All right, guys! So, I had this grand plan of putting together a vlog (video blog) this week, and as it turns out, I'm pretty terrible at talking into a camera! Haha! I had a great topic in mind, though, so I'll do what I know how to do, instead - write. I think sometimes as photographers we can forget that for newly engaged couples, this is a completely new experience and while you may have attended plenty of weddings, you quickly realize you had no idea all that goes into planning these kinds of events. And, not to mention, the average person doesn't hire professional photographers every day.
"What do other couples choose?" is one of the most common questions we get when we meet with people, and it's a completely legitimate question. (And honestly, a really good one.) Trying to figure out what you need in a wedding photography package, having never planned a wedding before, can be pretty confusing. After visiting several websites and sending out emails and receiving price lists back, it can be hard to know where to begin.
We put together our Wedding Collections after photographing many, many weddings and seeing what most couples are interested in. We also considered how much coverage we feel is necessary to tell the complete story of a wedding day. So, we tier our Collections based on hourly coverage first, beginning with a smaller number of hours intended for more intimate weddings. When first meeting with a photographer you may not know how to determine how many hours of coverage you'll need, so here's how we recommend doing that:
Are you going to see one another before the ceremony? The "first look" timeline typically looks a little different than a traditional timeline in that it requires more coverage. The benefit is that you get to take all of your posed photographs with family and the wedding party prior to the ceremony while your hair and makeup are still fresh. You'll also be able to get to your reception faster once the ceremony is over. The "first look" does mean we'll need to start a little earlier, at least 2.5-3 hours before the ceremony start time. With a traditional wedding day timeline, we like to start 1-2 hours before the ceremony.
This is the method I recommend to any couple who's ever met with us: start from your end time and work your way back. Even if you haven't sorted an exact start time, your venue or band/DJ has typically already been booked for a set number of hours, which means you should have a clear idea of an end time. Work your way back from there. This will help give you a general idea of how many hours, at minimum, you'll need to cover all of your major wedding day events.
Some couples really like a lot of getting ready coverage, while others don't feel it's necessary. This is one of those things you'll have to talk over and decide for yourself. We recommend having photography start at least one hour prior to your ceremony start time to allow for last minute getting ready photos - makeup touchups, putting on the dress and accessories, etc. If you would like more extensive getting ready coverage from the time hair and makeup starts, we recommend having photography start earlier.
Once you've decided on your hourly coverage, you can then decide what other items you might want to include in your Collection: an engagement session, bridal portrait session, wedding album, etc.
Our most popular Collection includes 7 hours of coverage, an engagement session, bridal portrait session, and a wedding album. With most wedding ceremonies lasting 30 minutes and receptions being between 4-5 hours, and also accounting for a cocktail hour for photos in between, we find that 7 hours is great for most weddings. But, each couple is different and each timeline is different, so we always go over this in detail with each client.
We hope you found this helpful! Have more questions or need more guidance? Leave a comment below or send us an email!