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How Much Wedding Photography Coverage Do I Need?

Every wedding day is different, and when planning out your wedding day, it’s hard to know exactly what you’ll need in terms of photography coverage. With all of the events, guests, activities, and prep time, it may seem impossible to even fathom your wedding day happening in less than 12 hours. That’s why today we are going over how much photography coverage you need.

What to Think About When Planning Out Your Wedding Day

There are SO many things to think about when planning your wedding day, it can become easy to overlook simple things that can make a big difference for your day of experience. Everything from locations, to transportation, to your venue, can make a BIG impact on how you spend your day. Here are some tips for helping you to put together a day where you can relax and make the most out of your wedding day.

What is Photography Coverage?

Photography coverage is the amount of time spent at the wedding event scheduled for that day. Your photographer will not spend the entirety of the eight hours taking photos. Industry standard says, the photography coverage starts when the photographer arrives to your event to begin photographing your day, and ends when they leave your event. Within that time there will be time spent traveling from location to location, eating dinner, assisting in day of coordination activities, and then anything else that the couple needs assistance with in addition to taking photos.


When choosing locations for your events to happen throughout your wedding day, it is important to think about your experience. For the most part, you’re going to want the locations that you spend your day at to be as close as possible.

For some couples, finding a venue where they can host their entire day from getting ready to the reception is a priority. Not only does this free up time during their day that can be spent on getting ready or photos, but it also can create an extremely relaxing day for your guests as well.

For other couples, this might not be an option and that’s okay ! When planning out your wedding day, you’ll want to plan your day around your highest priority location. So if that is the church you and your partner grew up attending, look for venues and portrait locations within a 20 minute drive of the Church. If you’re having your reception at your DREAM venue but there aren’t a ton of great spots for portraits, find a local park within 20 minutes or so from your venue.

You’re not going to want to spend your entire day driving to different locations. So be sure to find locations within about 20 minutes of one another and you’ll be golden.

Your Vendors

As you’re planning your wedding day and building your vendor team, it’s important to ask for their opinions on your wedding day as you are planning. You are hiring them for a reason and with their expertise, they are going to know exactly how much time it takes for them to work with you and create the end product that you hired them for. People like your hair and makeup artist, your photographer, and your videographer are all people you will want to touch bases with as you finalize your wedding day timeline.

Your Priorities

As you begin to envision your day, you’ll want to think about what your priorities are throughout your wedding day. You should have priorities for both your experience as well as the photos you want to be able to look back on one day. On average, these are the wedding day events that are consistent across the board for the majority of my couples who book 8 hour wedding days, and roughly how long each part of the day takes.

How Long Each Part of the Day Can Take

Details: 15 minutes

Getting Ready Photos: 1 Hour (30 minutes with each partner)

First Look/Couples Portraits 45 Minutes - 1 Hour

Wedding Party Photos: 30 Minutes

Ceremony: 30 Minutes

Family Photos: 30 Minutes

Cocktail Hour/couples portraits: 1 Hour

Entrances/cake cutting: 20 Minutes

Speeches: 20 Minutes

First Dances: 20 Minutes

These are the bases I use when helping each of my couples create their personalized timelines. Note that this is fairly consistent for most of my weddings, BUT, every wedding is different ! Every couple I work with has different priorities.

What Kind of Coverage Do I Offer?

My wedding day coverage starts at 5 hours of coverage and then additional hours of coverage can be added on from there. The majority of my couples end up with either 6 hours or 8 hours of coverage for their wedding day which ends up being plenty of coverage. For tips on how to create a timeline for your wedding day check out my blog post here. Now let's take a look at what 6 hours and 8 hours of wedding day coverage might look like, and why you might consider one over the other.

8 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

With 8 hours of Wedding day coverage, I typically start the wedding day with getting ready photos and leave just as things start to get a little wild, and also a little redundant, on the dance floor. Showing up just before the newlyweds put on their wedding attire and finishing touches, I am able to document some of the sweet moments of getting ready, stay for all of the main events throughout your wedding day, and be there for the start of the dancing at the end of the night without lingering too long into your evening celebrations.

You might opt for 8 hours of wedding day photography coverage if your wedding day has multiple locations that you have to travel back and forth to if you have a large family that you want a lot of photos of, or if you LOVE getting ready photos and crazy dancing photos.

Here is what a wedding day timeline looks like when you're photographer is there for eight hours of coverage.

12:30 pm- Getting Ready Photos

1:30 pm- First Look

2:30 pm- Wedding Party Photos

3:00 pm- Hide Away

3:30 pm- Ceremony

4:00 pm- Family Photos

5:00 pm- Cocktail Hour

6:00 pm- Guests are seated for dinner

6:15 pm- Reception, Entrance, First dances, Speeches, Cake Cutting

6:30 pm- Dinner

7:45 pm- Dancing

8:30 pm- Photographer Leaves

6 Hours of Wedding Day Coverage

With six hours of wedding day photography coverage, I typically show up to begin coverage once my couple is already dressed and ready to see each other for the first time on their wedding day. From there I will stay through the main events of the evening such as speeches and the first dance before I’m finished for the evening. If you plan to have a more low-key evening with some dancing but dinner is the main event, 6 hours of coverage would definitely be a great option for you.

6 Hours also works great for couples who are not planning to travel throughout their wedding day and can have all of the events of their wedding day in the same location.

1:00 pm- first look

1:45 pm- Wedding Party Photos

2:30 pm- Hideaway

3:00 pm- ceremony

4:00 pm- Family Photos

4:30 pm- Arrive at Venue

5:00 pm- Cocktail hour

6:00 pm- Guests are seated for dinner

6:15 pm- Entrance, Cake Cutting, Speeches, First Dances

7:00pm Photographer Leaves

Every Wedding is Different

Because every wedding day is different, I am a part of every single one of my couples' wedding day timeline creation. There are so many things to think about and with being a part of SO many wedding days over the last couple of years, there are a lot of tricks of the trade I have learned about that help me to help you plan out your wedding day.

When making decisions for your wedding day, don’t forget to lean into your wedding vendors and ask them for help to create the day of your dreams. If you're having a DIY wedding or not hiring a ton of planners, websites like The Knot, or leaning into your family and friends are also great places to look for support. Still not sure how much wedding photography coverage you'll need? Head to my contact page to set up a consultation!

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