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  • Writer's pictureOleg Valin

How Many Hours Should I Hire a Wedding Photographer for? | Love Photos | Oshawa Wedding Photographer

Ah, the age old question. If you ask you wedding photographer “how many hours of coverage do you think I need?” and he or she replies “book me for 20 hours, I'll be there at 4am when the make up artist arrives and I'll even throw in the kitchen sink!” Give them a stern look and walk away!

On a more serious note, just like almost anything else concerning your wedding it's really up to you. Most photographers will be commissioned based on the number of hours they are there for, some will go based on events - but that's a bit of grey area, does that mean if the reception continues for an extra 4 hours they'll stay that long??? Probably not.

When we do an initial consult with our clients we break down the day into parts and go to calculate the hours from there. Typically we are commissioned to capture the full story of your big day.

A full story could take anywhere between 10 - 12+ hours, it's not uncommon for us to be commissioned for 14 hours or more especially when considering multi day events, or special events in addition to the day like a tea ceremony, or a traditional ceremony one day and then a church or civil ceremony on another.

We typically start with detail shots and shots of the bride getting ready, move on to the groom getting ready along with the groomsmen and back to the bride for the final touches and photos of her with her bridesmaids. Chances are that you spent thousands on your dress and a good chunk of change on the shoes and the jewellery as well; then there are the bridesmaids who were there every step of the way and also spent a sizeable amount of time getting ready. You will probably want all those memories documented so that you can remember it once the hustle and bustle of the day is done.

We would then move into the reveal or first look if that's happening, photos of the bridal party, of course the photos of the bride and groom and then ceremony. Finally we would typically capture the formal family photos, the reception, first dance, guests dancing and late night photos of the bride and groom. On average this is about a 10-12 hour day once you factor in the transit between the different locations.

There are ways to shorten the day. If all of your events are happening in one place you can probably get away with fewer hours. Some brides and grooms claim that they don't want their getting ready photos or late night photos because everyone and their grandma has a cellphone. That's fine but you probably already know the value of a professional photographer and how they carry thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment and can adapt to any situation. If you opt to have a designated person to take getting ready photos with their phone, you will need to ask yourself will you need to be on them to take photos and will they be posting selfies on Instagram all day long? Will those photos be good enough to go in your wedding album? Probably not, the quality of equipment and lighting will make it very apparent that the photos were iPhone photos and may ruin the flow of the album.

I regress to my initial point, at the end of the day it's really up to you. We break down the day into components for you and then leave the decision up you - after all it it's YOUR big day and only you know what's important for you to have and what kind of budget you're working with.

Don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with hiring us for 5 or 8 hours, we will gladly come out, have a blast, give you amazing photos and will ensure that your wedding is the only event for the day. All I'm getting at is that there is value to hiring a photographer for a full day, but only YOU can decide if there is value in that for you.

We also build in additional value into our packages by giving you a bit of a break on the overall price when the hours of commission are combined with albums or other services. For example at the time of writing the price difference between our 8 hour and 10 hour package is essentially the cost of our flushmount album.

Let's face it ,you will probably choose your wedding photographer not only based on their photos but probably because you like them and believe me, we love our clients, we love hanging out with them and we want to capture as much of their day as we can.

But wait - what if I hire my photographer for a set number of hours and things run late?? It's a good question to ask, we note in our contract that that we will stick around for up to an hour longer if things get off track.

So what do you do now? Well, if you're still looking for a wedding photographer make sure you at least have a general idea of what coverage you would need for the day. Ensure that you go through that plan with your wedding photographer and match it up for the right package. If you've already booked a photographer and aren't sure what's going to get covered, ask for a plan of the day, after all, you don't want any parts of the day missed.

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