June 9, 2017

How Long Does It Take to Photograph a Wedding?

A frequent question that I get asked and a regular question that I know brides ask themselves are “How long does it take to photograph a wedding?”. Shortly after getting engaged couples dive right into booking their venues and vendors. The photographers are usually the second vendor that couple’s book when planning their wedding. This means the only other thing that they have booked is their venue. So they haven’t booked their officiant or their caterers, right? That means you haven’t decided on what time your ceremony or your dinner will be at, so how on earth will you know how long does it take to photograph a wedding?!

 

Most wedding planners and photographer’s alike will recommend that you book 9 hours to capture your wedding day. Why 9 hours? Lets break it down.

 

Here’s at least how much time you need for each section of the day:

 

Getting Ready Photos – 30 minutes for bride, 30 minutes for groom
First Look – 15 min
Ceremony – 30 min (religious ceremonies are longer)
Family Photos – average of 30 minutes (3 mins per grouping at average of 10)
Wedding Party Photos – 35 min
Bride & Groom Photos – 60 min
Reception Details: 15 min
Reception Photos – 60 min
Sunset / Night Photos – 30 minutes
Total: 5.3 hours 
Travel time must be included. Time can vary greatly for this but travel time is included in your photographer’s time so keep that in mind!
And this is the minimums, ladies. Let’s now look at the optimal amounts of times to ensure less stress, a fuller story of your day and enough time for your photographer to capture the beautiful magic that you see in their wedding photography portfolio.
Optimal Time Amounts
Getting Ready: 1 hour for bride, 1 hour for groom
First Look – 25 min
Ceremony – 30 min
Family Photos – average of 30 minutes (3 mins per grouping at average of 10)
Wedding Party Photos – 45 min
Bride & Groom Photos – 1.5 hours
Reception Details: 15 min
Reception Photos – 2 hours
Sunset / Night Photos – 30 minutes
Total: 8.4 hours
It’s pretty standard for travel on the day to be approximately 30 minutes so that brings us to 9 hours. And that’s for a complete storytelling of the day, wiggle room in case of lateness and the elimination of stress. Also, giving your wedding photographer this time ensures the best quality imagery they can create.
Something to Remember: Creativity is a product of the mind and deeper thinking. If your wedding day is crammed into a tight timeline your photographer will have less time to take a breath, evaluate the situation and let their creativity flow.
Here is an example timeline that I put together to help you visualize what your timeline should look like.
example timeline to help you figure out how long does it take to photograph a wedding
 Keep in mind that we, wedding photographers, get these numbers from lots of experience shooting weddings that have both had too much time and too little amount of time. Trust us, we feel it and we just want you to be happy. This usually happens when you have enough time where stress doesn’t affect you and everything that you talked about wanting to have captured is done with ample time.
Know that you’ve read through his article I hope you believe you can walk away knowing the answer to “How long does it take to photograph a wedding?”
Check out my wedding photography gallery to see how much a great timeline makes a different when it comes to capturing happy emotions 🙂 Or you can read more advice articles for brides and grooms.