How Much Wedding Photography Coverage Do I Need?

Wedding Photography

Photography Coverage Simplified


​When it comes to photography coverage, we must first understand that it's "continuous" coverage. It is a photographic documentary of all of the events, moments, and emotions that will happen throughout your magical day! However, it’s really tough to know what length package you need if you don’t really know exactly what your schedule is going to look like. So, I work with my clients to come up with a timeline that fits their day so that they choose the best coverage to capture their special day. I want you to choose the most economical option available, but most importantly, I want to make sure you're enjoying your wedding day and not running around taking photos because of insufficient coverage. I also want to be sure to capture your day the best I possibly can and it's tough to do that to my full potential when time is very limited! 


While the most amazing wedding photos may look effortless, there is a good deal of time that goes into creating those incredible images. Therefore, creating a wedding photography timeline is an absolute must. So, I’ve posted a few sample timelines so that you can get a sense of the differences between 4, 6, 8, and 10 hour coverage. Keep in mind, every wedding is different! You can adjust the timeline around your ceremony & reception time, whether you're having first look or a cocktail hour, etc.


Please visit my Wedding Client Guide for more information about choosing your photography coverage


A Suggested Photographic Itinerary:


​GETTING READY OR MOMENTS BEFORE (1-2 HOURS)

These are the “before” pictures: the bride and groom getting ready, details (jewelry, invites or whatever is important to you), a few portraits, These final moments are filled with emotion, so you’ll want to capture them.


​NEWLYWED PHOTOGRAPHS/FIRST LOOK *(1/2 – 1 HOUR)

A first look is a moment few hours before the ceremony where bride and groom see each other for the first time on the wedding day. It is usually pre-arranged with their wedding photographer in a private place away from family and friends to capture that moment just for them.


COUPLE’S SESSION *(1/2 – 1 HOUR)

The couple’s session happens immediately after the first look. This session includes taking couples portraits and individual portraits, which last around 60 minutes. This is a chance for the bride and groom to be alone and to take gorgeous photos!


​WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS *(1/2 – 1 HOUR)

Once you have your first look and bride and groom portrait session, the rest of the family can join in on the fun. During this time, the rest of the wedding party will come in to take formal wedding photos with the bride and the groom. This usually takes 45 minutes but it depends on size of the wedding party. This is typically where the bride and groom have fun with their wedding party, after all these are the closest family and friends.


IMMEDIATE FAMILY PHOTOS *(1/2 – 1 HOUR)

It’s great to do the immediate family photos before the ceremony. And if time doesn’t permit, there is still time to do family photos after the ceremony. Taking family photo before ceremony allows the family to enjoy the cocktail hour. This session includes the parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins and immediate relatives.


CEREMONY *(1/2 – 1 HOUR)

A symbolic ceremony is short — about 20 minutes. Civil or religious ceremonies are slightly longer — 30-40 minutes, Catholic ceremonies are a bit longer — 40-50 minutes. If you’re having guests, you’ll want more time to shoot a few group photographs after the ceremony.


FORMAL GROUP PHOTOS *(1/2 – 1 HOUR)

After the ceremony, it can take up to hour to take formal photos of family and friends. This time varies depending on how many groups and how big the groups are. 


​HOURS RECEPTION *(1-3 HOURS):

If you are thinking of having an intimate dinner, reception or simply just cake and champagne, then 1-1/2 hour of coverage may be sufficient. If you are having a longer reception full of planned events such as first dances, cake cutting, toasts etc, then it's best to consider 3 hours of reception coverage.

*Time needed is dependent upon size of wedding party and number of guests in attendance.

FROM GETTING READY TO HEADING HOME – HERE ARE ALL THE PHOTOS YOU NEED TO CAPTURE YOUR WEDDING


You've put an incredible amount of work into planning your wedding. So, you obviously want to capture it in the best way possible. And while you trust your photographer, it's always smart to map out the pictures you especially want of your wedding. Creating a shot list and sharing it with your photographer is a win-win: it enables you to be certain that you'll get the specific pictures you've envisioned, and it makes your photographer's job a little easier, having instructions to work with. Not to mention, it gives them peace of mind knowing you'll be a happy client as long as the shot list is followed. Keep in mind, that these images typically occur within a minimum coverage time of 6 hours. For more in depth information about choosing the right amount of coverage, please take a look at my Wedding Client Guide.

Remember that each wedding is unique, and these are all just suggestions. If you end up wanting more hours as your day gets closer, they can always be added and moved around by your coordinator/planner (and me!), just not taken away. If you have any questions, always communicate them to your vendors & lean on the experts... that’s what I'm here for!


Last but not least, please visit my Wedding Client Guide for more information about booking the correct amount of coverage, in advance, and creating an accurate timeline for your wedding day.