How Many Hours Should You Book Your Wedding Photographer?

August 30, 2022  •  Leave a Comment


Figuring out how many hours you need a wedding photographer for your wedding day is an essential step in deciding which package to choose from your wedding photographer. Not sure how to figure this out? Keep reading as I share with you the information that I give all couples who inquire with me.

When deciding how many hours you'd like to book your wedding photographer, there are several things to consider. I normally start with the ending and work my way back because the first thing I ask is always, "Are you having a grand exit?"

I've included a list of questions to consider. It's okay if you don't have all the answers to these questions. These will all help you while planning your timeline. 

  • What time are you planning to leave?

  • Is there a grand exit?

  • Have you considered doing a mock exit so that your photographer can end earlier?

  • How many traditions need coverage at the reception?

  • How long are the toasts going to be?

  • How long is the ceremony?

  • How many adults and children are in your entire bridal party?

  • Is there a drive between getting ready, ceremony, and reception sites?

  • Are you planning any first looks? 

  • How important are details and getting ready photos? 

I've created a timeline as an example of how a traditional Central Florida wedding day goes from the photographer's point of view. Each wedding is unique, and different religions and cultures might have more or less than listed here. This guide is meant to give you a basic general idea of where we typically are every step of the way.

2023 Wedding Timeline2023 Wedding Timeline 2023 Wedding Timeline2023 Wedding Timeline



Some other things to keep in mind while planning your wedding timeline:

  • The hours listed are continuous. They include travel between locations as well as the photographer's dinner break. 

  • The packages listed might not be exactly what you need for your specific wedding. Most photographers can make a custom package to fit your needs.

  • Sometimes weddings run behind schedule. Most photographers offer an emergency option for adding time the day of. Find out what your photographer offers in case of needing to extend their time. 

  • The more people in your wedding party, the longer your photos will take, so the larger your wedding party, the more time you'll want to add to your wedding timeline, and the more time you should book with your photographer.

  • Your photographer should eat when you eat. This way they are ready to get back to work capturing the toasts or photos of you socializing with your guests as soon as you are finished eating.

  • When planning your family groupings, assume each group will take 2-3 minutes. This is why we recommend trying to keep your formal family photos to around 10 groupings.

  • In leu of "table shots" where the photographer grabs a photo of all the wedding guests at each table, or the couple with each table, consider adding in the "Five minute photo game". During this game the couple stands in front of the head table, a fast song is played, and the guests from each table run up and get a group photo with the couple. It's a fun, and fast way to make sure you get photos with all of your guests. 

  • Your photographer won't need a shot list of every photo that you want, we know the basic photos to capture. You might want to write a list anyway just so that you can see all the photos that you'd like captured, and approximate how long it will take to get each of those photos. The more time you give your photographer, the more creative photos they can capture.



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