Wondering what you should receive in your wedding photography package?

You might be feeling overwhelmed trying to decide what you should receive as part of your wedding photography package deliverables!

If you’re searching for a wedding photographer, you’re no doubt faced with a barrage of unfamiliar terms that come with photographers’ packages. 

No doubt you’ve seen terms like ‘gallery’, ‘album’, ‘sneak peek’, but maybe you’re not 100% clear on what that means.

In this article, I will explain what’s typically included in wedding photographers’ packages and what you can expect to receive at the end of your wedding photography process.

Prefer to watch in video format? Check out the video linked here or embedded below:

I love simplifying complex topics, so join me as I break down some common wedding photography jargon into layman’s terms. You can figure out whether the packages you’re reviewing from your shortlist of wedding photographers are worth it! 

Packages vary in what they include. Some may only cover the photographer’s shooting time, with additional products and services charged separately – an à la carte model. Other photographers may bundle printed products, planning assistance, photo booths, second shooters, and engagement sessions within their packages. It depends on how they’re structured their offerings. Let’s dive into wedding photographers’ packages and what they usually include!

what's included within a typical wedding photo package?

Photography coverage

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✅

photos of wedding photographer at work
The photographer at work shooting weddings | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

The basic core of any wedding photography package is the coverage of the actual wedding day.  ‘Coverage’ or ‘hours’ refers to the amount of time the photographer has arranged to photograph the various parts of your wedding day.

One important aspect is that photography coverage with a wedding photographer is always continuous time. It’s not possible to split it up with breaks in between. 

The number of hours is agreed upon before signing the contract. Additional hours can be added at a later date (and with ZLP, those ‘extra hours’ are never at a higher rate, even if they are added on the wedding day itself). Some photographers may charge an overtime rate if staying for longer than originally contracted. It’s best to check first. 

Booked hours cannot be reduced once booked and confirmed (that is, your package can’t be downgraded) as we are turning away other weddings. If in doubt though, err on the lower side rather than too many hours. This is especially true as when you book a photographer, you will likely not have all the details of your timeline in place already. 

Any established photographer will have a minimum number of hours (or lowest package) they can offer. More about how minimums work when you book with us are included in the pricing guide. There’s more context below on the linked article to help you understand why.

READ MORE  Why are there minimum photography hours for weddings?

Professionally Edited Photos

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✅

Zoe Larkin Photographer bay area wedding photographer
Wedding photographers offer edited photos | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

After the wedding, the photographer will select ALL the ‘keeper’ photos. This isn’t just the absolute best of the best – it’s anything that has value in that it’s in focus, has good expressions with open eyes, and isn’t a near-duplicate. 

READ MORE  How do wedding photographers edit photos?

They are edited for color correction, cropping, exposure and other enhancements for consistency. The goal is to make them feel faithful to the moment as well as up to our professional standards. 

The number of final photos you receive with us will typically be anywhere from 65 to 100+ per hour of photography. The number varies based on a myriad of factors including:

  • The pace of your day
  • The weather – there’s likely to be more downtime during a heatwave or heavy rain 
  • Whether you have packed a lot of events in a short time
  • Guest count
  • Guests’ interactions with the camera (sometimes people will hide from the camera or ask not to be photographed) 
  • Whether you are an expressive couple or more static 
  • Your photographer! Zoe overshoots by far the most, whereas associates vary in the typical number of files they turn in after a wedding

Online gallery

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✅

You may hear the term ‘gallery’, ‘final photos’, ‘album’ all used interchangeably. Your online gallery is a beautifully presented repository of jpeg files that your photographer has uploaded.

Instead of physical prints of your edited photos, you will view, share and download your wedding photos via a hosted space on the internet. 

The ‘gallery’ is a private, secure space accessible by a link and download PIN. In addition, you’ll have to enter your email address (this is because when you’re downloading photos, the download link will automatically be sent to the email address you entered). 

Some photographers also add a password, but we do not. 

In your online gallery, you’ll find all your edited images, neatly organized and sorted into tabs. From your gallery link, you can easily access and view your photos, share with others, and download – from any device. But there’s more… 

Online store

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✅

One of the primary features of your online gallery is the ability to purchase many types of physical (printed) products through it. This may include prints, wall art, thank-you & holiday cards, albums and books and much more. 

