How Much Photography Coverage Do We Need?

December 15, 2020


This question is the most asked.  Not because we are in the business, but because it most often is the most under or over estimated item.  A lot of couples choose a full day.  It is all encompassing and really ensures that no matter what happens, or how the schedule changes, they are covered.  Often the largest package gives you the day of coverage or 10-12 hours of coverage, a second photographer, and all of the goodies.  The goodies for Shamrock Weddings are a USB with all edited images and a print release, a custom album with images that our couples choose, and prints or a canvas.  Get all of the things, or you will be paying extra for them in the end.  If you try and go to a place like shutterfly, the prints will NOT look like the images you are printing.  The color will be off and most often the hours your photographer spent on perfecting them will be lost because consumer printers are not calibrated like professional printers.  I digress.

Let’s look at a wedding day to dissect what coverage you need.  I always start from the end of the night.  Why? Time is finite.  You do not get more of it.  The only way to make more, is to add it to the front end if there is any time.  Let’s look at a Wedding we did at Orland Chateaux.  The ceremony and the reception are at the same location as well as the wedding prep or ‘getting ready’ photos.

9:30pm/10pm Photographers End(this is usually the time that people are at the point of too drunk to need/want photos, and all of the events are done- first dances, money dances, etc)

7:00pm Dinner – Bridal party is announced- cake is cut so venue can, cut, and serve at end of dinner, and speeches during dinner(please let your server staff serve during speeches.  Some people are long winded)

6:00pm Cocktail Hour

5-6:30 photos of family and bridal party(an hour and a half should be enough for family and bridal party)  If we finish early then its a bonus and the couple can take a moment alone out of the whirlwind, or go to their cocktail hour and meet with their guests.

4:30-5pm Ceremony

Because there is not a ton of time between, we are doing a first look and some bridal party and family ahead of time.  Bride and bridal party need to be hidden away 30min ahead of time. so 4-430 can be some guest arrival candids and some detail shots.

3pm-4pm Photos of couple

2:45pm – First look

2:00pm – photographer start- Wedding Prep- photos of gown and bridal details, jewelry, and shoes.  Some phots of bride getting dressed and some candid moments with mom and her bridesmaids.

If there is a want for photos of hair and makeup, or HM is at another location then the start would be earlier.  For this wedding, the minimum package that should be contracted is 8hrs.  If they also want photos of the groom getting ready and more comprehensive photos of the day, a second photographer is always a good idea.

Could this couple get away with the lowest package?  A 6hr package? possibly.  If the photographer starts at 4, then all of the photos of family, bridal party, and the couple are then condensed into the 60-90 min between the ceremony and cocktail hour.   This was a generous time frame.  Most venues have multiple ceremonies and receptions happening at once.  Typically the ceremony ends and cocktail hour begins immediately.  In this instance, if the ceremony was 530 and went right into cocktail hour, we have 45 min tops to take any remaining photos.  Most likely people are having to be tracked down and its not a smooth sailing task.  With out fail someone always disappears.

The front half of the day would be –

6pm Cocktails- Remaining Photos taking place

5:30 – Ceremony

5:00pm- Bride and Bridal Party hidden so guests do not see them.

3:30pm -5:00pm- Bridal Party, Family, and Couples photos

3/315- First Look

2pm Photographer Arrives and takes detail and getting ready shots

Same amount of time needed. – 8 hour Minimum

If you are NOT and will NOT have a first look, then buckle up and make sure you have a second photographer because we have to condense everything into a very small amount of time, and probably take the couple back out at dinner.  Not just for some sunset photos.  Can we get it all done in the 45min to an hour, of course.  We also want you to be able to take a breath and enjoy the time as well.

With no first look-

6pm Cocktails- Photos will take place at this time with all Family, Bridal Party, and Couple

5:30pm Ceremony

4-5- Getting ready photos and some photos of Bride with her entourage, and groom with his side.  Also, couple separate with their parents and siblings.

Yes, you can get away with the smallest package, and we will rock it, but just be ready for a wild ride!

With days with multiple locations and ample time between the ceremony and reception for photos and travel, get the full day package.  You will not regret it!



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