How Many Wedding Photos Should I Get?

Elopement Tips & Advice,
7 min read May 14, 2024
How Many Wedding Photos Should I Get

Booking wedding vendors can be overwhelming, and finding the right professional for elopement photography is no exception. Just one of the many questions you’ll likely have during your search is, “how many wedding photos should I get?”

There are a few universal truths to remember about photos before your big day: Every professional wedding photographer approaches photo packages differently; quality and quantity can be equally important; and no matter how many photos you get, you’re only going to pick a few favorites to print or post.

With all of this in mind, this guide is here to help you approach your photographer search with an ideal photo count—a vision that makes sense for capturing every important moment at a budget perfect for you.

Ideal Photo Count for a Wedding Day 

How many wedding images do you get when you book a professional photographer? Every photography vendor has a different approach to delivery, but a few factors generally influence how many pictures you’ll receive:

  • Package price – If you have a limitless budget, you might hire a photographer who will bring a few apprentices to shoot non-stop throughout your event. With more than a few camera-wielders circling the dancefloor, you’ll likely end up with more photos than you know what to do with. If your budget is tight, you might opt for a solo photographer instead—and, naturally, they’ll take fewer photos than multiple photographers would. But remember that price doesn’t just correlate to photo quantity—check out our complete guide to wedding photography pricing to learn more.
  • Event duration – If you’re hosting a fifteen-minute ceremony, half-hour cocktail hour, and two-hour reception (so, less than three total hours), there will simply be fewer moments for photos than there would be at a 6-hour wedding. That said, if you want to optimize your photo count for a shorter event, consider hiring a second photographer (or ask your primary photographer to bring a few apprentices).
  • Booking duration – No matter the length of your celebration, your specific photography package will determine how long your artist will stay to capture moments at your event. The longer your photographer is on the scene, the more photos they’ll take.

It’s difficult to estimate how many photos you’ll receive without knowing more details about your photographer, your chosen package, and your event.

Let’s plan your stress-free elopement. Start today!

How Photo Quantity Varies with Wedding Size 

It’s not just the duration of a ceremony that determines photo count—the sheer size of your event is also a factor. And photo counts add up fast.

According to most must-do wedding photo checklists, you’ll likely take at least:

  • One photo with each person in the wedding party
  • Two group photos with the wedding party
  • Two family photos
  • One group photo with each individual family

For couples with large wedding parties and long guest lists, these family portraits and group photos alone will stack up. And this is just a fraction of the photos most couples typically take—don’t forget about:

  • Reception photos
  • “Getting ready” photos
  • Audience photos during the ceremony

Your photographer will likely try to take at least one photo of everyone in the wedding party in the “getting ready” suite, photos of the audience from multiple angles (to include as many people as possible) during the ceremony, and take the latter approach at the reception, too.

So, in many cases, there’s an undeniable link between the number of wedding guests and the number of shots your photographer will take.

How Many Wedding Photos Should I Get

Quality vs. Quantity: What Matters More? 

There’s something to be said for both quality and quantity when it comes to wedding images:

  • Your wedding will likely be one of the most important moments of your life; so, documenting it with high-quality photos is, for most couples, a high priority. These are the photos you’ll hang in your family home, give to your wedding party and family as gifts, and revisit for decades to come. When it comes to wedding photos, an investment in quality makes perfect sense.
  • Your wedding is also a unique opportunity to take professional photos with your nearest and dearest—you don’t get a chance to do that during every barbecue, family dinner, or camping trip. So, it makes sense to want a high quantity of photos to document the joy of your big day, especially if you have a long guest list and a beautiful wedding venue.

Quality and quantity matter somewhat equally when it comes to wedding photos. In terms of quality, you want photos that:

  • Capture the curated vision and mood of your event
  • Flatter you, your spouse, and your guests
  • Deserve a place in photo frames, wedding albums, and other keepsakes

But quantity matters, too:

  • Your guest list will be highly intentional—so, you should try your best to get a photo of (or with) everyone you invited to your event.
  • Your wedding day will be incredibly special for you and your spouse, and you want to document this once-in-a-lifetime event thoroughly.
  • While you’ll likely want some portrait sessions or staged photos (family photos, for instance), you might also envision more than a few candids in your wedding album.

Wedding photos are a rare instance where more is somewhat synonymous with better. So, you should try your best to find a photographer who can capture as many moments as you’d like.

