How long should my wedding photography take?

When meeting new clients who are in the process of planning a wedding, one of the most often asked questions is “How long should we allow for wedding photography?”

One of the key factors for a couple to decide, is how long they are prepared to leave their guests for between the ceremony and the reception.
If it’s a winery wedding in the Yarra Valley, most guests will happily sample the local wines whilst the bride and groom dash off amongst the vines for photos. An hour, and it’s all shot, with the couple maybe dashing out between entrees and mains to catch the last of the light in summer before rejoining their guests to continue the celebrations (usually without many of them noticing the happy couple were missing for 10 minutes!).

If the ceremony and reception venues are separate then this offers a window of opportunity to take off and get a head start on your guests. By the time the guests find their cars and negotiate the city traffic, we will already have shot our first location.

It makes sense to create a route from the ceremony location to the reception venue which is as direct as possible but also manages to include a selection of the best that Melbourne or Yarra Valley has to offer. In these circumstances, 2 hours is a perfect amount of time for photos as it allows us to get the shots we need, whilst your guests can enjoy leisurely trip across the city or region, maybe even taking in a quick refreshment en route, and not feel cheated that you’ve abandoned them. Also, it enables us to gain a selection of photos from various locations without having to charge around spending 5 minutes in each place.

I’ve been to weddings where the couple have disappeared for 3 hours and I really didn’t enjoy it – 3 hours of milling around waiting for the wedding to get going again can be a bit annoying. That said, if you’re going to leave your guests at a Yarra Valley winery enjoying the views and sampling the finest reds whilst listening to some great music and nibbling at a local cheese plate they’ll be happy for you to take your time!

In terms of the number of locations, we suggest 4 or 5 within close proximity within the city area. It makes it even easier if the locations are close together so we can walk between them and have the car pick up after so we’re not constantly in and out of cars – it never helps a wedding dress look good!
I’m also a believer in the ‘less is more’ theory, where we aim to cover one or two locations really well and in a relaxed way rather than trying to reach every corner of the city. Taking time and making the photography relaxed and enjoyable definitely gives a more relaxed and natural looking set of photos.

It’s a delicate balance planning out the days schedule, especially when you involve photography and video, so to make it easy for you, here is what we recommend as the minimum amount for wedding photography in Melbourne:

Ceremony and reception in one place: 1 hour

Ceremony and reception both within city : 2 hours

Obviously, I love to take photographs and would love to spend 3 or 4 hours with a couple, but I also realise that this is rarely feasible so whilst I have given you the figures above, do feel free to double the amounts – we’ll be to give you far more than you expect and you’ll arrive at the reception happy, relaxed and assured of some great wedding photos.

Last updated by candid wedding photographer Simon Woodcock