How Much Time Should You Book Your Wedding Photographer For?

My biggest tip

Make sure you book enough time to get all of the photos you’d like without being rushed.

Wedding + elopement photography is so important because it is the main way to commemorate the day. Picture all of the thought put in to each design detail, each sweet moment shared between you and your partner, as well as family and friends, and the many candid moments you wouldn’t want to miss. These photos will be your memories, and you deserve to have the entire story of your day captured — from getting ready to the final exit. Trust me, you won’t regret the extra coverage but will very likely regret not booking enough to capture the entire days story.

Here are the most common amounts of time booked and what you can expect from each.


Six hours

Great for: Simple elopements & intimate weddings at a single location.

Not so great for: Average to Large Weddings, Couples wanting plenty of detail/decor/getting ready shots, Elopements with longer timelines, Different locations for ceremony and reception.

Six hours of coverage may be enough for small weddings and elopements. When weddings are intimate, there aren’t very many people to manage and photograph, so things tend to move quickly. However, six hours of coverage only works logistically if the ceremony and reception are in the same location. Keep in mind, there may not be much (or any) time for detail decor/design shots or photos of you getting ready. But, there will be coverage of all of the important moments (portraits, ceremony, family photos, first dance, cake cutting). The end of the night comes early with just 6 hours of coverage so, most likely there will not be many photos of the reception once dancing starts.

Eight hours

Great for: Average-sized Weddings, Elopements with longer timelines

Not so great for: Large/full-day weddings, weddings where the ceremony and reception are at different locations.

Eight hours is typically enough time for an average-size wedding (about 100-150 people), and the extra 2 hours of coverage will usually allow your photographer to capture the tail end of you getting ready, some detail shots of the reception space, and the start of the dance party. If you have your heart set on doing a first look, then I recommend at least 8 hours of coverage

Ten hours

Great for: Large weddings, Capturing all of the design detail shots, Having the ceremony and reception at different places.

Not so great for: Large/full-day weddings, weddings where the ceremony and reception are at different locations. Planning a grand exit.

Ten hours of photography will allow enough time to get all of the detail and prep shots, plus enough time for a first look, wedding party, and family portraits. However, if your planning a grand exit I would highly recommend booking for twelve hours, since ten is typically not enough time to have a photographer there until the very end of the reception.

Twelve hours

Great for: Capturing all of the details + events of the day without feeling rushed, Having a very large wedding party, Getting plenty of shots

Not so great for: Simple elopements + intimate weddings

I recommend booking your photographer for twelve hours of coverage if you  have a large wedding party and lots of guests. Trust me. Everyone will be in party mode, which will be AWESOME. But, that also means it can be hard to keep peoples attention and get all the right people in the right place at the right time. Twelve hours of coverage will mean there will be enough time to get all of those amazing Pinterest/insta worthy shots of all of the fabulous details that you’ve spent so much time dreaming up/putting together + all of the must-have photos of family, friends, and, of course, the lucky couple. Twelve hours of coverage will make sure every design detail gets the attention it deserves!