One of my most frequently asked questions is: How long should I book my wedding photographer for? This is a great question, and I’m here to help you find the answer.
What do you want covered?
First, you need to decide what important details you want covered. Do you want a lot of getting ready shots prior to the ceremony? Do you want us to stay for the entire reception? These details will affect the length of time you will need us there. If you want us to stay until your reception exit, and you want a lot of candid, getting ready shots, you will need full day coverage. If you just want a few getting ready shots, that will knock off some time. If you want us to stay for just the main events in the reception and not until the last guest leaves, then this will also shorten the day. By deciding on a start and/or end time, this is the first step to booking your package.
Next, you need to think about the ceremony length. For a Catholic wedding, the ceremonies tend to be longer, so you will need to allot more time for that. If you want us to cover you getting ready, the ceremony, and the reception, I suggest 10 hours for Catholic weddings. If you have a shorter ceremony, you won’t need to take out as much time from your schedule.
Now let’s talk about location. If you have a shorter ceremony and your reception is at the same venue as your ceremony, then you won’t need as much time because you can take out travel time. I would say something like this would be good for six to eight hours, depending on the formal photos.
On that same note, if your reception is at a different venue, you will need to include travel time into your schedule. Also incorporate the amount of time it takes to pack up all of your stuff to take to the reception. If you are going to take photos along the drive to the reception, more time will need to be added for that as well.
Formal Photo Requirements
For formal photos, you have to consider how many people are in your bridal party, and how many people are going to be in your family photos. If you have a small bridal party and a small number of family members having photos done, (and you’re at the same location the whole time), then six hours will suffice. If you have a larger family or bridal party, you will need closer to eight hours.
If you’re doing a special exit from the reception, like a sparkler exit, you’ll need to have full day coverage.
Some weddings can be covered in just four hours. If you’re having a backyard wedding or a courthouse wedding where your reception is short (for example, no dancing, etc.) and maybe just like a sit down dinner at a restaurant, then this could all be covered in four hours time.
Krystle and Ryan had 8 hours of shooting time with me, and we had time to cover everything from Krystle getting her makeup done, to the Mother/Son and Father/Daughter dance after dinner, speeches, and cake cutting.