How Many Hours Should you Hire a Wedding Photographer for?

Published by Sam, Editor -
How Many Hours Should you Hire a Wedding Photographer for?

Weddings are fluid days, and although there is a timeline, things change and can take longer, so when it comes to thinking how many hours your need a photographer, think about what you want them to capture and how much of your wedding day story would you like to be in your album.

How Many Hours or How Much of your story?

Rather than thinking in terms of hours, think or how much of your wedding day you would like to be captured, do you want the full story of your day? From the moment you start getting ready with your bridesmaid and groomsmen, right through to the moment you leave as a married couple and drive off into the night.

From this point you can think about what’s important, do you want the getting ready shots through to the first dance, or perhaps from the ceremony to the party of just the cake cutting.

What is the timeline for your day? What time will you be getting married, what time is the drinks reception, evening reception, cutting the cake and first dance.

Other things to consider 

  • Do you want those getting ready shots?
  • Is there much travel between ceremony and reception venues
  • Do you want those first dance and evening party photos?

Getting ready shots can be fun and memorable with your bridesmaids, and those beautiful first look photos as they see you in the dress can be emotional, your father sees you for the first time, those are moments that are worth capturing. More time allows for those details to be captured, table decor shots, the flowers, group shots, moments you may have missed, emotions on peoples faces and of course that crazy dancing that your guests wished wasn’t captured on camera!


If your ceremony and reception are not at the same venue then time is used for travel between the two, your photographer will capture photos at the ceremony, the confetti shot and then as you get into the car, they would then quickly rush to the reception venue to ensure they get those shots as you arrive.

How Many Hours You Should Book a Photographer For?

For a traditional wedding forget about the hours and speak to your photographer about the timeline for the day and what you would like captured, they can then provide a quote and package for you based on this.

The timeline and hours will be different for a couple who are having a small intimate wedding all at one location, to a couple who are having a large wedding and party with the ceremony and reception at different locations.

All day coverage

This tends to be around 8 hours and naturally fits the majority of weddings, and is certainly the most popular and common choice allowing you to have the whole day captured. Costs for this will vary depending on the photographer and location. Read our guide on how many wedding photos to expect here.

Half Day

Many photographers may have a 4-5 hour half day package, this is ideal for couples that are having a small wedding or may suit their wedding day timeline, allowing for ceremony photos, couple shots and reception.

Half day coverage is suitable when:

  • You don’t want or need getting ready photos
  • When your ceremony and reception are at the same location
  • You don’t want or need dance floor photos
  • You don’t need your photographer there at the end

Elopements and Intimate Weddings

By the hour coverage is suitable for elopements and small ceremonies only, here you can have photos from the ceremony and couple shots.

Speak to your photographer, let them know the timeline for the day and what you would like captured, they will be able to advise on how many hours they think they would need and also the best package for you.

Less hours to save money?

If you are looking at hiring a photographer for less hours as a cost saving measure then do think about what you are also missing out on.

Your photos are the one thing you will have to show at the end, it is also the one thing that captures your day and all those details, weddings can be expensive, but it is important to consider where you spend your budget and where you may stretch it in certain areas and save in others.

Don’t forget…

More time and more photos is better than less time and less photos, you only get one chance to capture your wedding day and that story, you don’t want to have amazing photos of your ceremony and then regret not having some beautiful photos of you and your bridesmaids getting ready, or photos of your grand parents at your reception, those photos and the emotions and joy captured are priceless and something you will treasure.

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