One of the most common questions asked by couples is, “How many hours do we need?”
There really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. It is going to depend on a variety of things.
- How important are photos to you?
- Do you want to take photos in multiple locations?
- Do you plan to do a first look?
- Do you want only immediate family or entire extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins and etc. in your family photos)?
- Do you know without a doubt your bridal party and family will arrive on time?
When it comes down to it you, as a couple, get to make the final decision on how important your wedding photography experience is. If images of your wedding day rank #1 (or even in the top 5) then you are most definitely going to want to go with eight to ten hours of coverage. Why? If something does not go as planned then you have time to work with your photographers to ensure that no matter what happens there is ample time to capture everything that is important to you. This leads to question number two! Quite often there are multiple locations that are meaningful to couples. Some times they opt to break them up and use one for their engagement photos and other times they want to take their limo or party bus to two to three locations with the bridal party to have some fun. Travel time, number of members of the bridal party and distance to and from the venues all have to be taken into account.
Number three is either a definite ‘NO’ or a definite ‘YES’! A few couples teeter back and forth but usually they are either all in or all out when you ask if they plan to do a first look. There are pro’s and con’s to both and as a wedding professional with well under 300 weddings in my arsenal, only ONE bride has ever regretted doing a first look! I have had many others look back and say they wish they had been able to have a private moment together, away from the hustle and bustle of the wedding day to just enjoy each other. So there are two things you can do to get that time together (and still have it captured). You can do a first look or if that’s a hard no, then plan to fit in an extra twenty to thirty minutes with just the two of you and your photographer(s)! You won’t regret it!!
Now let’s move on to family and bridal party! Every couple has unique relationships, especially with their family! The important thing to recognize with the family and bridal party is their ability to follow directions and show up on time. No matter who you want in your photos, if you have to spend an extended amount of time looking for one, two and sometimes three members of the family or bridal party it is a waste of time. Five minutes to find a single person adds up quickly when you have multiple people to find! Extended families (anyone who is not a parent, grandparent, sibling or siblings spouse and children) will add extra time depending on how you would like them broken down. There is a drastic time difference with one large group family photo and breaking that down. For example, aunts/uncles with their individual families, just the cousins on the brides side and etc. The options you have to get around that are to plan to do some of those photos during the reception since chances are they are going to pull you aside anyway to grab a cell phone shot or, you guessed it, add extra time somewhere in the day. A third option that I absolutely LOVE is a Day After Session! These are always so fun, less hurried and a chance to wear your amazing dress again!!!
Most of the time every one of these things will be discussed not only at the time of booking but also when you return your wedding questionnaire and meet with your photographer to finalize the details. So make sure you take the time to put some thought into how you would like your amazing day to be covered and communicate that with your photographer and wedding planner!