Suzannah McFall

May 11, 2023

How to book your wedding photogapher

Things to Think About When Booking a Wedding Photographer

My Journal

Where exactly do you start when booking a wedding photographer? Are you planning a wedding and feeling overwhelmed by all the things to consider? From choosing the perfect location and venue to deciding on the guest list, caterers, and color scheme, it’s easy to get lost in the details. But if you’re like many couples then you know that capturing the memories of your special day is a top priority. And I’m going to show you exactly how to book your wedding photographer and make it feel easy.

As a wedding photographer myself, I can tell you that your wedding photos and videos will be the most cherished items you keep from your special day. They are the only tangible memories you’ll have to share with future generations. So, how do you go about booking a wedding photographer who will capture your vision and style?

Book your wedding photographer
It’s important to have photos that capture your day and who you are!

Steps to Booking your Wedding Photographer

  • Start Early: Wedding photographers often get booked up quickly, so it’s best to start your search as soon as you set a date so you can get onto booking your wedding photographer.
  • Do Your Research: Look for photographers who have experience shooting weddings and who have a style that matches your vision. Read reviews, check out their portfolio.
  • Meet with the Photographer: Once you’ve narrowed down your list, schedule a consultation with your top choices. This is a great opportunity to get to know the photographer, discuss your vision, and make sure you’re a good fit.
  • Discuss Packages and Pricing: Make sure you understand what’s included in the photographer’s packages and how much they cost. Don’t be afraid to ask for a custom package that fits your needs.
  • Sign a Contract: Once you’ve chosen your photographer sign a contract that outlines all the details. This includes the date, time, and location of the wedding, the services provided, and the pricing.
  • Pay the deposit: Most photographers won’t officially confirm your date until you have paid a deposit. This can be anything from 20 to 50% of the total package price.

How Many Hours Do I Need to Book My Wedding Photographer?

This is a great question! And you don’t know the answer straight away. I recommend planning a rough timeline of the day to see and thinking about what aspects of the day are important for you to have captured. It’s a good idea to have thought about this before you book your wedding photographer.

Once you have thought about these two things, take a look at this table and see where you fit. This will give you a good idea of the hours of wedding photography coverage you most likely will need:

How many hours should I book a wedding photographer for?

Planning Your Wedding Timeline

  • Do you want a first look? If you don’t know much about a first look, I can send you a some great information on why I think it is a great idea. Reach out to me and I’ll send it your way.
  • Are you going to have a second photographer? Second photographers are really helpful for couples who want both groom and bride ‘getting ready’ photos captured. Also for those weddings that have than 100 guests.
  • What time is sunset? The 30 minutes before sunset is the best time to get some portrait photos. I always encourage my couples to schedule in 15 minutes to sneak away from their reception to capture some images at this time of the evening. This means that it’s necessary to schedule the reception events around this sunset window so that everything runs smoothly.
  • How long do you want your speeches? I have been to weddings where speeches have taken 2 hours! No joke! Whilst speeches are important, they cut into time for other things, like dancing and mingling wth guests. Ask your speakers to keep their speeches short, actually give them a maximum time, and limit the amount of people who speak to only those who are really important to you.
  • What are the other events that you want to happen at your reception? Generally there are always speeches, the cake cutting and a first dance. But often there are performances, games, and other events. Some couples choose to toss the bouquet, pour a champagne tower, organise a sparkler exit. All these things are great to have captured by your photographer but if you don’t have time for everything you need to prioritise the events that are most important and place them first in your reception timeline.

Sample of a Wedding Timeline

Here is a sample of an 8 hour wedding timeline that you can use to get a rough idea of how to plan your own schedule:

13:00 – Photographer Arrives -Begins with the Details

13:15 – Hair & Makeup Finished

13:30 – Dress On, followed by Jewellery/Shoes/etc…

13.45 – First Look (Bridesmaids/Father of the Bride)

14:00 – Bride & Bridesmaids Portraits

14:30 – Travel to Ceremony location

15:00 – Ceremony Begins

15:30 – Ceremony Ends

15:40 – Congratulations and Greetings/Canapés

16:00 – Full group Photo

16:10 – Family Portraits & Friend Group Photos

16:30 – Wedding Party Portraits

17:00 – Bride & Groom Portraits

17:30 – Bride & Groom spend a moment together

17:30 – Guests are Seated for Dinner

17:45 – Grand Entrance to Reception

18:00 – Food, Speeches & Cake cutting

20:00 –Sunset Couple shoot (as per local sunset time)

20:30 – First Dance, Dance-floor Opens

21:00 – Photography coverage ends

If you decide to have a first look then you would need to shuffle things around. Feel free to reach out to me and I can provide you with a time line that includes a first look.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to keep in mind that planning a wedding involves many details, and booking a photographer is just one piece of the puzzle. However, it’s worth noting that photographers can provide valuable guidance throughout the planning process. From the initial consultation to the final delivery of photos, we are there every step of the way. With this in mind, it’s important to consider the benefits of having a photographer who is knowledgeable about the wedding industry and can offer helpful insight.

Ultimately, choosing the right photographer is an investment in your memories that will last a lifetime. So, take the time to research, meet with potential photographers, and ask questions. And remember, while there may be many things to consider when planning your wedding, booking a photographer is a crucial element that can help ensure your day is captured beautifully. In conclusion, there is much more to planning a wedding than just booking a photographer, but it’s worth considering the value that photographers can bring to the process.

I personally really enjoy getting into the nitty gritty with my clients and helping them to get through the planning aspect of their day. If you are in need of any help with this please reach out and I will do what I can to make your day work for you in the best way so that you get the most out of your photography!

Keen to Know More?

Please come and find me on Instagram and reach out to me with any wedding related questions! You can find me HERE

I also have a VIP Facebook group that is a great place for learning and gaining insightful information for how to plan your wedding day as well as make the most of your wedding photography. Click HERE to join.

Thanks for making it to the end! I know that was a wordy post but I hope you found it helpful. If you are interested in hearing more about my wedding photography, I am based in Auckland but I am happy to travel and service right throughout New Zealand. I’d love to hear from you and learn all about your up coming day. If you would like to book a consultation, click HERE and we can be chatting up a storm in no time. If you book me as your wedding photographer, I will be so honoured and you can be sure that you will be in for the greatest wedding experience.

See you next time

Suzannah xoxo

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