DeLong Photography Blog

Photographers providing authentic photographs, modern heirloom albums, and more for those who value a comfortable and fun experience 
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Available for travel.

How Many Hours of Wedding Photography is Enough

Wedding Day Coverage

Are you gearing up for one of the most exciting, and important, days of your life? Most couples put a lot of emphasis on the documentation of the day. In this post we are going to be talking specifically about wedding photography coverage. So how many hours of wedding photography is enough? How do you know how much you really need?

Understanding Wedding Photography Verbiage

When searching for that perfect photographer you’ll quickly notice that each studio/photographer has different packages made up of different items. You’ll also notice some photographers use different verbiage like “half-day”, “full-day”, or “all-day” coverage. This can be confusing because this means different things to different photographers. Be sure to inquire about the hours included in a “half”, “full”, or “all” day. You don’t want to assume “all day” is 12, 10, 8, etc hours when in reality it’s something entirely different.

I also want to point out that in their hours of coverage, it is continuous. Photographers do not cover getting ready for 3 hours, and then take a 2 hours break, and pick back up for the ceremony for the rest of your coverage.


So let’s get straight to the point for coverage recommendations. We recommend at least 6 hours of coverage for any wedding day. That being said, every wedding is different, and requires more or less coverage depending on the flow of the day and the clients’ desires. Specifically, whether or not you have a first look, if you want “getting ready” photos, if you’d like to drive into the city for portraits, if you’re placing great emphasis on couples portraits, the length of your reception, etc.

Below is an example of an 8-12 hour wedding day. Our base package recommendation is 8 hours as it typically allows enough time to photograph getting ready through to the reception. You’ll see a few variables to illustrate how coverage may need to be increased. Note that having a first look completely changes how a timeline will be put together.


Getting ready: 2-3 hours This allows time for detail images, getting ready photos for both of you, and typically the respective bridal party images.
First Look:  1 1/2 – 2 hours This allows time for the first look itself, a few moments for you to spend peacefully together, some couple’s portraits, and all bridal party and family formals.
Ceremony: 1/2 hour This is based off of a 15-20 minute ceremony. We plan for 30 minutes just in case things get started a few minutes late or it goes over.
Post-Ceremony:  1-3 hours This depends on when if you do a first look. If you did a first look, you already have all the family and bridal party formals. So post-ceremony you can do any extraneous family photos, and head off for more couple’s portraits. If you didn’t have a first look, ALL family, bridal party, and couple’s portraits has to happen before heading into the reception.
Reception:  4-5 hours This is the average length for a reception. Some receptions are shorter or longer. Base the amount of time you need on how long your reception is scheduled.


Is your wedding coming up soon? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! Let’s meet and discuss your needs for your most exciting day!

I hope you found this post helpful, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out! Happy planning!

Black and white image of Tim and Shannon DeLong of DeLong Photography in Riverfront Park park smiling at the camera

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