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January 17, 2017

How Many Hours Should You Book A Photographer For?


This tends to be a BIG item on our list when we pair our new clients with Photographers. Taking the time to educate couples from the get go on how long they should book their photographer for, really allows us to pave the way for success as we get closer to the wedding day. Too many times (mainly with our day of coordination clients) we find that after reviewing their event details, that they have not booked their photographer for as long as they actually need it.

Photo by Cotton Weddings

So, we wanted to take a moment to share our insight to booking the right amount of hours with your photographer at the beginning of the booking experience. Here are a few tips we would LOVE to share!:

  1.  If you adore details like we do, be sure to give your photographer plenty of time prior to putting your dress on to photograph your wedding details. We highly recommend 1 1/2-2 hours at minimum to really allow for creativity. This also ensures that they are able to take their time and not feel rushed, which in turn produces a better product for your memories.
  2. If you are doing a grand exit, be sure to have your professional photographer there to capture the finale! Especially, when you are doing something along the lines of fireworks, or riding away in a cool car. At the end of the evening, things are definitely a blur, and these photographs are so much fun to look back on after your wedding day!
  3. If you are getting married at a separate location for your ceremony, most likely in cases of our couples a Church, we recommend at least adding one hour to your package. Most of our couples with separate locations, we have them add an hour because we really dont want the transfer of location to interfere with your photos. So, the best recommendation is to have your photographers start a little bit earlier, so as to not miss any of the important details.
  4. This one is a MUST! Photographers can’t be in two places at once, so always, always, always have a minimum of two photographers. We promise that you will NOT be disappointed in this decision. At the end of the day, your photographs are the only thing you have to look back on. Ensuring that there is additional coverage for those moments will be so beneficial for your and your fiancé.
  5. If you are getting married in the later months of the year when the sun sets early, considering a first look could make or break your wedding photos in terms of lighting. We all know too well the oohs and ahh’s of “golden hour”. This is that time for lighting just before the sun sets where your photos turn out looking like perfection! So, keep this in mind when you are booking as well! If your photographer is a natural light photographer, then booking them for a longer package to include a first look is necessary to achieve this look.

Photo by Grant Daniels Photography

Here is a breakdown of the typical packages that we see photographers offer most often:

6-7 Hour Photography Package

We do not recommend this for a typical wedding day as it is more common for elopements. This package means there is not as much going on for the photographer to capture, which is why a smaller affair seems better suited for a 6 hour package.

A timeline for this package would generally be the photographer arriving an hour before walking down the aisle, briefly through open dance floor, and leaving after all the important events have commenced for the evening such as cake cutting, as well as bouquet and garter toss.

8 Hour Photography Package

This is what I like to consider our “sweet spot” in photography world as a planner. This allows for the photographer to be there briefly while you are getting ready, photograph details, putting on your dress and suit, a first look, and all the other items on the wedding day. More times than not, it will also last all the way up until the grand exit. If you want your photographers to tell a full story of the wedding day, this is the package you will want at minimum.

9-10 Hour Photography Package

As mentioned previously, the 8 hours is a sweet spot, and if your events are in separate locations for ceremony and reception, 9 hours is recommended for a full experience. A 10 hour package is for our clients who want somewhere there with them every step of the way. No moments missed is the motto for a 10 hour package. With this sort of package however, it is rarely booked. Not saying that it isn’t needed, but most couples feel perfectly content with 8-9 hours of service. A 10 hour package is great if you want the photographer to capture a bridal brunch the morning of the wedding, or if you are having an extended reception (where my New Year’s couples at?!)

Photo by My Happy Lens

Final Tip: It is important to realize your expectations when hiring a photographer as far as timing goes. With our couples, photography is usually the most important expense of their wedding day, so we are very mindful of this in the process when not only pairing them with photographers, but also when considering how many hours they are looking for. What type of experience do they want to have on the wedding day when it comes to their photographs and photographer.

We hope that this helps a little in deciding your photography package! Our goal with this post was to share our knowledge of booking photography packages to ensure you are getting the most out of your budget, without having to end up paying for additional coverage closer to the wedding day. The good thing is that you can always add hours to your package. So, if you have already booked your wedding photographer, look at your timeline now so that you can decide if additional hours are necessary. Any questions about photography packages, feel free to reach out to us directly!

With Love,
Team Weddings by Jessee

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