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How Much Reception Photography Do I Need?

For Couples

August 9, 2018

Timelines are so fun to put together. While I have about 8 different types in my back pocket, every couple is unique and therefore; so is their timeline! One of the most asked questions I receive during consults is, “how much reception coverage do I need?” and confession – it’s not a lot!

If you are in between  9 or 10 hours on your photography coverage needs, I always suggest to add on time to the beginning of the day, rather than the end of the day. You can add more time to the reception the day of the wedding, but can’t get those pre ceremony hours back!

So Liz, how much coverage do I need?

On average, most couples need 30-60 minutes of coverage once open dancing begins. The only thing that might change this is if you have a big exit planned, or if you have a special event planned later in the reception that you would need coverage for.

Why only 30-60 minutes?

Typically, everyone who is going to be out on the dance floor in the first hour, will be out there in the third hour. Your gallery will look repetitive if you see your friend Greg doing the sprinkler 5 times. I’ve found that 60 minutes is plenty and will work with the DJ or Band to make sure any important dances happen during that hour so we don’t miss the bouquet toss or anniversary dance!


What about my exit?

Here is a bit of a secret…you can do exits early! Want to do a sparkler exit? It will look just as amazing if you do a smaller faux exit at 10pm with your family and bridal party in your photos as if you bring everyone out at midnight! That way you get the photos you are dreaming of, but can save a little bit on your photography budget.

Things run late the day of? You can always add on more time if you need to. Us wedding photographers have seen it all, and we know how things can run late on a wedding day. If it looks like things may run behind during dinner, I always check in to see if the couple wants to add on coverage.

Do you have any lingering questions about wedding timelines, make sure to leave a comment below!

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