How many hours of wedding photography coverage do you need?

Deciding on how many hours of wedding photography coverage you need can feel super overwhelming. You may think you want a photographer there for the whole day, or you could be on the other end of the spectrum and think you only need a photographer for a few hours. What I’ve learned as a wedding photographer though, is that there really is a right amount of hours for each type of wedding day, and I’m here to help you figure out what that number is for you! 

I offer 3 different coverage packages; 6, 8, and 10 hours. The main difference in each package is going to be the hours of coverage you are getting. Picking a package with too few hours of coverage will lead to a more rushed feeling, which is stressful and not what we want for you! So let’s dive into each package and figure out which coverage is right for you. 

6 hours of wedding photography coverage 

Typically, this is a starting package that usually works best for smaller, more intimate weddings and/or elopements (75 guests or less). With less family to photograph and a smaller bridal party 6 hours of coverage is usually the perfect amount of time and you won’t feel shortchanged.

When deciding on how many hours you need, it will all depend on what you want photographed. A 6 hour package will cover the main events like the ceremony, family/bridal party formals, bride and groom formals, and the start of the reception, but it really won’t cover much beyond that. If you have to commute between locations for your ceremony and reception, that will end up really cutting into our time and we won’t get as many images. 

To really decide if 6 hours is right for you, think about these questions. 

-Are your ceremony and reception in the same location?

-Are you ok without getting ready photos? 

-Are you find without having a lot of dancing/reception photos or not having a special reception exit photographed? 

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, I think you can feel confident with 6 hours of coverage!

8 hours of photography coverage 

This is the most popular amount of coverage for weddings! This package works best for average-sized weddings and gives you almost full-day coverage.

8 hours will allow your photographer to document the main parts of your wedding day as well as the end of you getting ready and more of the reception. This is usually enough for most people and will generally work best when your ceremony and reception take place in the same location. 

It can work for weddings where the ceremony and reception will take place at a different site. Just keep in mind that whatever time is used to commute will cut into time we would normally be using to take pictures.

To really decide if 8 hours is right for you, think about these questions. 

-Are your ceremony and reception different locations?

-Do you want to do a first look?

-Do you want both getting ready photos and a lot of dancing photos?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, I think that 8 hours is a great option for you! 

10 hours of photography coverage 

If you want to make sure your photographer doesn’t miss a thing on your wedding day, 10 hours of coverage is the way to go.

10 hours is usually the best option if you want coverage of pretty much everything and you don’t want to feel rushed. It will also allow for plenty of time to get all of the most important shots if you have to commute to different locations on your big day. If you want to make sure that you have every moment captured or want photos in multiple locations, 10 hours is perfect. 

To really decide if 10 hours is right for you, think about these questions.  

-Do you have a gap of time between the end of your ceremony and the start of your reception (common with church weddings)?

-Are you having two ceremonies (such as a morning tea ceremony and a traditional afternoon or evening ceremony)?

-Are you having a large number of guests and wish to do a receiving line or table visits (these typically take 30-45 minutes each?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, I think you’ll be happy you chose 10 hours. 

Of course each wedding day is unique and you may have a wedding situation where you still aren’t sure which coverage is right for you. Part of knowing what coverage is best for you is having the perfect timeliness. If you’re still working out your timeline, be sure to download my FREE Timeline Planning Guide. I’m always happy to talk you through your options, figure out what is important to you to have photographed, and decide on the right package. This explanation of coverage hours should be helpful though and honestly, when in doubt, I say go with the popular 8 hour package! For more information on my 8 hour package, you can get in touch here.


Ashlynn Shelby

June 23, 2023

Hi! I'm Ashlynn. When you choose me as your photographer, I promise to extend everything I have into your experience and your photos. You deserve the best experience possible and that's what I plan on providing.
My blog is where I share love stories I've been a part of, and resources for couples planning their engagement , wedding or elopement. I hope you can find some helpful information here to help you plan your big day. 


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