(Closed) Photography: how much time?

posted 9 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
2703 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

i heard anywhere from 6-8 hours is “sufficient”

we’re going to get an 8 hour package… a couple hours before the ceremony 2-3pm til 10-11pm.. reception is til midnight!

Post # 4
605 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2010 - Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

i’m in a similar boat, so i’m glad you wrote this post–i booked mine for 6 hours (5pm start time like yours), and i was thinking about adding an hour to make sure i capture the getting ready time. for you, if you were planning on doing pre-ceremony photos, an additional hour would put you in good shape.  for the getting ready photos, i was actually wondering the same thing and was to ask my photographer.

any married bees with some timing advice?

Post # 5
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

great question! I’m considering a 6 hour package and was wondering if that was enough. Married bees… where you at?! 🙂

Post # 7
3762 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

We are hoping for this schedule:

Photographer arrives around 1pm

Ceremony at 3 pm

Cocktail Hour 5 pm

Reception Starts 6 pm

Dinner served 6:30

Cake Cutting 8:30

Photographer Departs 9 pm

Reception Ends 10 pm


We aren’t doing any huge send off of anything like that, so I don’t think its as important for the photog to be there till the very end, but I would rather more time up front for family pictures etc.

Post # 8
354 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

We had our photographer and 2nd shooter for 7 hours. I love all of our pictures and am so happy we had our photographer for as long was we did. However, I definitely think that if you aren’t having a special send off and don’t feel like you need lots of pictures of everyone dancing/socializing toward the end of the reception, it would be totally fine to not have your photographer there until the end. To be honest, I was kind of a hot mess by the end of the night after dancing like a crazy lady in a big silk gown with my hair down 😉 As for the getting ready and pre-ceremony shots, you should check with your photographer about how much time she’ll need to accomplish what you want. My photographer arrived an hour and a half before the ceremony and was able to take pictures of me and the groom getting dressed and portraits of me with my BMs and the groom with the GMs. Keep in mind that there will be about 10 or 15 minutes prior to the ceremony when your photographer will be able to get candid “anticipation” type shots but probably won’t be able to take any formal portraits since the wedding party will be lining up and guests will be arriving.

If we hadn’t had our photographer stay until the end of the reception, I think I still would have wanted 6 hours of coverage. I love the pictures of everyone dancing, and pictures from that part of the night show so much joyful emotion from me, Darling Husband and our guests. I think you’ll be happy with the cushion of an extra hour if you can squeeze it in the budget. My timeline is below:

2:30 Photographer arrived at ceremony site. Shot getting dressed pictures and portraits of me with the BMs and the groom with the GMs

4:00 Ceremony began

4:20 Ceremony ended

4:30 Cocktail hour began at reception location. Photographer shot whole bridal party and family portraits.

5:00 Bridal party and family joined cocktail hour. 2nd shooter took pictures of reception site details and cocktail hour. Photographer shot just me and Darling Husband

5:30 Bride and groomed join the party. First dance. Parent Dance

5:45 Dinner started. Either the photographers didn’t end up eating, took turns eating or are speed eaters, because they took some great candid photos of us talking to our guests during dinner. We have pictures of almost all of our guests from this time period, which is fantastic, especially since we didn’t even know they were shooting. If you are planning to walk around and to talk to all of your guests during dinner, I highly recommend you ask your photog to take pictures then, especially if the photographer isn’t going to be there through the end of the reception.

6:45 Toasts and cake cutting

7-ish Dancing, shenanigans, etc

9:30 Reception ended

Sorry for the super long post! Hope this helps!

Post # 10
1116 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

This was one of my biggest questions/worries before we got married!

We actually booked our photographer in part because all of her packages included full day coverage.  We had originally signed with a photog that was totally adamant that 5-6 hours was the absolute max we’d need….but after thinking about it, we really thought we should be able to decide what was right for us and our day.

So we had out photographer from 8 am until about 10 pm.  Our wedding was at 4 pm and reception at 6 pm.  We started couple and family pics around noon. 

We didn’t necessarily NEED photos from all of that time, but in hindsight I’m so glad we have them.  The day goes by so quickly and there are so many little moments that I wouldn’t have remembered without seeing those photos. 

The other thing to remember is that your schedule on paper probably won’t go quite as planned….our ceremony was way shorter than we thought, and the event order of the reception got mixed around a little.  At my sister-in-law’s wedding, they had to decide after the ceremony if they wanted to pay for another hour to take some extra family pictures….just some unneccesary stress on the day of!

You have 6 hours of events listed.  You may not want all of the reception covered, but you will need substantial time before the ceremony to take photos (depending on how large your family is).  We took 1.5 hours for couple photos, and about the same for family photos (about 12 immediate family members, about 20 extended family).  Getting ready photos you can probably do in about 30 min if you just want putting on shoes, jewelry, maybe dress. 

Ok that’s crazy long, but my advice would be to get an extra hour or two, at least, if you possibly can! good luck!

Post # 11
1684 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

Thanks for posting this, I’m having the same worries. Our ceremony starts at 2:30, cocktail hour at 6p and the reception is 7-11. Right now we only contracted for 8hrs.

We’ve booked our photographers (a husb/wife team) 1:30PM- 9:30PM. I think 9:30 is too early for us & I’m thinking of extending it another hour or so – maybe even till the end. I love all the pictures of everyone all huddled during the last song at the end of their reception.

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