(Closed) How many hours for your photographer did/do you NEED?

posted 5 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
578 posts
Busy bee

My friend who recently got married had a photographer for 5 hours and it was perfect. I think we are only going to have one for 4, and I don’t anticipate any problems. We have a family friend who is a part time “photographer” who is planning to take candid pictures for us through the reception after our real photographer leaves

Post # 4
851 posts
Busy bee

We get 10 hours as part of our photo package. I don’t anticipate needing that many, but it wasn’t what ‘sealed the deal’ on our photographer.

Post # 5
1868 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

@babykoala:  I’d like the photographers to be there as early as possible. I’d like to have getting ready pics, fiance and I opening our card/gift to each other, then a first look, then off site pictures with bridal party, then portraits with families at the venue… all BEFORE our ceremony which starts at 6:30pm. Then I’d want pictures at cocktail hour and reception/speeches/dancing. So yea, I’m looking for a 10+ gig. We’ll see what happens. Currently shopping for a photographer. 

Post # 6
1598 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

We had ours for 6 hours and I think it was perfect. They were there for about a half an hour before the ceremony, the 15-20 minutes during the ceremony, about an hour and a half at the park before the reception, and then til around 8:00ish into the reception.

We did our first dance, father/daughter dance, and toasts before dinner so they could be there for that.

Then we did the garter/bouquet toss right after dinner so they could get those shots as well as some ‘open dance’ shots.

But I think it depends on your personal tastes plus your timeline. If you’re having a full Catholic mass that will be an hour or more, you’ll obviously need more time.

And if you have a big bridal party (and lots of in-laws, etc) that you want pictures with, you need more hours for that too.

Try and figure out how many pictures you want and if you’re going to really specific (ie: do you want 10 pics with you and mom, 10 pics with you and dad, 10 pics with both of you, 10 pics with each Bridesmaid or Best Man, etc). If you’re not super picky, go with the less hours. 

If you have a lot of specific shots you want, I’d go with more hours.

Post # 7
7561 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

We had our photographer for 4 hours. I didn’t care too much about reception candids as no one really prints those photos. The guests took lots of fun photos so I got to look at them for free! Plus, limiting our coverage meant we got a great photographer for a low price. Here was our timeline:

3:30 – 4:00 Getting ready photos

4:00 – 5:00 First look, Bridal Party photos

5:00 – 5:30 Relax, candid photos

5:30 – 6:00 Ceremony

6:00 – 6:30 Family portraits

6:30 – 7:00 Photographer goes to cocktail hour for candids

7:00 – 7:30 First dance, speeches, a few more candids

Post # 8
790 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

90% of my couples sit in the 6-8 hour range. Very few need more than that. 7 hours seems to be the sweet spot.


Some wont book less than 8 hours as well. They only do full coverage booking in advance. They may book less hour coverge closer to a wedding date. Just noting that for future readers.


Post # 9
406 posts
Helper bee

It really depends on what is important t o you. Most of my clients book a 10 hour day to tell the story of the day from almost done make-up to about an hour after the first dance. that normally includes some type of “exit” shot or night photography. It’s a complete day. If that’s not important to you and you prefer to start at ceremony and go to first dance you could probably do that in 7 hours. I think it’s regional as well. In my area couples wait until after dinner to do the first dance etc. most of my dances start at 9 pm. my typical wedding day is

12:00 hair/makeup

2:00 groom get ready

2:30 bride prep

3:30 first look/ couple portraits/wedding party

4:30 church

5:00 ceremony

5:30 family portaits

6:00 cocktail hour

7:00 dinner

9:00 first dance

9:30 cut cake

9:45 exit/night shot 

if you did your first dance and cut the cake as soon as you enetered yourreception you could easily be done 7:30 or so 


Post # 10
790 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@Jbbee:  Its sure is area specific… All my couples do the first dance before dinner! Funny how area specific some things are.

Post # 11
406 posts
Helper bee

@Styles:  yup. I’ve only had a couple do that once and people were totally messed up haha! 


Post # 12
2474 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@babykoala:  we ended up with 10 hours lol…and we needed it……. but thats because our ceremony was early and our dinner was later and a looooooong multicourse thing…. She started at about 10:15am with the guys getting ready, then by the time she drove to where I was it was about 11am…. she did details shots and getting dressed… then she went to the church and took candids of people as they arrived and when we each arrived. The cermeony… then we were off taking photos until it was time for the reception… Technically she stopped once we started eating but we did some speeches and cake cutting and our first dance in btw courses so she took pics of those.

Post # 13
3194 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@babykoala:  we had a 12 hour photography package with 2 shooters, 12pm-12am. to be honest, we ‘needed’ her for 10. (though, in weddingland, you don’t really need any of this, do you?) i wanted photos of us getting hair and makeup done at the hair salon, i wanted the time before the ceremony for bridal party photos, getting ready photos, etc. with Darling Husband and i separate, and i wanted her to stay at least until the end of the ‘special’ things at the reception + some dancing. things were pretty wound down by 11, which is when she left.

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