How long should I have my photographer at my wedding?
Knowing just how long to hire a photographer for to cover your wedding can be a quite a daunting thought! Of course, weddings can go on for hours, but does that mean your photographer needs to be there the whole time? Your wedding timeline will help you determine just how long you need your photographer to be there; after all, you don’t want any of those special moments missed and end up regretting it!
Most photographers usually offer 4 hour, 6 hour or ten hour coverage at a wedding, and do have the option for additional hours at a fixed fee per hour. Do bear in mind that your photographer provides continuous coverage for those hours - they don’t break for a while and come back; of course, there may be a moment where they grab a bite to eat when the rest of the guests are eating, but it is literally to wolf something down! If you are unsure of your wedding timeline, let’s take a look at a typical wedding timeline to help give you an idea of coverage you may need.
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It all starts with the preparations! The amount of time needed to get ready will depend on how many bridesmaids and groomsmen each of you have; the less standing in the wedding, the less time required to get ready. Most pre-wedding preparations take anywhere from an hour up to four or even five hours when you include hair and make-up.
Many couples opt to have their photographer present at this time to capture the excitement before the wedding; this is the time when the photographer will also get some excellent photos of the dress, rings, shoes and bouquets. You may want to consider whether you would want a second photographer to capture both the bride and groom getting ready as well as whether you would want individual portraits as soon as make-up and hair are done.
Many couples enjoy having a photographer present at this stage as there are many memorable moments that are worth capturing; for example, the parents of the bride seeing her all dressed and ready for the first time. If each of you wish to have individual portraits done prior to the wedding ceremony, you should allocate about 15 minutes each to cover this. Don’t forget that if you have been getting ready at a location away from that of the ceremony’s, there is travel time to bear in mind, so always include that when you are doing any calculations for photographer coverage.
Most ceremonies last for about 30 minutes, but some ceremonies, especially Indian and Asian can last for several hours, so you will be the best to answer the kind of ceremony you’ll be having to factor that in for coverage. After the ceremony formal shots are normally taken; on average, this can last for about 45 minutes or so. When it comes time for couple portraits, some couples like to travel to a different location for these, so factor in travel time both there and back for the photographer.
The reception is a great time for your photographer to really capture the excitement and fun both you and your guests are feeling. Not everyone will choose to have their photographer present for the whole reception, as they can last up to five hours. You will want to ensure your photographer is there to cover the speeches, cake cutting, bouquet toss, first dances and the send-off as you and your partner leave.
8-10 hours would be the ideal amount of time for an average size wedding including the special time before the wedding when everyone is getting ready. Map out your wedding timeline first and then add a bit of either side to get an idea of your total coverage time; if you ever have any concerns about time, speak to the photographer you have in mind. If you have a tight budget, many photographers are happy to stage moments - cake cutting, send-off, etc - so you can still get those shots without requiring your photographer to actually be there until those moments occur. So, while there is no specific answer as to how long you should have your photographer at your wedding, this guideline should help aid you in determining how much time a photographer would be needed at your wedding.
The time you have a photographer at your wedding will naturally affect the price. Find out more about wedding photography prices and the cost factors.
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