How To Work Out How Many Hours Of Wedding Photography You May Need

“How many hours of wedding photography do I need?”

When it is your first time planning and organising the most expensive party you will ever plan and organise for yourself, you can be excused for not having all the answers from the get go.

Typically speaking, you’ll have a ceremony and/or reception venue in mind and based on its availability, your first two big decisions will include the where and the when of your wedding.

For most couples, photo + video come next. Mostly because they understand that popular wedding vendors are booked out 9+ months in advance.

And when it comes to booking a wedding photographer, they often offer packages that are time-based (e.g., 6 hours, 8 hours, all-day etc.).

When it comes down to how many hours of wedding photography coverage you think you need, most couples understandably have no clue.

There is no one-size-fits all solution. However, I have worked with countless couples to help them understand their priorities so that they may choose the most appropriate package for their needs.

Start from the end and work your way back.

That is, at what point do you think photography (and/or video) can stop?

If you plan to have a formal exit (e.g., sparkler exit FTW), and you plan to do this at the very end of the evening, this will be your end point.

how to plan a sparkler exit

For this example, let’s say you plan to have a sparkler exit by 11.30pm.

You also know that your wedding ceremony will be in the early afternoon. Probably after lunch time.

For this example, let’s say you plan to walk down the aisle no later than 2.30pm.

You also have a visual idea of having three bridesmaids and yourself getting ready in a hotel room. You also have no inclination to wake up any time before 8am and you most certainly don’t need visual evidence of you without your make-up on.

For this example, let’s say you plan to start hair and make-up after 9.30am. Most wedding photographers will start towards the end of hair and make-up (to allow time to photograph your wedding dress, rings, shoes, appropriate stationary etc).

Given that your sparkler exit will finish up before midnight, we can work backwards to estimate the amount of wedding photography coverage you may need (~ 12 hours).

If however, you don’t want any of the ‘getting ready’ documented, a 9 hour package would probably be a good fit for you.

FYI, most wedding photographers (including myself) offer continuous hours of coverage. That is, even if you decide to take a break between 4-5pm and not have any photographer, that hour is counted.

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