How Many Hours Should I Book My Wedding Photographer?

You’ve found a photographer that you trust and are ready to book them but have no idea what type of coverage you need… What difference does it make having the photographer there for 8 or 10 hours? 

By no means do you have to know the exact time of your ceremony or what time you’ll be finished with hair and makeup, but it’s good to know the general idea of your wedding timeline and what photos are most important to you! Traditionally, the different hours to hire a wedding photographer are 8, 9, or 10 hours.

I’ve found over the 50+ weddings that I’ve photographed, the only reason to have a photographer for less than 8 hours is if 1) you’re having a micro wedding / eloping or 2) you don’t have a bridal party. Not having a bridal party cuts down on time for the getting ready portion of the day and the hour scheduled for bridesmaids, groomsmen, and group bridal party photos. 

Keep reading to find out which coverage is best for you!


10 Hour Wedding Collection

It’s really important for you to have max coverage of your wedding day. You don’t want anything missed, starting with you and your bridesmaids in your getting ready outfits popping champagne. 10 hours ensures that your photographer has time to get creative with bridal details and plenty of time for portraits. Perhaps more importantly to you, the WHOLE reception will be photographed! No faux sparkler exits- you want the grand exit photographed and the hours of guests on the dance floor!

You’re ready to put on your dancing shoes all night and you want your photographer to capture every fun moment. For you, it’s worth the investment to have those extra fun dancing photos captured.

Perhaps your getting ready, ceremony, and reception location are not in one place and 10 hours gives you buffer room for a stress-free portrait experience and time to get from location to location.


9 Hour Wedding Collection

You love photos and can’t wait to see your wedding gallery. You want your grand exit photographed but don’t plan on it being super late (probably around 10:30pm). The beginning portion of your wedding day is just as important and you for sure don’t want to feel rushed. 9 hours is your sweet spot and gives you extra time before the ceremony for all the pictures you want captured.

You likely have a larger bridal party (over 7 bridesmaids and 7 groomsmen) and think the extra hour would be helpful to capture your closest friends!  8 hours just doesn’t give you enough buffer room.

If your ceremony and reception are at different location. You NEED that extra time. We are taking zero chances of being rushed for time! Your wedding should be enjoyed and stress-free.


8 Hour Wedding Collection

You’re looking forward to having everything captured! Thinking about coverage, having hundreds of dancing photos isn’t a top priority. You love your family and friends but really only need an hour of open dancing photographed. You’re cool with doing a Controlled Exit with your bridal party or a couple of night portraits to still have a grand ending to your wedding gallery.

You also want some of you getting ready photographed but not until the end so you don’t need the photographer there for extra long. You’re perfectly happy with getting ready photos starting with a couple of robe photos before buttoning up your dress. There’s no need to budget for travel time so 8 hours will cover everything that’s important to you- the excitement of your bridesmaids seeing you for the first time, the first look, and everything through your first dance! You believe that 1 hour of opening dancing is everything you need for the reception coverage! 

If you say yes to any of these questions, I recommend more than 8 hours!

1. Is your ceremony and reception space in different locations and you’ll be getting in a car to travel between these locations?… That travel time will cut into photos and possibly create a stressful situation where you’re pressed for time and light. Avoid this! 9 hours is probably your best fit.

2. Are you having a late party with 3+ hours of dancing and you definitely want photos of the grand exit?… If having the whole reception photographed is super important to you and those photos are the ones you’re looking forward most to, you want to make sure the photographer is there for 9-10 hours. The last thing you want is fewer photos of the fun getting ready moments leading up to your ceremony at the expense of reception photos.

3. Do you have more than 7 bridesmaids and 7 groomsmen?… You’ll want to budget more breathing room in your timeline because generally the getting ready portion and bridal party photos take longer. I’d recommend going with 9 hours and having the photographer arrive earlier.

4. Will your ceremony be longer than 30 minutes?… A typical wedding timeline has 30 minutes budgeted for the ceremony! However, there are many different ceremony traditions. A Catholic wedding that traditionally includes full Mass and communion can take up to an hour! This is important to keep in mind when thinking of your photography coverage.


Friend, I hope this makes choosing a wedding collection a little easier! 


A note to future AEP Bride and Grooms: Remember, you are always welcome to add to your collection. Once you book and we start planning your timeline, you can go the A La Carte route and add on extra coverage! 

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My mission is to authentically capture your day exactly as it unfolds, preserving the genuine emotions and raw beauty that makes your story uniquely yours from a storyteller lens. Honored to capture your day with depth and attention to the fine details.

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