FAQ: How much wedding day photography coverage do I need?


If you’re in the beginning stages of planning (or you’ve already booked your photographer and you’re not sure if you need extra hours), you’ve probably wondered at some point – how much photography coverage do I need for my wedding day?

It’s a question all couples have to answer, so I’m here to share 5 questions you should ask yourself when hiring your photographer and choosing your amount of coverage:


1. How long will your ceremony be?

The length of a ceremony often dictates start and end times, as a ceremony that is 20 minutes long creates a different timeline than a ceremony that is about 90 minutes long. If your ceremony is longer and you’re having a winter wedding, the sun may set right after your ceremony, hence needing your photographer to start earlier in the day to have all your portraits done before the ceremony. If you’re getting married in the summer, sunset is more on your side, so you’ll have a bit more wiggle room there. But either way, take into account which photos you want done before and after the ceremony along with how long your ceremony will be.



2. Are you doing a first look?

If you’re doing a first look (with your dad or groom – or both like Megan did!), then you may opt to enjoy your cocktail hour and have most of your photos done before the ceremony, which means an earlier start time for your photographer. If you aren’t doing a first look, you may opt to have your photographer start a bit later and have most of your photos take place after the ceremony (don’t forget to account for sunset!) 


Amy Nicole Photography, Charlottesville Wedding Photographer, www.amynicolephoto.com

3. Are you having a grand exit and/or do you want it photographed?

Many of my couples do grand exits and have me stay until that last moment. Many have me stay through the main dances and cake cutting along with about an hour of dancing, but I leave shortly after. This could be the difference in 8 hours or 10 hours of coverage, it all depends on your ceremony, reception and exit time.

4. Does your wedding involve multiple locations?

Don’t forget to take into account any transportation time. It may only take 20 minutes for wedding party photos and you may only have a 30 minute ceremony, but if the getting ready location is 15 minutes away and your reception is 20 minutes away, that’s time that needs to be accounted for.

5. How much of the “getting ready” portion do you want photographed?

Some couples have me photograph the final touches and the bride putting her dress on, while some couples want me there to photograph more of them hanging out with their families and wedding party. This is totally up to you, of course! It’s simply something to consider when planning out your coverage for the day.

So…what’s the right amount of coverage for you?

The right answer definitely varies, but 8-9 hours is a great average for most couples. It typically includes the final getting ready touches and the main part of dancing, and of course, sometimes an exit! It all just depends. Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer for advice as well as your planner so that  you can pick the collection and amount of coverage that is best for you two and your wedding day!


Do you have any questions for me? I’m happy to answer them for you!


Amy Nicole Photography has been documenting stories of life and love for 10 years. Amy is based in Charlottesville, VA but travels all over Virginia and the US for simply elegant weddings. She strives to create timeless, genuine and effortless photos for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. 

Learn more about weddings wedding heirlooms.

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I take a limited number of sessions each month (plus, I’m a bit of a planner and always account for possible weather and sick days!) I’d love to set up a time to chat with you, hear your vision and answer any questions! 

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