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How long should a wedding photographer be at your wedding?



Figuring out how many hours of coverage you need doesn’t have to be very complicated, just keep these three criteria in mind and you’ll have it all sorted!


1. Getting ready

Do you want getting ready coverage? If yes, you need to determine how many hours getting ready will take. For the girls plan on 1 hour per person, divided by the number of stylists. If you have 6 girls and 2 stylists, plan on 3 hours for getting ready. You can never have too much time for getting ready. For the guy’s plan on an hour for everyone, unless they plan on doing makeup as well, then they count in the equation from before. applies. Once you have figure out how long you need, determine at what point in that do you want the photographer to come. Should they come in the beginning and get a before and after look? Should they come at the end and get everyone relaxing? Or after you get your hair and makeup done, but before your dress going on?

2. Bulk of the day

The middle portion of the day you can’t really do much to change. Give yourself at least 30 minutes for immediate family photos and at least an hour for if plan on including extended family. Give 30 minutes to an hour for bridal party photos. For the couple you’ll want at least an hour, but you can break that up into two slots of time if you need. If you do a first look the photographer could come about 3 hours before the ceremony and get the formal photos done before the ceremony. That way you can go to the cocktail hour. The ceremony normally takes 20-30 minutes, depending on what traditions you include. The reception is highly dependent on how many events you include. The venue or a wedding coordinator are good at determining how long that will take.

3. The exit

If you are doing an exit, it’s simple, the photographer leaves after the exit. If not, you need to determine how much coverage you need of the dancing. Your gallery is only going to be so many photos, you probably don’t want a whole gallery of dancing. I would say the photographers should probably stay for about an hour once the dancing starts, unless you know something important is going to happen later in the dancing.



Just keep these three things in mind and it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. If you don’t have enough budget to cover everything, you should figure out which parts are less important to you. Normally that means cutting some time off the beginning.

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