east coast Luxury
Wedding Photographers

November 18, 2019


Kelly McKinnis


Tips for Brides

filed under

How many hours of wedding photography coverage do you need?

Ahhh can you guys believe the holidays are practically here?? I feel like January was yesterday! But alas, I recently just put up my Christmas tree, which Finn tries to climb every 5 minutes and almost tipping it over each time 😂

But anyway… I’m so excited to be writing this blog post for you guys! This is probably the number one question we get from our couples at their initial consultation with us: “Do you think 8 hours of photography coverage will be enough for my wedding? Should I purchase extra hours?”

How many hours of wedding photography should I have?

And we totally get it. You want to make sure that the photographer you hire gets all of the moments from the getting ready to the grand exit, and while 8 hours seems like a good chunk of time… is it really enough to capture everything?

Well, here’s what we tell our couples when this question comes up: We recommend starting out with 8 hours and after we send you your custom photography timeline if you feel like you’ll need extra coverage, you can always add it on at that time.

For most weddings without a grand exit, 8 hours will be enough to cover everything from the getting ready to some of the reception (or most of it depending on when your reception ends). If you do plan on having a grand exit, 9 or 10 hours will probably be needed. Again, this depends on when your reception ends.

A photography timeline will really show you what will be covered by your photographer, and we always create complimentary custom timelines for our couples because we know how much of a difference it can make on the day of! Everything runs very smooth and there’s a lot less stress 🙌🏻

Wedding invitation suite - Matlock and Kelly Photography - Tampa, Florida

But if you look at your timeline and you’re thinking, “Kelly, I really need an extra hour, but I just can’t fit it into my budget.” Well, I have a little idea for you! Sometimes if it really comes down to it and you can’t fit an extra hour into your budget, we recommend doing a “mock” grand exit! Where we take your bridal party and some of your guests during the reception, light up the sparklers (or get whatever props you’re using together), and we have you two do a grand exit! That way we can get those images you’re dying to have. Of course the only “downside” to this is that it’s not really your grand exit – you’ll just be going back to your reception to dance the night away, but that doesn’t really sound too bad to me 😉

Now, if you’re wondering why we haven’t mentioned anything about 6 or less hours of coverage – it’s because we don’t actually recommend 6 hours or less unless you’re eloping. Six hours only covers bride and groom portraits, bridal party and immediate family photos, the ceremony, cocktail hour and some of the reception. And 4 hours covers even less than that. So, that’s why we only recommend 8 hours or more, but to start with 8 and go from there!

I hope this was helpful in deciding how many hours of coverage you may need. If you have any questions at all, feel free to comment below and I’ll respond!

Matlock and Kelly



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A lot of moving pieces go into planning a wedding day timeline and we know it can be overwhelming! Grab our free guide to plan the perfect timeline for your day. 

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