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For you, your Wedding Day is all day long. It starts when you wake up at 5am and can’t fall back asleep. And it ends at midnight when you’re sleepy/love-drunk, staring at you and your bffs new sparkly rings! 😍
But for me, your Wedding Day only lasts for our allotted coverage time. And if you really think about it, in the future that will be what you remember too. Your final photo gallery will be what you think back on twenty years from now. As your real memories fade, they’ll be replaced by your wedding photos because you can look at those over and over!
So your natural thought may be – how can I fit all of the memories I want in those 8 hours??
This is a question I get from couples throughout the entire time we’re working together. It comes up at the beginning, when they’re thinking about what package they should book. It comes up when we start talking about the timeline, and we’re able to visualize the day better. Even on the day of, it comes up when they start to wonder if we’re off schedule!
While I wish I could just follow you around with my camera literally all day long, that would be a) exhausting tbh and b) unnecessary to really capture your day. Part of our craft is encompassing your whole wedding day, your whole love story, and you in your final gallery! I promise it can be done 🥰
Before I get into my top three hacks to get the most out of your photog coverage, I’ve got to explain one thing.
Let’s start by thinking about your day in pictures. My Tuesday Tip video from earlier this month (click here to watch!) talks more about this but I’ll give you a little recap!
Basically, our start time and end time will greatly affect what ends up in your final photo gallery.
Simply put, let’s say we deliver 100 photos per hour of coverage time. For 8 hours, you get 800 photos.
If you put 2 of those coverage hours at the end of your reception, when everyone is hanging out on the dance floor (what we call “open dancing”) then 200 of your 800 photos will be dance floor photos.
That’s a quarter of your wedding gallery…!
That is very simplified, but I think it shows the importance of when our start time is and how coverage really affects what your gallery will look like!
Overall, I think that the most important thing you can do to help this is to think about your photography coverage not as hours on your schedule. But moments being captured at specific times of the day.
Okay, now that we’re on the same page, here are my top three hacks, to get the most out of your photog coverage!
This is the number one way to get hours back in your photography coverage. In my opinion, after seeing dozens of wedding days with a first look and without a first look, it completely changes your day for the better.
If you’re like wait what is a first look…? Click here where I explain it all!
Aside from the emotional part (because we’d never get to my 2nd hack…) a first look is logistically a wedding day dream.
Basically, it flip flops your photo-timeline. There are pockets of time during the morning where your photographers aren’t being utilized. We cannot shoot the majority of portraits because we’re trying to keep our couple from seeing each other.
Having a first look uses every second of your pre-ceremony coverage. Which means post-ceremony, you can focus on actually enjoying your cocktail hour and reception. And your photographers can be busy capturing all the fun!
If you want a quick recap on the logistical and emotional benefits to a first look, watch this video!
In the same way engagement sessions can really help your wedding day experience, bridal sessions are a game changer. They make your photo experience on your wedding day a breeze!
It’s all about practice and comfortability. The more time you spend with your photographer the more they’ll feel like a friend (hi!!).
And the more time you spend in your wedding dress, the more confident you’ll feel. The more photos you’ve seen of your bad self, the more excited you’ll be to wear it all day!
I love bridal sessions, not just because they’re so much fun. And also not because I just love spending time with my HM brides (that’s like…50% of it though ngl). When we launched back in February and restructured our packages, I was adamant that a bridal session be included in one of them!
I won’t get too into it in this blog post because I’ve gone on and on before. If you want some further reading here are some great ones:
So the more comfortable you feel, the more relaxed you can be for portraits, the quicker and more efficient we can be with our time together!
Sooo…what the heck is a controlled send off? This used to be my big *secret* when it comes to maximizing coverage. But it is the number one way to get time back on your wedding day. So I can’t hide it from you any longer!!
It goes back to balancing your wedding day coverage. In my experience, most of our couples value the getting ready portion of the day equal to their send off.
But usually because of how late receptions can go, it’s impossible to get both of those to fit in a standard 8 hours of coverage.
Obviously, you can avoid sacrificing one or the other by having a short reception, or adding additional coverage time. But that’s not what this post is about! 😉
A controlled exit is great for your guests because it gives the party a second wind. It gives them a reason to get up out of their seats and get back on the dance floor.
More importantly, is great for you because you get coverage time back at the start of the day. Remember when I talked about how 2 hours of open dancing = 25% of your final photo gallery? What if instead you got just 1 hour of open dancing, and an extra hour at the beginning of the day when you’re spending time with your best friends and your family?
You may be thinking what on earth is a controlled exit anyway?? And I have good news for you, friend.
If you want to learn more about what controlled send offs are and how we handle them. I have a freebie that tells you the two ways you can do it, and helps you decide what’s right for you.
Would you consider doing any of these 3 hacks to get the most out of your photo coverage? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!
We are an Austin, Texas-based wedding photography duo committed to celebrating your Big Day by capturing every joyous, unscripted moment.