• Ask Anything

There are so many different questions that we receive from our inquiries. We have found that we attract less and less clients with differing views on coverage when we blog and share about what is truly an ideal wedding day. We believe that eight hours of coverage is ideal for a perfect day. We won’t shoot weddings for less than 8 hours unless it’s a VERY specific situation (like a destination wedding or elopement). We need that 8 hours to truly tell the story of the day and after 7 years in business, we’ve realized that this is the only way we want to shoot a wedding.

(Please note: This is just OUR opinion, not every photographer will have this same approach to a wedding day and thats ok!)

Not only do we want to have more time to tell the story, we also want to give our couples a stress free wedding day. Photographers always ask us “How do you consistently shoot the same amount of portraits at EVERY wedding?”… Well, we require the same experience!

When we receive an email from a bride and groom and they share that they only want 4 hours of coverage, I have one of two options. 1. I can educate them about our Wedding Experience and why we need a minimum of 8 hours or 2. I can refer them to a friend whose still only requires 3-4 hours of coverage.

Normally we can tell whether or not the couple just needs to be educated about the timeline of the wedding day or if photography isn’t a priority for them. If photography isn’t a high priority, they would be better served by someone else. We work with couples who put a HIGH value on their pictures and so if I want to maintain my ability to shoot a ton of portraits, great details and still have time for candids, I need to continue to work with photo-loving clients that invest in ample coverage! (please note: There are some exceptions to this. If you’re a bride who loves photography but had an abnormally short wedding day, that’s awesome! … But you may not be the best fit for us.)

So, if you’re a photographer that needs to explain to clients why 4 hours isn’t the best option for wedding day coverage OR if you’re a bride that has never heard this explained, here are a few things we share when we educate about the wedding day timeline:

  1. If you want to receive an experience like what you have seen in our wedding blog posts, you will need a minimum of eight hours of coverage.
  2. Our WEDDING EXPERIENCE includes eight hours of coverage because after shooting over 150 weddings, we’ve realized that we do our BEST work in an 8 hours timeframe!
  3. Your timeline needs to be written realistically. If you cram everything into 4-6 hours because you want to save money, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. You’re ASKING for a stressful day. Build your timeline realistically and allow your photographer to have adequate time for each part of the day.
  4. If you’re sharing a FIRST LOOK (which we HIGLY recommend), we’ll be starting approximately 3 hours before the ceremony. While this extends the amount of coverage you’ll need, you will have more time with guests, more time with just each other and 40% more portraits! It’s a win-win-win!
  5. As a photographer, I want the best for you. I also want to maintain my consistent style and serve my clients well and I know that I cannot accomplish that within confines of 4 hours of coverage.
  6. Last but not least, if you want creative images, that requires time! The following images were captured because we had time to be artistic!! :


xoxo, Katelyn
24 Comments Ask Anything, Education
  1. Anna K. reply

    Love this and it’s so true! 8 hours is the PERFECT amount of time!

  2. Mylah Renae reply

    Thank you for sharing! That helps me to remain steadfast in my 8-hour package!
    PS – I love the last photo with the flower petals being thrown!

  3. Natalie reply

    Love this post! Oh, how I love this post!

  4. Lindsay Colson reply

    Perfect explanation! Spot on with each point!

  5. Danielle reply

    So do you have an amount of hours that you cap your coverage at? We often end up shooting 12-15 hour wedding days because our collections include “all day coverage” and we are absolutely exhausted after days like that (not to mention the couples are, too!). Do you recommend educating clients on how to shorten their timelines?

    • Katelyn James reply

      I wouldn’t offer all day!! You de-value your hourly rate by not having one. If they need more hours, gift them! Then you’re a hero and you’re not there for 15 hours!

    • Danielle reply

      Thank you! We have been contemplating this for a year now. Hearing you put it so succinctly really sways me to want to change it ASAP!

  6. Megan Kelsey Marcus reply

    Ohhh I just need to either point my brides to this post or write one of my own!! Being strategic about your timeline is so important but I feel like the majority of couples don’t know this going in (I mean, I probably wouldn’t either). I’ve had a handful of brides tell me they don’t have a timeline! And then we make one together!! After reading this I think I might make a post like this too (or maybe a plus site on ShowIt) because it’s just so darn integral to having a stress free wedding day (and the best experience with your photographer and wedding day images)!! Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Loren reply

    Do you only offer an 8 hour package? Or do you offer other packages that include 10,12 hours?

  8. Sarah Bradshaw reply

    Hellllloooooooo, sexy text overlay!!! :D Seriously love this. Great post!

  9. Katie reply

    Yes! 8 hours is the perfect amount of coverage :) Totally agree with you!

  10. Nicole reply

    Great read as usual. I love your wording on explaining the duration, I feel like clients think it’s photographers being greedy when it really isn’t.

  11. ETT reply

    Not every wedding is an all day “event” requiring an 8 hour photography timeline, however. Your refusal to offer a shorter package does make it seem as though you are only interested in the money that comes with the big splashy wedding day, which I am sure is not your intention. I think rather that imply that those requesting a 4 hour package don’t put a high priority on photographs, you should say that the weddings that require 8 hours of photography are the ones in which you excel, and therefore you may not be the best fit for smaller, less lavish weddings.

    • Katelyn James reply

      Thanks for the opinion… however, I think if you re-read the post, you’ll find that I said exactly what you advised me to say. “As a photographer, I want the best for you. I also want to maintain my consistent style and serve my clients well and I know that I cannot accomplish that within confines of 4 hours of coverage.”…. and another quote “(please note: There are some exceptions to this. If you’re a bride who loves photography but had an abnormally short wedding day, that’s awesome! … But you may not be the best fit for us.)”. The whole post talks about how ultimately, we need more time to fit our style. That’s why we rarely get emails for 4 hour wedding days… which I also shared. :)

  12. ETT reply

    Thanks :-)

  13. Andrea Brewster reply

    Ahhh… SO helpful! Thank you!!

  14. Quianna reply

    Couldn’t have set it better my self or even dream of the perfect words to educate clients. Thank you for your inspiration!

  15. Leslie reply

    So truuuuueee! – I’ve also found sometimes for larger weddings (weddings with 26 people in the bridal party and separate locales for getting ready, ceremony, and reception)) – 9 hours is still pushing it! ha. – Especially since in the South brides really want you there for the entire 4 hour reception!

  16. Amanda reply

    This is so great, Thanks Katelyn!

  17. Jill reply

    Katelyn, this is so helpful!!! You said above- one package- and if you believe they need more time, you gift it- as in, if a bride swears they need 10 hours because they need you at the exit and the end and it’s important them, you just stay with no hourly rate? I love the idea of gifting it- but always thought I needed an hourly rate!

  18. Catherine Dumontet reply

    Great post Katelyn ! And what do you do with small weddings ? The ones that have only 30 guests let’s say? When the couple say they don’t think they need photos during the evening because they won’t do a first dance ?

  19. Ashley reply

    This and the email you sent today are so helpful!! Thanks for taking time to share your honest experience and expertise!

  20. Leslie Chinchilla reply

    Hello Katelyn,

    Do you take any regards in how much the couple can afford for the pictures and video? I work for a non-profit program and usually–they dont pay very well. Also, we live in Los Angeles and am sure that you guys charge for that as well.

    Thank you and you do wonderful work!

    Leslie Chinchilla

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