Fairhope Wedding Photographer & Educator | Ellison Smith Creative- Formerly Goodie & Smith Weddings

How to Decide Number of Hours for Photography Package

When it comes to choosing your wedding day coverage, it can feel a little overwhelming. Do you need three, eight, or ten hours? What’s the difference between a full or half day? There’s a few easy ways to decide the number of hours you need on your wedding day with your photographer. Take your time walking through each of the questions and make sure you talk with your photographer about your plans for your wedding day. Every day is different and we want to make sure nothing is missed!

bride and groom kiss during wedding portraits in Fairhope

What time can you be at your venue?

The first question you need to think about is what time you’re able to be at your venue. If you’re choosing somewhere that you can prepare with your bridal squad, like Izenstone, then the answer is probably earlier in the day! Once you decide where you’re getting ready and having hair and makeup done, you can decide about when your photographer should arrive. Ideally, they’d arrive as you’re finishing your makeup so they can capture a few moments of prep plus your details while everyone’s wrapping up.

how to determine how many hours of photography coverage you need for your wedding day

Are you open to a first look?

If you’re open to doing a first look on your wedding day (which we totally love and recommend!), this will help with your family and newlywed portrait times later on in the day. This is a great option if your ceremony will be outside and it gets dark early, like in the winter. A first look will allow you to capture beautiful outdoor portraits without racing against the sun.

bride approaches groom at The Orchard at Hayes Farm for a first look Fairhope AL destination wedding first look at St. Francis at the Point

Are you doing a special exit?

If you’re doing a special exit, coordinate with your photographer. They can either cover the entire reception or help you plan a “fake” exit earlier in the night. This would allow them to leave after the important part of the reception. Plus, it allows you to have most of your guests still involved in the sendoff. Determining how much of the reception you want covered will help your photographer decide when to leave, which will help give you the total number of hours you need. For most couples, taking care of the important items first (cake cutting, dances, “fake” exit) is the best way to go!

Every wedding is different. Smaller, more intimate events will naturally need fewer hours of coverage – and that’s okay! We want to work with you to determine how your timeline should look to incorporate all the moments that matter most and make sure your day is covered as fully as possible!

bride and groom kiss during sparkler exit at Izenstone bubble exit from Fairhope AL destination wedding

See more wedding planning tips here:

Rainy Wedding Day Tips

Getting Ready Tips

The Perfect Wedding Day Timeline

Groom & Groomsmen Attire

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Fairhope Alabama Wedding Photographer formerly Goodie and Smith weddings

meet Jessica


Hi! I’m Jessica, owner and lead photographer at Ellison Smith Creative- the Gulf Coast’s only full service wedding photography studio. I am so glad you’re here! Please show yourself around and you’ll soon see that I believe that my clients DESERVE IT ALL! 

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