How Many Hours to Hire your Wedding Photographer

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There is a common misconception in the wedding industry that six hours is enough coverage for your wedding photography. In many cases, six hours are not enough for complete wedding coverage. Many brides wonder how many hours they should hire their wedding photographer.

The quick answer for most weddings: 8 hours. The majority of weddings and receptions last about 6 hours, and you’ll want 2 hours before the ceremony to take photos of you getting ready, or photographs of your and your immediate family and bridal party.

The technical answer: Count back from the time of your send-off to 2-3 hours before your ceremony. Depending on your schedule, this will be the total amount of minimum hours needed for your wedding photography coverage.

“I don’t want photos of me getting ready!”

You may not want those photos today, but trust me, you’ll want them in 10 years. Several favorite moments happen during the “Getting Ready” process as you interact with your closest family members and friends. The photo in this post is a great example of the photos you’ll miss if your photographer isn’t hired before the ceremony.

“I don’t need photos of us dancing the entire night!”

When I first started photographing weddings, some brides didn’t book through the end of the reception. The brides always had a story of how incredible the dance floor was after I left.

“I should have listened to your advice! After you left, one of the groomsmen took his jacket off, and was twirling it above his head on the dance floor! I wish you could have been there to take photos!” True story — word for word.

What’s even more important is that the professional photographer is there for the photos of the send-off. Time and time again, these are some of the couple’s favorite images because it is the ultimate peak of the happiness on the wedding day. Those images celebrate what the entire day is about, and you don’t want your photographer to miss those moments.

“I’ll just tell the photographer to stay longer if the reception party goes overtime.”

Many times, photographers have overtime fees, which as discussed in the contract. It’s smarter to have enough photography coverage earlier, than pay overtime.

I hope this helps you as you are planning your wedding photography!