Southern California
Wedding Photographer



Hi, I'm Holly.
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Wedding timeline
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How much wedding photography coverage is normal? This is a question I am often asked. Especially when clients are looking to book me for their wedding. Knowing how many hours of coverage you may need is important. Often time couples don’t know where to start when they are considering this question. That is why I am here to help! This post will cover how much time is needed for each section of your wedding day. Keep in mind every wedding is different, and every photographer is different. This is a post that covers ideal coverage time with a little buffer time to ensure nothing falls behind. This is where a wedding planner can really help you for a stress free day!

Photography Coverage: Getting Ready

Getting ready begins the time you arrive to the location you are getting hair and makeup done. This is the hardest part to estimate coverage time. It really depends on what is important to you. At this time your photographer will begin photographing your details. This includes: wedding gown, rings, invitation suite, and any other special details. Ideally 45 minutes would be perfect. An additional 45 minutes for candids and getting in the dress.

If you have two photographers this saves time, if not, allow for an additional 30 minutes for the groom!

Ideal Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours

Photography Coverage: First look + Bridal Party

If you choose to do a first look allow 15-20 minutes for this. We don’t want to rush it, although less time might be fine. We just don’t want to take away from the emotion and have extra time if you want to take it.

For bridal party, allow at least 30 minutes for the various combinations. You may need to add more time if you have a larger bridal party.

Ideal Duration: 1 hour

Ceremony + Ceremony details

Your wedding ceremony can vary. This is a good question to ask your officiant early on. On average, ceremonies usually last about 20-30 minutes. Always plan buffer time for this, just in case you can’t get started in time. If you are planning a longer ceremony add more time. If your ceremony is in a different location from where you are getting ready or where your reception is, add extra buffer time.

Ideal Duration: 30 – 45 minutes (might need to be extended)

Family Photos

Wedding timeline details

Every family situation is different. Usually about 30 minutes after the ceremony is good. Keep in mind if you have a big family and or multiple combinations you may need extra time. One thing to consider is how good of listeners your family is. This can be one of the most difficult times of the wedding day. Keep your family near by and give them noticed ahead of time what is expected.

Ideal Duration: 30+ minutes


photography coverage

The romantics, or bride and groom portraits, are the most anticipated part of the day! At this time we will spend time creating the most memorable photos that will hang on your walls. Set aside a minimum of 30 minutes. If not more!

Ideal Duration 30-60 minutes

Wedding timeline

Cocktail hour + Reception details

Wedding timeline details

At this time you can join your cocktail hour or go take some time with you are your new spouse! Ideally we would love a good 45 minutes to capture cocktail hour as well as your reception all set up before your guests take their seat in preparation for your grand entrance.

Ideal duration: 45 minutes

Wedding timeline details

Photography Coverage: The Reception

The reception is usually the best time to get candids of your guests, and photos with your friends. Ideally 2-3 hours of coverage is ideal minimum. This covers all of the events: guest shots, speeches, cake cutting, and dancing! Don’t forget to factor in if you are doing a grand exit!

Ideal Duration: 3+ hours

Photography coverage

Things to consider:

I tell most clients that 8 hours of coverage is usually perfect. However many factors can change this. If you are having a smaller wedding, you may not need a full day of coverage. If you have multiple locations, more coverage time may be necessary. Every couple has a unique situation. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help figuring out the perfect amount of time! Head over to download our Free wedding day timeline guide.

Are you ready to book or have questions? Connect with us!


Wedding Photography coverage – How many hours do you need?

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welome to my blog

Hi I'm Holly! Welcome to the blog, a journal about recent weddings, sessions and helpful tips for you. Stay a while and say hello!

Learn more




Wedding timeline guide

Grab our free wedding timeline guide to help you plan your day!


free download

Grab the wedding timeline guide

Enjoy helpful tips for planning your wedding day with or without a first look!