Okay, so I get this question ALL the time.
“How much photography coverage do I actually need on my wedding day?” Its a totally normal question to ask, so please don’t feel self conscious about asking it! I can’t expect you to know all these answers since, well, I highly doubt you get married everyday. Im going to break down my exact process and give you an example.
Biggest thing to remember is that everyone is different and variables in your day play a huge part in my recommendation.
Let’s dive in!
First off, there’s some things I need to know other than the actual wedding date.
We are great at our jobs but aren’t mind readers- so bear with me. I promise all this info is important!
1: Where will the Ceremony/Reception be held ?
- City & State if not the actual venue address.
We need to know where we’re going and how far away you are from us! This helps us decide later on if theres a travel fee too.
2: How many guests are expecting, and how many are in the bridal party?
You may think this doesn’t impact us much BUT it does. I automatically include a second shooter in all my collection builds but, not all photographers do. If there’s 300 guests and 8 bridesmaids/groomsmen on each side in the bridal party, that takes a lot of time to shoot! Even with a second shooter, the more people In the bridal party and guests, the more time I need to capture all the needed images you are going to want later in life. I want to capture the essence of the day, and I’m sure you want to see your family and friends having a good time. Guests count helps me decide how long I may be needed at the reception in addition to the normal festivities. Bridal party count helps me add time to each section of the day from getting ready, to the ceremony length, formal portraits, and the reception. I could go on about why this is important but I think you get the gist at this point.
3: Are you working with a budget?
I don’t think I have to explain why this is important. Im not trying to waste your time, I know you are a busy bride and you have a wedding to plan. So I highly recommend when researching photographers, that you check their websites for their starting prices. But also have a max number in mind to tell me on your call, even if you aren’t sure I can fit that number, I’d rather know where your mind is at now than at the end of the call.
Budget tells me what all to quote you. I don’t have set collections like most, I actually build your collection based off your specific needs as a couple. Do you want an engagement session, bridal session, and 8 hours coverage but only have $$ amount in mind? Im going to quote you in your budget with all the goods on the side for YOU to choose what to add on.
But basically, I want to make sure we are on the same page in the same book throughout the whole experience!
4: Are there any special things were planning, like a first look or first touch?
Another easy one, again, this just helps me figure out any extra time needed in your day. Anything special that’s non traditional, aka anything that may not be in my mental timeline... I want to know so I can quote you accurately.
5: The most important question of them all - What does your ideal experience with me look like?
If you could have it all - what would that look like?
Engagement session ?
Bridal session ? (Keep an eye out for an article explaining what bridal sessions are and why you should consider booking one!)
4/6/8 hour coverage?
Albums or Prints?
I want to know ALL your wedding day dreams. Now that I have your variables, I can do my thing.
How do I decide what coverage you need?
Your variables will decide a lot of these things but I have a few rules that can help you estimate.
Example - Pretend this is you... — “All day coverage” (For me that 8-10 hours)
— Ceremony at 4pm & party is planned till 8pm
— 6 on each side bridal party & 150 guests
I will always want to get there 1 hour prior to ceremony. Minimum start time 3pm.
Add getting ready photos after hair & make-up (+ 1 hour.) My start time is now 2pm.
I typically quote 1 hour ceremonies unless otherwise told regarding customs.
Then based on your variables, I over shoot the formal portraits time and quote an hour.
Current total time 4 hours.
Again, depending on variables, the reception festivities roughly average around 2 hours. By festivities I mean like, the cake cutting, first dances, and my favorite part - THE FOOD! Y’all alway feed me so well. *chefs kiss*
Currently at 6 hours total coverage day of.
If you are partying late, and want me to stay for the fun- IM IN! - lets do 8 hours
But if budget is tight or you don't have much dancing going on, nows the time I can leave and you still got all the important parts of your day covered.
I always remove time off the beginning or end of day. Most of the time you won’t print and frame all the photos of your hair in rollers or putting lashes on. And you can only have so many dancing photos.
Fun Fact : Want getting ready photos but want make-up & hair done first? - subtract 2 hours
6-8 hours I say is a sweet spot.
6 hours if you want the most important things captured - the essence of a full day without it being a full day.
8 hours if you want the full getting ready experience OR a late night dance party.
10 hours if you want the best of both worlds!
In conclusion -
Remember we're asking a lot of questions for so we can better serve you, plan ahead for your conversations, be honest about your needs, and have the best wedding day ever! I can't speak for everyone's process but this is mine. I hope it helps!
Im currently booking Fall 2023 and Spring/Fall 2024 so if you loved this article, fill out the inquiry form on my "Contact" page and let's chat!
I cant wait to hear EVERYTHING.
Your Visual Storyteller,