How many hours of wedding photography do you really need?


Yes Yes Yes! You’re engaged and now you are calling all your vendors and planning your big day!

But how many hours of wedding day coverage do you need?

To cut to the chase.. More hours than you probably think! 

How many hours of wedding photography do you really need

Most photographers have different packages ranging from 4-12 hours of coverage based on your needs. I always recommend you talk to your photographer (me!) about your timeline at the very beginning of your wedding planning. Having a rough draft timeline when you start booking your other vendors such as florals, cake, officiant, entertainment, will be beneficial to your planning process as a whole. Some venues give a sample timeline when you book, share that timeline with your photographer so that you’re all on the same page. 

Sunset Wedding Portraits California

Some things to consider for your wedding day.. 

1. Is your ceremony + reception at the same venue? 

This is one of the biggest hurdles of wedding timelines. Travel to different locations is very time-consuming. I have been to enough weddings where the wedding party gets lost from the ceremony to the reception venue, even when they are right down the street from one another. You may think it’s a simple drive to the next location, but you have done this drive maybe a half dozen times by this point, your guests and wedding party might be going to this location for the very first time. This is why for separate locations for your ceremony + reception I recommend you get a longer timeline closer to 10+ hours of coverage. When you allow enough time for travel and plan buffer time into your timeline, when things run a little bit late, then it isn’t that big of a deal because you know that there is enough time to capture your day.

Romantic Valentines Day wedding

2. How big is your wedding party/ family? 

You might not think this matters, but it most certainly is a factor to consider. Having a larger wedding party (anything above 6 people per side) can cause delays throughout the day. Some delays I have personally witnessed, hair and make-up running long, wedding parties getting lost/ running late (to include those notorious latecomers) and travel time underestimated (unexpected traffic). 

In addition to some of these listed above, larger wedding parties mean that we will need more time for wedding party photos. I tend to take a mixture of candid and posed portraits of the wedding party, to include individual portraits and group photos. Having more people in your wedding party allows for more chances for a bridesmaid, bridesbro, groomsman, and groomswoman to get distracted/ lost throughout the day. 

Large wedding party in black and purple

Large wedding party

3. Wedding coverage is consecutive!

There is not an option to piece-meal your coverage into different hours of the day. Most commonly are longer morning ceremonies, followed by a few hours break before the wedding reception later on. While breaks in coverage are not allowed, the break in a wedding day is great for epic portraits of just you two! Some fun things we have done for portraits between ceremony + reception are, ice cream date just for two, escape to a special spot in nature or even visit relatives who are unable to make it to your wedding but you still want to include in your special day. 

When planning how much coverage you need for the day, think about how much of the pre-ceremony (getting ready portraits) you are interested in, are you going to do a first look, do you have a special dance or exit you want to be photographed during your reception. These are all questions I will ask during our consult and this will give me an idea of how much coverage is ideal for your perfect day. *hint* 8 hours is a minimum wedding day coverage I recommend for traditional weddings.

Purple Wedding Bouquet

Wonder Valley Wedding


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Meet Michelle


I specialize in inclusive wedding photography for all. I went from being engayged to being a Fresno Wedding Photographer when I couldn't find any photographers locally who held my same values.  

Fueled by equal parts coffee and passion,  I believe your story, your love, is beautiful and I can't wait to capture it in images you will treasure for years to come. I believe in real moments and genuine connection. In the kinds of images that remind you of the joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. 

And I can't wait to get to know you!

I’m Michelle Gunn

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