....".
And that's okay! We're happy to step in and help clients figure it out. In hopes of helping Brides and Grooms-to-be decide on wedding coverage, we've included a list of questions for you to ask below.
1. WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENTS YOU WANT PHOTOGRAPHED ON YOUR WEDDING DAY?
As you plan the events of your wedding day and try to think about how many hours of coverage you'll need, keep your priorities in mind and make sure to plan around it. Apart from the first look and the first kiss (these are always musts!), what truly matters to you?
Is having pictures with the family members that have traveled from near and far the most important part?
Do you want to get those gorgeous, golden hour portraits with your Bride/Groom-to-be?
Are photos of all the thoughtful details and elaborate decorations must-haves in your final wedding photo gallery?
Ultimately, you'll want to prioritize and intentionally make sure to schedule out the time for what matters most to you. Then, you can work around it to create the best timeline and decide on how many hours you'll need to capture it all.
2. DO YOU WANT GETTING READY PHOTOS?
If you're looking to tell the full story of your wedding day, you want to consider full-day
coverage. Do you want photos of you and your bridal party getting ready? Final makeup and hair touches? Getting into your wedding dress?
When thinking about the number of hours you'll need for photography coverage, you'll want to decide whether or not you want these moments included.
3. WHERE ARE YOU GETTING READY? HOW FAR IS THE LOCATION FROM THE VENUE?
If you've decided you want to get ready photos, the next thing to consider is the distance between the location you're getting ready at and the actual ceremony venue. You'll want to this into consideration when planning out the day's schedule of events to allow for enough time to make the commute.
** All photos are resized. Please see our portfolio for print quality images
4. IS AN EPIC-DRESS PHOTO IN YOUR IDEAL SHOT-LIST?
Some Brides invest a pretty penny into their dream wedding dress and they want to capture all of its beautiful details. There's nothing wrong with that! Getting an epic dress shot takes effort. Your photographer needs to find the perfect spot and gather up additional bridal details (like hairpins, jewelry, bouquet, shoes, or your something-borrowed-something-blue). To capture photos of the dress, your photographer will need time to make it happen (especially if your package does not include a second photographer).
5. WHAT SPECIAL EVENTS DO YOU WANT TO CAPTURE BEFORE THE CEREMONY?
More often than not, our couples want to capture special events before the ceremony, including things like:
- A first look
- The Bride and Groom exchanging letters or gifts
- Dad, bridal party, or family seeing the Bride for the first time in her gown
- A toast with bridal parties
- A family member giving a gift or heirloom to the Bride or Groom
The wedding day goes by so fast and you don't want to miss the opportunity to savor these moments. Make sure to consider pre-ceremony events and factor in enough time to make them happen.
6. IS THE CEREMONY AND RECEPTION AT THE SAME, OR A DIFFERENT, LOCATION?
One thing to consider while planning the perfect wedding day timeline that often gets overlooked is any necessary travel on the wedding day.
In some cases, couples will book a venue that has it all- rooms for getting ready, a ceremony spot, and reception space. As convenient as this is, we know it’s not always the case. Consider the length of time it’s going to take to commutes to the ceremony venue. If your reception is taking place elsewhere, don’t forget to factor in the time it will take to drive to the reception space as well.
You'll want to give not only yourself enough time for any transition, but family, guests, and vendors (like your photographer!).
7. HOW LONG WILL FAMILY PHOTOS/BRIDAL PARTY PHOTOS TAKE?
Real talk: We’ve seen family and bridal party photos take 15 minutes and we’ve also seen them take a solid hour. The amount of time it takes to capture these photos depends on a few factors:
- Number of people included in the photos
-How many combinations you want
- Cooperation of participants
When it comes to family photos, ask yourself: Are you including extended family? Immediate family? Do you want photos of both families only together or only separate?
Example: You can have the start of a photo list like this...
Bride with Bride’s Mother & Father
Bride with Siblings
Bride with her immediate family (parents snd siblings)
That's three groupings OR you can have the start of a photo list like this....
Bride with mother
Ride with father
Ride with both parents
Ride with sibling number one
Ride with sibling number two
Ride with siblings
Ride with both parents and siblings
That's six groupings
There's no right or wrong answer here. It all comes down to personal preference and who you specifically want photographs with on your wedding day. You just want to make sure to account for everyone involved and make sure there's ample time to capture it all.
It’s helpful to be prepared with a final list of all numbers in all groupings you would like to have photos of during family portraits. This is something to discuss with your photographer before the wedding day. Many photographers will have a general template or list that you can reference, or they can provide direction in creating your very own. We love helping our couples finalize their shot list! It's so handy for wedding-day!
While it’s common for family portraits to take place immediately following the ceremony, it’s considerate to give at least 10- 15 minutes for folks to use the restroom and or freshen up before having their pictures taken. Especially if you’re having an outdoor ceremony, your family will appreciate the time to do a quick touch-up before photos.
8. WHAT ABOUT GOLDEN HOUR?
After confirming with them beforehand, it's not uncommon for a photographer to pull the couple out of the reception to steal a few moments together during golden hour. Golden hour is the final hour leading to sundown. Between a slight drop in temperature and beautiful light, this can make an ideal time for final portraits with the Bride and Groom.
These are often on the high-priority list for our couples and that's no surprise! After all, your wedding day is about your story and the love you share. We love carving out this special time to showcase this.
9. WHAT EVENTS ARE HAPPENING AT YOUR RECEPTION?
Some couples opt for a more traditional route, with things like a first dance, Father-Daughter dance, Mother-Son dance, etc. Consider whether or not you want to do a bouquet or garter toss (or both), including special toasts, or open up the floor for guests to share kind words and best wishes. If there are cultural traditions you want to include, don't forget to take the time for these too. We've also worked with couples that included some not-so-traditional events as well. Some of our Grooms have even surprised their Brides with "special" dances or performances.
When considering how many hours of wedding photography coverage you need, make sure to take the reception and the included events into consideration.
10. ARE YOU HAVING A GRAND EXIT OR A "MOCK EXIT"?
Some couples like to go big with fireworks or line an aisle with sparklers; others like using bubbles, tossing petals, or vibing with glow sticks for a final send-off. Either way, you'll want to leave the time needed to both prepare and execute it.
One thing to consider is opting for a mock exit (or "faux exit"). A mock exit takes place earlier in the event instead of a big, official send-off. The Bride and Groom don't leave and plenty of people are still around to join in the fun. This way you'll still get those cool exit photos but you could save a little time, and in some cases money, on wedding photography coverage.
We hope these questions help you along in your wedding-planning process. If you're still unsure about how to fit everything into the wedding schedule, or if you're worried about booking wedding photography coverage while staying within budget, we'd love to chat and see how we can help make it happen.