January 17, 2019

The Actual Time Wedding Photographers Spend on Each Couple

I often come across forum posts *ranting* about how much money photographers charge for their services. The line that makes me giggle the most is when people say, oh that photographer charges $4,000 for 8 hours of work and make $500 per hour. Believe me, I wish that were the case!

Even if a photographer only worked those 8 hours, they’d still have to pay their 2nd photographer, assistant, editor, etc. There are tons of posts on why photographers and other small and large businesses charge what they charge, so this post won’t focus on that subject. Rather, I’ll be opening your eyes to the actual time wedding photographers spend on each couple. You’ll probably be quite surprised!

*Note that this estimate is mostly customized to my streamlined workflow and is generalized as much as possible to the average wedding photographer for an 8 hour wedding day package. Also, this would be most accurate for those photographers who value not only the images, but also the service they provide!

The Actual Time Wedding Photographers Spend on Each Couple 

Booking: 1.5 to 2.5 Hours

  • Initial emails, phone consultation, follow up information
  • (Optional): In-person consultation
  • Booking process, thank you note, welcome information

Engagement Session: 5.5-8 Hours

  • Researching engagement locations
  • Preparing and total driving time
  • Engagement session
  • Ship film, downloading, culling, editing
  • Blogging the session (includes exporting for blog)
  • Uploading full gallery and notifying client


Wedding Planning + Wedding Day: 21-29.5 Hours

  • Sending and reading questionnaires, timeline planning, etc.
  • Cleaning and packing gear, preparing SD cards, reviewing details with wedding team
  • Travel to and from wedding
  • Shooting the wedding
  • Shipping film, downloading, culling, editing
  • Blogging the wedding (includes exporting, writing, filling out vendor credits, etc.)
  • Uploading full gallery and notifying client

Miami Vizcaya Wedding Photography, Cavin Elizabeth Photography, bridal portrait with bouquet 

Album: 2-3.5 Hours

  • Choosing album images and exporting for design
  • Design first version of album and send to client
  • Make requested changes to album and sent to client
  • (Optional) Make 3rd round of changes and send to client
  • Export final design and order from lab
  • Inspect, package, and deliver album

That 8 hour wedding package suddenly seems like a lot more work for your photographer with them working from 30 to 43 hours, doesn’t it? Honestly, some photographers probably spend even more time if they don’t have as organized and systematic of a workflow as I do or if they live in a rural area and always have to travel far for shoots, weddings, and meetings. Some photographers might spend less time per wedding, especially if they shoot film and require much less time editing.

This post at least gives you a much more educated perspective of the actual time wedding photographers spend on each couple. 30-40 hours is way more time that just the 8 hours of shooting on the wedding day, so do keep this in mind when searching for and hiring your wedding photographer!


Love this article thank you for explaining to clients that don’t realise the amount of work that goes into their photos before the day, and once I get home!!