Photography Packages: Be Sure To Get The Coverage You Need!

Tip: Try to avoid hourly photography packages that will see your photographer leaving early on during, or half-way through, your reception.

Sacramento’s professional photographers and videographers are some of the hardest working wedding vendors around!  Quite often, along with DJs (often the first vendor to arrive at your location, and the last to leave) they are also some of the LONGEST working wedding professionals you are hiring.

Their days start very early on with shots of you and your party getting ready, and often involve travel between several different locations.

For this coverage, many, or perhaps maybe even most photographers charge an hourly rate for their time and talents.  As with anything else, these rates can add up fast, but trust me – if you’re working with a true professional (especially one from my preferred vendor list:, they are worth so much more than you are paying!

Please note:  While I’m suggesting in this article that we maximize and make the most of your wedding day photography coverage, I would never recommend hiring a less-experienced photographer who is “cheaper” simply because you will get “more time.”  Just as with DJs, you’ll only get one shot or chance to “get it right.”  It is better to work within the limitations of your budget with a quality provider, or even re-evaluate your budget itself for the sake of quality, than it is to sacrifice quality itself.

Understanding the investment you make in your choice of wedding photographer and videographer, I would suggest, wherever possible, that you consider arranging enough hourly coverage to last you until at least 2 hours before your reception is slated to end.  They don’t need to stick around to take umpteen-million photos of folks dancing and having a good time, but it is important that they are scheduled long enough to allow for, and to capture, a thoughtfully-designed and smooth-flowing event that has the best interests of your guests’ enjoyment – and NOT your vendors scheduled – as first priority.

Why is this important?  Well, if your photographer has to leave much earlier than a couple of hours prior-to the scheduled end-time of your reception, one of two things will happen.

Events and special dances at your reception will have to be arranged and crammed together “up-front” so your photographer can capture all the important shots “before they leave,” or they will miss some of them altogether when they do!

Why does this matter?  Your wedding DJ will work closely with you in the months leading up to your wedding to develop a smoothly progressing event flow that has dynamics, and that will ebb and flow from one event to the next.

This flow is determined ahead of time with you, and takes into account your desires for your wedding day celebration, the demographics of your guests, vendor & venue logistics, and so much more.  This means that some events will tend to be “spread out,” separated by segments of open dancing to avoid your guests (and you) feeling rushed, or like you’re just being pulled from one event to the next.  Your timeline should allow your reception (and you) to “breathe.”

In short, there is a lot that goes into planning a deliberately smooth-flowing, and stress-free reception, and both of those things can be lost if we end up having to “rearrange” or “move up” special events and dances last-minute because of scheduling limitations brought about by poor planning or budget limitations.

When reserving your photographer, you should be sure to reserve their talents long enough that they are able to focus on you, and do what they do best…  Which at the end of the day, is capturing your thoughtfully-planned and well-executed wedding day celebration!

An entertainment schedule that is cut short or rearranged last-minute because of limited vendor coverage isn’t conducive to your primary goals going into your wedding day, and can work against you.

Sometimes though, budget constraints do see us needing to cut coverage shorter than we might like.  When this happens, it is vital that your DJ/MC know about the time-frames involved ahead of time so this can be taken into account when developing your itinerary, and so he/she can be on the same page with your photographer prior-to the wedding day itself as to the schedules and timelines involved.  Proactive communication and a team-player attitude are required from all your vendors!

When you work with me, I will always find out how long your other vendors are going to be present, and will communicate with them before your wedding, getting them copies of our timeline, synchronizing our timeline with their photography schedule, etc..

This communication, and the drive behind it is never one-sided either.  This pro-active communication helps meet your photographer’s needs and allows us to achieve all of your objectives as well!   We’ll coordinate on the timing and placement of certain special shots that you would like to capture.  It allows us to place them when and where they make the most sense based on any number of variables.  Some examples of common shots that need to be thoughtfully placed within your reception timeline include Sunset Shots, and group photos with all of your guests and wedding party.  When it comes to group photos in particular, there are many variables that can play into the best timing and placement, including venue layout, time of day/night, and more.

You should expect no less than this type and level of communication between all of the vendors you decide to work with on your wedding day!

Bottom line:  You’re hiring and entrusting your DJ/MC with the overall success of your wedding day.  It only makes sense that you’d want your photographer and videographer to be able to capture as many of those special memories and moments as they can!