Are you planning your dream wedding and wondering how long you should hire a wedding photographer for? This is an important question to consider as your wedding photographs will capture the memories of your special day for a lifetime. I am often asked to photograph partial wedding days. This is such an important option, especially for much smaller weddings where some sections of the day may not be as important to the bride and groom. Some couples don’t want getting ready photos or there isn’t a big evening reception to capture.
I confess I adore joining couples from bride prep to just after first dance! Let me explain why a documentary wedding photographer is a great choice to your big day.
Having a professional photographer to capture the precious moments is essential, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that! These photographs will transport you back to your wedding day, allowing you to relive the emotions, joy, and love you felt. Hiring a skilled wedding photographer ensures that you have high-quality images that will stand the test of time. Not only this, but there is so much that goes on during a wedding the bride and groom often miss as they are often overwhelmed- in a good way! It’s the biggest honour to be able to capture these little moments happening throughout the day that the bride and groom may have missed. I’ve had many couples say how grateful they are that I caught something they had no idea happened!
One popular style of wedding photography is documentary photography. A documentary wedding photographer captures the natural moments throughout the day, as well as the essential moments such as the ceremony, speeches, and first dance. This style focuses on telling the story of your wedding day through candid shots, capturing genuine emotions and interactions. This is the style I shoot, although I’m happy to add a few family group photos as I know how important they are, especially to relatives.
The duration you should hire a wedding photographer for depends on the specific needs and timeline of your wedding day. Here are a few factors to consider:
Many couples choose to have their photographer document preparations before the ceremony. This includes capturing candid moments of getting ready, the excitement shared with family and friends, and the finishing touches. Hiring a photographer before the ceremony is a good starting point to ensure these moments are captured. I always cover bride prep in my full day package but can offer some groom prep photos too, especially if he is getting ready at the same location or very close to his bride.
The ceremony is the heart of any wedding, and it’s crucial to ensure the legal part is captured. This also includes your guests coming to sit down, and some shots of the audience during the ceremony.
Before the Meal
The time after the ceremony is great for capturing lots of natural photos. Included in these are many of the guests greeting the bride and groom and guests enjoying chatting together. During this time I take the posed group photos and some bride and groom shots. Also included in this I always take some empty room photos, taking time to capture the little details of your reception room. I know how much time and effort couples go through to pick out the little extras for their wedding. Included in this is the table setup, flowers, wedding favours and wedding cake.
The Wedding Breakfast
For the meal I am there to take photos of the guests taking their seats. A favourite part of the day to capture as many guest reactions as possible are the speeches- this is where the most laughter usually is. The Best Man, Groom and Father of the Bride (and sometimes others!) can draw out the most reactions during their parts. Once in a while I capture a cringe or two during the Best Man’s speech which is always entertaining!
The Evening Reception
The evening reception is a great time to capture people letting their hair down. Once they have a drink or two and the formalities are over people relax. I love it when people get on the dance floor even before the First Dance! Of course I’m there to capture the couple’s first dance, but I always get some room photos to capture the evening atmosphere. I also like to stay for a few minutes after first dance to take some dancing photos.
Once in a while a couple will ask if I can stay past the First Dance and this is definitely an optional extra for those who’d like to capture more of the dancing.
What Will You Choose?
Talking with your partner about the most important sections of the wedding day can really help with your decision on how long to hire your wedding photographer for. A smaller package is a fantastic option for those on a super strict budget, or for those having a tiny wedding or elopement. If you’re having a big wedding most likely you’d like it captured from start to the evening reception!
Interested in finding out more? Drop my a line via my Contact page and I’ll get in touch very soon!