How Many Wedding Photos Should I Get

What to Expect from Different Wedding or Elopement Photography Packages 

Wedding photography packages can vary widely, and knowing the answer to “how much should wedding photos cost” is the perfect first place to start when setting your budget. While you search for the perfect artist, you should expect to see packages structured around:

  • Stages – Many photographers choose to charge by the “stage”—some packages might include ceremony and reception photos only, while others include more wedding day stages like getting ready, cake-cutting, or departing the venue.
  • Products – Photographers offer many different products for couples. You should expect to see offers for edited digital albums, complete raw file albums (including outtakes), printed photo books, framed collages, and other physical or digital assets.
  • Time – During your search, you’ll likely find photographers who charge by the hour—but this isn’t the most common way for today’s artists to structure their packages. In a situation where quality and quantity matter equally, consider budgeting for more time than you’d expect. If your event runs longer than planned, you’ll still cherish those late-night candids from your special day.

Of course, some wedding vendors will account for all three of these elements in their custom packages. So, a hypothetical wedding photography package menu might look like this:

  • Package 1 – Ceremony, group, and reception photos totaling three hours; couples will receive an edited digital album.
  • Package 2 – “Getting ready,” ceremony, group, reception, and dancing photos totaling five hours; couples will receive an edited digital album and a framed collage.
  • Package 3 – “Getting ready,” ceremony, group, reception, dancing, and departure photos totaling seven hours; couples will receive an edited digital album, all raw files, and a printed photo book.

Of course, couples can also ask photographers for quotes for custom or a la carte packages. If you only want candid photos of your ceremony and reception without any staged group photos or portrait sessions of the bride and groom, but you want your photographer to keep snapping until the last guest leaves the party, consider asking for a price for the exact services you want.

Elopement as an Alternative: Photo Considerations 

Much of the advice above has applied to “traditional” weddings with guests present—but what if you and your intended are planning a romantic, adventurous elopement wedding? You’ll need to make some special considerations as you search for photographers:

  • Your shot list – During an elopement, you’ll have tons of time to savor a photo shoot with your soon-to-be spouse. To add some structure and capture your vision, consider putting together a shot list with your photographer before the event. Check out our complete guide to must-do wedding shots for tips.
  • Your adventure – Planning on eloping in a National Park? Hiking to find the perfect natural “altar” for your vow exchange? Ziplining down the aisle? Not every photographer is up to the challenge of a destination wedding shoot. Make sure that your chosen artist has a complete picture of what they’re signing up for, especially if you’re taking an unconventional approach to nuptials.
  • Timing – While you might have some structured events during your elopement (like ring exchanges or sharing vows), the rest of your event might be more open-ended. Establish a rough schedule with your photographer in advance so that you are not left with fewer images than you desire.

How Many Wedding Photos Should I Get

Check Out Our Elopement Photography Packages

Luckily, it’s never been easier to find an elopement wedding photographer who can tackle (and beautifully photograph) any one-of-a-kind elopement adventure. If you are wondering how much elopement photography costs, Simple Eloped offers special elopement photography packages starting at just $900.

All of our packages include:

  • A consultation with an expert elopement photographer
  • A play-by-play of perfect shots and special elopement moments to be captured
  • A complete digital album of edited images from your elopement

Couples have been trusting the Simply Eloped team to plan and execute their one-of-a-kind elopements and micro weddings for years—and now we’re making it even easier for today’s lovebirds to capture their unforgettable moments. Check out our elopement photography packages now.

Plan Your Perfect Elopement with Simply Eloped

So, how many wedding photos do you get when you book a wedding photographer? It’s hard to estimate or even provide a range—the length of your event, your price point, the size of your event, and numerous other factors play a role in your total album size.

While wedding photo counts can be unpredictable, wedding planning doesn’t have to be—especially when you partner with Simply Eloped.

For years, Simply Eloped has been helping today’s most adventurous couples plan, execute, and document their one-of-a-kind elopements and micro-weddings. If you’re looking for an expert event planning partner who truly gets your vision, we’re a match made in heaven.

Check out our all-inclusive elopement packages and start planning your wedding now.

 

Sources: 

  1. BeArt Presets. How Many Pictures Should a Wedding Photographer Provide?. https://www.beart-presets.com/blog/how-many-photos-wedding-photographer-provide
Elopement Tips & Advice
Written by Janessa White

Janessa White is the co-founder of Simply Eloped and has helped thousands of couples plan elopements. As an expert in the field, she has been featured on Martha Stewart, Brides.com, Vox, and HuffPost. Janessa thinks elopements are the ultimate way to tie the knot.