How many wedding photography hours is needed? This has to be one of the most commonly asked questions engaged couples ask me when when choosing a wedding photography package or looking to lock me in as their wedding photographer.  

With so many options available and wedding photographers offering lots of different packages it certainly makes it confusing.  So, what does it all mean, what is the difference between 2 hours, 6 hours, full day, half day coverage?  This apparently simple question can quickly become complicated.  

Well, to simplify things, in this post I’ll run through the key moments of the day that I believe should be captured, you only get to do this once right?!

To determine how much photography coverage you need for yourwedding will depend on how many of these elements you want to include, generally speaking for 2 hours of photography coverage, that would include ceremony, and some photos afterwards, this is perfect for civil ceremony or elopements.  For 6 hours of coverage that would usually include ceremony, post ceremony photos and 1-2 hours of the reception.  For 10 hours of coverage that’s pretty much the whole shebang,  bride and groom prep, ceremony, post ceremony photos and reception. I have the option to add on additional hours if required.

I find that most couples opt for a 8 hour package,  like I said above you can’t recreate this day so it’s important to get all the milestones captured on the day. One thing to remember is, every wedding has unique needs and differences.

Photography Coverage 

So what’s the difference between 10 hours coverage and a full day, well firstly define a full day? Is that 8 hours or longer, these terms differ between photographers.  Some consider full day coverage to be 8 hours, while others consider it to be 12. I design my packages with the number of hours coverage involved. That way when you are working out your wedding timeline you can easily work out how many hours you would like your photographer for, rather than hoping a full day covers everything you hoped it would!!

One piece of advice would be don’t assume anything!

Bride Prep

When it comes to your wedding day, there can be lots of elements that need to be photographed. The getting ready part of the day when you and your bridal party and a few close family are getting hair and makeup done.  You might pop the champagne with your bridesmaids, this is something I’m seeing more and more.  This is usually a fairly relaxed part of the day as you enjoy some quality time with people you deeply care about.  

I love to get creative and capture all the beautiful elements of your wedding details, like the bouquets, fragrance, jewellery, shoes and most importantly the dress! When the bride puts on the dress and reveals it to her bridesmaids is such a heartfelt time and being there to capture those moments is what I love the most. Once you and your bridal party are dressed we usually have time for bridal portraits.

First Look

This is certainly a trend that is becoming more and more popular, the first look is when you and your partner see each other for the first time on your wedding day.  Normally, this happens at the ceremony.  But, like I’ve seen lately, many couples are now opting to have a pre-ceremony first look because it offers some benefits to the traditional ceremony,  one benefit that most couples love, is gaining additional time at their wedding reception to be able to spend with their guests.

It can also reduce the amount of time following the ceremony for photos and especially if you have a ceremony later in the day and the time between ceremony and reception is tight or it’s over the winter months and the sun sets earlier. Some ideas for first look locations the couples are opting to have are photos at a park, down at the beach or even at the ceremony location before the guests turn up.

Unless you absolutely insist on sticking with a traditional first look, I strongly recommend you consider having a pre-ceremony first look.  In most cases, we have enough time prior to the ceremony to photograph your wedding party and your families.  This will significantly reduce the amount of time needed for photos following the ceremony and it allows everyone more time to spend the reception.

Ceremony

The ceremony is pretty self explanatory – this is what your wedding is all about.  The moment you and your partner declare your love and commitment  to share the rest of your lives together.  Your ceremony is the main event and the moments that come with the ceremony are very unique.  

I’m noticing a lot of couples choosing to have an unplugged wedding.  This is where your guests are not allowed to take pictures or video during the ceremony. I understand how much guests love to get those first photographs but they can get in the way of the paid professionals that you’ve enlisted to capture those special moments!  If everyone remains seated, your ceremony photos won’t be filled with arms and hands and phones in the air. It really makes for much nicer photos and lets your guests really enjoy the moment rather that watching it unfold through their screens.

Post-Ceremony Photographs

Traditionally speaking, just following the wedding ceremony is when the photographs of the wedding party, families, and the creative portrait session of you and your partner are captured.  These photos usually taken between 1-3 hours depending on the size of your families, wedding party or different locations.

If you choose to do a pre-ceremony first look, you would only likely need to allocate 1 – 1 1/2 hours after the ceremony to cover the family and wedding party photos.

Reception

It’s party time! So get ready to celebrate your marriage with your guests!  Typically, your wedding reception with include various events that you’ll want photographed – wedding party introductions, toasts, speeches, cake cutting, first dances and those fun dance photos I will capture of your guests letting loose on the dance floor .  

But first, did someone say golden hour, the perfect time of night before the sun sets! When creating your wedding day timeline. Please remember to include 20-30 minutes during your reception for a little “sneak away” mini-session.  This is the time we go outside to capture some of those beautiful golden light or night-time images!  

About Me

Hi, I’m Kelly a Melbourne Wedding Photographer, I love to capture candid wedding style photography, moments you didn’t know existed but will always be memories with you for a lifetime, to see more of my work, give me a follow over on Instagram @myscandistyle.photography   You can find wedding photography packages here.

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