How Many Hours Of Wedding Photography Should I Pay For On My Wedding Day?

Posted by Admin on August 9th 2017

How Long Should You Have Photographic Coverage on Your Wedding Day?
When you’re planning your wedding photography what do you see in your mind’s eye? Lots of getting ready photos with the bridesmaids and groomsmen before the wedding? Lots of portraits of friends and loved ones? Or maybe you want that fantastic sparkler exit photo to end the night with a bang. Make sure when you are hiring a professional wedding photographer that you are booking the package that will satisfy all the needs you have for photographic coverage.

How Many Hours are Enough?
It depends. Are you having a small backyard wedding with a few friends, or a large church wedding and a hotel ballroom reception? Do you want photos of the "getting ready" time all the way through the grand exit at the end of the day? Or do you just want photos of the ceremony and a few portraits?

Most photographers have packages that range from just a few hours of coverage to full day coverage to unlimited coverage. Be sure you find out what “full-day” means. In some areas, it may mean eight hours, in others ten hours. Does unlimited really mean unlimited? Some photographers will refer to unlimited but then have a cap at 14-16 hours. If you are in the early stages of planning and don’t know exactly when your wedding and reception will take place, many photographers will allow you to book a smaller package with the understanding that you will be adding hours.

Be sure to go over the wedding day schedule in detail with your photographer. You may have scheduled only 10 minutes for 30 different groupings of the wedding party and family portraits, so you will need to work with your photographer to see what is possible in the allotted time. 

When Should My Photographer Start?
The start time will depend on a few factors, including what you want photos of and the distance of the getting ready area from the ceremony site. For example, some brides get ready at a salon early in the morning but will elect to have the photographer skip the salon and start at the ceremony site for the finishing touch of putting on the gown. If you want the photographer at the salon, be prepared to pay for extra time. If you’re working on a budget, ask your photographer what they recommend as a timeline and consider what photos will be the most meaningful down the line.

When Should My Photographer Leave?
This answer ranges greatly from different areas and cultures. Some photographers don’t go to the reception at all and only photograph the ceremony and portraits, and some will be there until the end of the night when the bride and groom make their exit. It is helpful to look through portfolios of photographers to see what photos that you feel are the ones that you are drawn to. If your wedding day schedule will require 10-14 hours of coverage and a photographer is unwilling to do more than eight, you may need to look elsewhere for a photographer.

Read the Fine Print
The photographer you hire should state exactly how many hours of coverage you will receive in their contract as well as any charges for overtime. It is perfectly acceptable for you to let the photographer know that you do not want to pay for overtime, but then be aware that they may be leaving before events are covered on your wedding day if things run late. Some will allow you to decide on the day of the wedding, and then bill you for the overtime after the wedding. Be sure to ask and make sure all terms are agreed to on the contract.

If you are searching for a trained, professional photographer for your wedding day, check out the ISPWP photographers in your area and get in touch with them to find out more about their wedding day photography services.

Photos by:
Tim Chin, Montreal Quebec wedding photographer
Marius Barbulescu, Bucharest, Romania wedding photographer
Susanna Antichi, Playa del Carmen, Mexico wedding photographer
Fabio Mirulla, Florence, Italy wedding photographer

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