There are a lot of decisions you need to make when determining which wedding photographer to use for your wedding, not the least of which is how many hours of wedding photography do you really need. Should you hire your wedding photographer for the full wedding day or just a part of it?
For starters, let’s define what “full-day” means exactly. It’s different for every photographer. A lot of photographers would quantify it as being around eight hours. We here at J. La Plante Photo tend to average somewhere in the ballpark of 12-14 hours for our weddings.
Without further ado, let’s look at six reasons to have full-day wedding photo coverage. There are actually far more than six, but for the brevity’s sake, we’ll keep it short!
How Many Hours of Wedding Photography? | Breathe & Relax
These days, we only do full-day weddings, but we used to offer shorter wedding packages in the range of four, six and eight hours. What we realized in only shooting for a few was that our couples felt like they had to cram an entire day’s worth of activities into a much shorter time frame.
This meant they were running themselves ragged trying to get all of their couple’s portraits, family photos and plenty of candids without taking the time to relax and enjoy the day. If you book your photographer for a full day, there’s no rush. You can sit back and relax because your photographer will be there for as long as it takes to get the job done.
How Many Hours of Wedding Photography? | Pre-Wedding Moments
Another thing we noticed when shooting shorter wedding days was that we weren’t arriving at the venue until just a little before the ceremony.
The problem with this was that we were missing all sorts of wonderful and emotional candid moments between the couple and their closest friends and family. Nowadays, we arrive at the beginning of the getting ready process (or sometimes earlier) to capture all of the pre-wedding magic.
How Many Hours of Wedding Photography? | Pre-Ceremony Portraits
When your photographer arrives early in the morning, this means you have plenty of time to do a first look with your bride- or groom-to-be. After your first look, you can do most (if not all) of your couple’s portraits before the ceremony even begins. You’ll be able to enjoy your cocktail hour with friends and family instead of trying to cram the entire session into that small window of time between the ceremony and the grand entrance.
How Many Hours of Wedding Photography? | Finding the Flow
Like artists working in many mediums, photographers take time to find their groove. It’s extremely difficult to enter a situation and start creating amazing images immediately. It takes time to get a feel for the situation and also for everyone involved to start feeling comfortable in front of the camera.
As a photographer, if you’re simply thrown into the deep end shortly before the ceremony, you haven’t quite hit your stride yet by the time the most important part of the day rolls around. When you have a few hours to work and get creative ahead of time, you’re in a state of flow before the ceremony even starts.
Time for Dance Party Photos!
I’ve been to weddings as a guest where I’ve seen the photographers leaving for the day immediately after the toasts or cake cutting. The dance party hasn’t even started yet and the photographers are peeling out of the parking lot.
The dance party makes for some of the best all-time candid wedding photos and it tends to get better and better as the night wears on. Believe me, you want your photographer around to capture all of these crazy moments!
Nighttime Wedding Photos
Nighttime is the best time for couple’s portraits because there’s so much more you can do creatively with lighting at night that just isn’t possible during the day. And when you book a full-day wedding photographer, it doesn’t have to cut into your party time. You can wait until you’ve done your grand exit and then take your nighttime photos after your guests have started heading home.
Or, if you want to jump straight into your getaway vehicle after the reception, you can always duck out of the party for a few minutes to take the nighttime photos then. Either way, it’s your choice, which is a luxury you have when your photographer is in attendance for the full day.