Ask Kristi - How much photography coverage do I need on my Wedding Day?

How many hours of coverage do I need on my wedding day? This is one of the most common questions I get asked! Since I make more money the longer you hire me for, you might expect me to tell you that you need all day coverage, 8 + hours and rack up those billable hours! But the truth is, I care more about taking care of you and giving you exactly what you want (and nothing more) more than I care about making a few extra bucks. It does me no good to convince you that you NEED me there all day if you dont have photographable things planned for the day, which would leave me with nothing meaningful to deliver to you, and you upset with me. So, lets figure out what you actually need.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question. Every wedding is unique and different. I tell people that it depends on what events you have planned for the day and what is important to you, so lets break it down by events and ill tell you how much time you’ll need me there to cover it all.

-Getting Ready photos -

This is my favorite part of the day to photograph! The nerves, the excitement, and the intense joy and celebration that comes from a bride being surrounded by her tribe as she’s getting ready makes for great photos. I recommend 1-2 hours to capture all of this, depending mostly on how many details you want captured. You won’t need photos of the entire getting ready process, just a few shots at each step, so this is the perfect time to take all your pretty details, like your dress, shoes, flowers, rings, ect and capture all the detail shots. Then when its time to slip the dress on, ill be there to capture your mom helping with the buttons and your best friend helping with your jewelry and shoes. Then when you are all ready, lets grab a few bridal portraits while your hair and make up is still fresh!

For brides getting married in an LDS temple who cant have coverage of them getting ready inside the temple but still cherish these moments and want the memories captured - Lets reserve some time in your day before your reception to capture all of these moments. We will capture you getting back into your dress, touching up the hair and make up, and getting detail shots of it all.

-The Ceremony and the Temple Exit-

Wether you are having a civil ceremony or getting married in an LDS temple, this is the big part of the day and I dont want to miss ANY of it. Every ceremony and every temple exit is different, so instead of worry if we schedule enough time for the most important part of the day, I came up with a simple and easy solution - You will purchase inclusive Temple Coverage and Ceremony Coverage instead of a set amount of hours.

Civil Ceremony Coverage includes 15 minutes of getting ready photos, the ceremony itself, and group photos directly following the ceremony. Ill be there for however long it takes to get all of these things covered instead of watching the clock. Typically 60-90 minutes.

Temple Coverage includes your temple exit, group and family photos and 15 minutes of formal photos at the temple grounds following group photos. Ill be there for however long it takes to get all of these things covered instead of watching the clock. Typically 60-90 minutes.

-Luncheons and Dinners -

I recommend about an hour of coverage for luncheons and diners. This is enough time to get shots of the food, the toasts and everyone enjoying themselves. If there are additional events going on after the luncheon or dinner, you’ll want me around the capture the rest of the day, but if you will just be finished up your food, I dont recommend more than an hour because all of the photos start to look the same after an hour of everyone eating.

-Formal Photos of the Bride & Groom-

I always recommend a formal session for the bride and groom separate from the wedding day. When we do formal photos on the wedding day, we are limited on location, shooting time and time of day. If we pick a different day to do your formal photos, it really opens up the timeline for your day. We can even set up a ‘first look’ so that first moment of you guys see each other is just as special (if not more special because its more private) as the tradition of not seeing each other until coming down the aisle.

However, if you choose not to do formals on a separate day, or if you simply want MORE formal photos on the wedding day, I recommend 30-60 minutes, preferably in the later hours of the day when the sun is lower in the sky.

-Bridal Party photos -

I include the bridal party in the group photos portion of Ceremony coverage or Temple coverage, so this is included in what you will already be paying for. However, because of the time crunch we are typically under, or limited location options, we usually only get to spend about 5-10 doing photos with your bridal party. I highly recommend scheduling in closer to 20-30 minutes so we can get those fun, playful shots as well as the traditional line up shots. I also love to get photos of the bride and groom with each of their bridesmaids and groomsmen individually.

-Formal family photos -

Some people choose to have the photos immediately following the ceremony or the temple be more casual, and then set aside more time later in the day for more formal photos of the family. Depending on how many people you want included in this, I need 30-45 minutes to get this done for you.

-Reception Details -

I have seen some truly stunning reception set ups that have clearly had dozens of hours of planning put into them. They need to be captured before any of your guests arrive. Depending on the size and scale of your reception, ill need about an hour to capture all of the untouched details before your guests arrive. 

-Reception Time -

I recommend having me present for the entirety of your reception in most cases. If you don't have a specific end time and plan on dancing into the wee hours of the night, you can send me packing after about 30 minutes of dancing because the dance moves all look the same after that long. But if you are planning a cake cutting, first dances, bouquet toss, and a grand exit, you will want it photographed, pinky promise. Some of the most joy soaked images I have ever captured have been during my couples exits. Imagine being surrounded by and soaking up all the love and support from the people who care about you and are celebrating with you? Doesn’t that just make you feel warm and cozy reading that sentence? How can you not have that joy captured? You want me there for your reception, start to finish, pinky promise.