top of page

How many hours of wedding photography do I need?

Hello hello!

This is a question that I often get asked - how many hours of wedding photography do we need? When should you start? How long do I need for family photos? How long into dancing should you stay for? What if things run late?

Although I can only tell you what I think for my shooting style and preferences, I will do my darndest to answer the question.

And the answer is there is no one right answer.


Hear me out.

The amount of photography coverage you want for your wedding is dependent on a few factors, but namely, what you want captured.

If getting ready photos are important to you, you'll want coverage at the beginning of the day before your ceremony or first look take place. If reception photos are the ones you plan to cherish, have your photographer cover more of the evening portion of your wedding day.

But here is what I suggest.

Balance is key when it comes to the final gallery of images for your wedding day.

You don't want three hours of getting ready photos, and you sure as heck do not want three hours of dancing photos.

Let's take a look at two case studies and the amount of photography coverage I would suggest for each.


The 6-Hour Day:

1pm Getting Ready Photos 2:30pm Ceremony 3pm Family Photos 3:30pm - Wedding Party Photos 4pm - Bride + Groom Photos 5pm - Reception/Speeches 6:30pm - First Dances 7pm - End of Photography Coverage

In this example, there is still ample time for getting ready photos and all of the formal portraits. What there isn't, is a ton of dance floor photos.

EXAMPLE #2 The 10-Hour Day

12pm - Getting Ready

2pm - First Look

2:30 - Wedding Party Photos

3pm - Bride and Groom Photos

4pm - Ceremony

5pm - Family Photos

5:30pm - Cocktail Hour/Candids

6:30pm - Reception/Speeches

8:30pm - Sunset Pictures

9pm - First Dances

9:30pm - Dance Floor Opens

10pm - End of Photography Coverage

In this example, there is a first look included, time for a longer ceremony and more time for dance floor photos.

Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind when you are trying to decide how long to hire your wedding photographer for.

- Gather up all of the details that you want to be photographed when your photographer arrives (veil, bouquets, jewelry, rings, invitations, etc.) so your photog can style those right when they arrive.

- Don't let your photographer convince you that they need 3 hours of time with you while you get ready, they just don't. Period. And yes I know I already said this point above but I am reiterating because I FEEL THAT PASSIONATELY ABOUT IT.

- If you are concerned that your speeches will run late, do your first dances when you enter the reception. Everyone will be seated, paying attention, and you won't have to worry about Aunt Mabel going over her allotted speech time

- The max amount of time your photographer needs to get those f u n dancing photos is 30 minutes once the dance floor opens. Because let's face it, after 30 minutes, things can get messy and no one needs those memories captured.

That's it that's all.

If you have any questions for me, leave a comment below/email me/slide into my DMs. I am here to help.

Until next time,


Browse through our most recent galleries of weddings, engagements and styled shoots.
the blog
  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Pinterest Icon
bottom of page