If there is only one thing you keep in mind when hiring a wedding photographer, let it be this: COVERAGE! How many hours do you want your photographer(s) there on your wedding day??? It might seem like a simple question but we feel like most couples forget to ask themselves this before signing a contract. If you’d like some of the day’s first and last moments captured forever, it’s important to determine the length of photography coverage you’ll need on your wedding day. Keep scrolling to figure out how to do just that!
When you’re just starting to plan your wedding, a certain number of hours of coverage may seem like enough. Later on when times are more finalized, however, you may quickly realize that the package you originally booked won’t allow for photos of some moments, like your hair and makeup being done or the last dance of the night. The number of hours for which you have contracted your photographer will directly determine what time they arrive and what time they leave, and have them there for too little time may mean you have to sacrifice photos of some pretty special parts of your big day. If all of this sounds a bit confusing, this infographic from our friend SRW Joyce might be a huge help!
So how do you figure out how much coverage is right for you?
Create your own version of this timeline. Start with the main event: the ceremony. You know what time this will begin, so work backwards (and forwards) from there, adding in things like the cocktail hour, reception start and end time, what time you’ll have to leave wherever you’re getting ready in order to make it to your ceremony venue on time (scratch that, with a few minutes to spare…you can’t be too careful). You don’t need to have the entire day mapped out; just enough so that you can see how your photographer’s package will impact your day. Keep in mind that the time your photographer spends traveling/driving to and from the hotel, ceremony, and reception venue will count towards your overall coverage. Just because they aren’t using their camera, doesn’t mean they aren’t working!
Also, know what kind of moments you want to be captured. If having photos of you getting your hair and makeup done are really important to you, the coverage will need to start earlier. Don’t forget those detail shots too…your shoes, dress, invitation suite, etc. These typically happen during hair and makeup, or earlier in the day when not too many other things are happening yet. If you’re only springing for 7 or 8 hours of coverage, this may mean the photographer peaces out mid-reception. That would be totally fine…once dancing starts, nothing major really happens and most dancing pictures are all the same anyways. Then again, maybe you’re having an epic sparkler send off! In that case, you definitely want the photographer there until you’ve made your grand exit! Our point is this…
Figure out a rough timeline of your day and what is most important to you.
Then, decide what package will best suit your big day based on those answers!