If you are in the initial stage of planning a wedding, I bet that one of the questions that pop in your mind is “how many hours of photography coverage will I need?”. Many of my clients have asked me this question when they first approached me to get a quote. I am a big believer in providing curated options for my clients so I will not leave anything out that is important for them, or charge them for things that they do not need. In my process, I set up an initial obligation-free meeting where I get to know my clients and hear about their wedding plans, even if it’s still in a big picture. This will then allow me to work out how many hours of coverage they will need.
While you don’t need to get the every little details of your wedding plan worked out before you get a photography quote, you should be equipped with some knowledge on how long elements that make up your wedding day take, so you can approach potential photographers with confidence. This is why I have created this quick guide for you.
What I refer to as ‘elements’ here are essentially a series of events that take place on your wedding day. These are typically as follows:
Keep reading for brief description of each element and how long it usually takes for your photographer to capture. Please do bear in mind that this a general advice based on my experience. Consultation with your photographer is highly recommended to finesse the hours of coverage needed as every photographer works differently.
Allow 1.5 to 2 hours. I usually arrive at the bride’s getting ready venue when it’s time for the bride’s finishing touches. Meanwhile my second photographer (if one is hired and included in your wedding package) will cover the groom’s getting ready moments. This suggested time is also crucial for me to shoot the wedding details such as your dress, suit, invitation suites, bouquet, wedding rings, shoes, handwritten vows etc.
Allow up to 45 min. First look can be quite quick or lengthy depending on what you plan to do, such as exchanging love letters prior to seeing face-to-face, or having a quick bridal portrait after the first look. These moments can be full of nerves! So allow time for yourself to breathe and get yourself ready.
Allow 1.5 hours. The amount of time suggested here may shock you but hear me out. From my experience, tea ceremony is one of those elements that often get delayed. This is because it usually involves a rather large group of relatives including the elderly so gathering these people may take a while as people wander. In addition, tea is served hot and fresh so some preparation is required beforehand.
Allow 1 hour 15 min. Most ceremonies can be covered within 1 hour. However, if you plan to have a lengthy one due to additional cultural practice, then the coverage should be extended accordingly. You should also allow up to 15 min for congratulations and greeting of guests after your ceremony.
Allow up to 1 hour. Depending on the number of your guests and how many groups you would like captured, group shots usually take 1 hour. I highly recommend appointing ‘gatherers’ or requesting the MC to announce the group shots in your order of preference to make this session run smoothly without delays.
Allow up to 2 hours. All of my couples love the bridal portrait session and it is an important element on their wedding day because this is the time where they can relax, soak up the ‘just married’ bliss, and get to spend a bit of fun time with their bridesmaids/groomsmen. The photos from this session are also very important as they will want to print them and display in their homes.
Allow up to 6 hours. Depending on what you plan to do during reception, allow up to 6 hours if you’re planning to do the whole shebang from pre-drinks/canapes, bridal entrance, speeches, cutting of the cake, first dance to games/performances. Prior to the start of reception, your photographers will also need time to rest, set-up their lighting equipments and capture the reception room details prior to guests arrival. If you plan to have a reception exit (eg. tunnel exit or sparklers exit), allow extra time for this it requires the guests slowly leave their tables, line up and light up the sparkles.
Travelling time is an important consideration for your wedding day. Check on google app how long it takes to travel from one venue to another and also include some buffer time in case there’s traffic.
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