The benefit of using the online store is that it integrates with the very best print labs in your country – labs that are only accessible to photographers, not direct to consumer. 

This means that when you purchase a printed album through your photographer’s store, it will be of archival quality. Framed prints will have custom made-to-measure mats, color corrections applied, anti-reflective glare, and the colors will not fade so quickly in sunlight. 

Because of this, the prices for say a 4 X 6 print is higher than what you’d pay at Costco of CVS. The quality will be a night-and-day difference, especially in the years to come. You are free to print your photos using your lab or store of choice however or even print them at home. 

Wedding album

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✴️ Available for an extra cost

One thing that’s a must-get with your products is an album!

Our albums are designed by the customer themselves. We partner with several top-quality print labs that only sells through professional photographers.

Using intuitive software, you’ll be able to choose your photos, lay out your spreads how you want them, choose all your own customization options and finally place your order yourself.

You even have access to your own dedicated help team via a chat widget in the bottom right-hand corner of each screen. Pretty handy!

And the best part? Because you’re not paying for me to personally design your album for you and go through rounds and rounds of revisions, you’re saving big and getting a better quality product than you can find online through the major consumer labs.

If you’re interested in creating your own album, ask me to set this up for you (it is one extra step, but super quick and there’s no obligation if you change your mind!)

In contrast to my fully self-service options, where the album is simply part of your print store, some photographers prefer to retain control over all creative aspects, including designing the album from scratch for each client. Some may even offer the ability to purchase the album as part of the package, providing it is redeemed within X months or years.

Sometimes you can save more that way, so it’s always worth asking about! We don’t offer the option to purchase your album (or any print items) at the time of booking, as product pricing is dynamic and options are subject to availability which can fluctuate.

Print release

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✅

examples of products that may be available in wedding photography package
With a print release, you can create any printed item you wish | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Every wedding photographer should give their clients a print release. This is like permitting clients to use their photos for personal use. When you hire a wedding photographer, they retain copyright of the images, but you as the client can do pretty much anything with them, barring a few exceptions which I’ve outlined below. 

A print release is separate from a copyright buyout. In the latter, the photographer relinquishes their right to be recognized as the author of the images. (This is not something we offer and would be extremely costly, well into 4 figures or even more.)

To put it more simply, a print release is like a golden ticket to your wedding photos. It says “Hey, you can print and share these pics as much as you want.” 

Want to print them on a giant 20 X 30 canvas to display in your home? You can do it! Make some custom socks with your faces on them? Sure! Share the link to the photos with family members so they can print out some favorites and share them on social media? Go right  ahead! 

What isn’t included with a print release: 

  • Ability to use your wedding photos commercially (e.g. selling the photos)
  • Permission to claim authorship or ownership of the images
  • Permission not to recognize the author of the images 
  • Access to or purchasing rights to the RAW files or unedited jpegs. In my business, these are not available for purchase. 
READ MORE  Can I get all the RAW files / unedited jpegs from my wedding?

Timeline Assistance

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✅

Timeline assistance in wedding photography is like having a seasoned event planner in your corner. So many of the big events of your wedding day are set around photography, so it helps to have a photographer with hundreds of weddings under their belt to advise you and offer bespoke assistance.

This doesn’t replace a wedding planner / coordinator, of course, as they will be your boots on the ground day-of while we’re busy snapping away. 

But this expert guidance is key to determining a wedding day flow and rhythm that works for you so we are freed up to capture all your essential moments. 

Prebooking Consultation

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✅ Available and complimentary but not usually necessary

candid photo of couple enjoying their wedding day
Ensuring you can stay in your element all day is key to natural, relaxed photos | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Most photographers offer the chance to meet in person or virtually before you sign a contract. Some even require it to ensure that it’s a good personality fit before moving forward. 

At Zoe Larkin Photography, I have chosen to invest my time and resources into content, which largely precludes the need for a pre-wedding consultation. Instead of an hour-long call that takes up the better part of an evening, there is a detailed yet concise 8-minute video you’ll be sent on inquiring. 

My reputation with hundreds of reviews, past galleries, videos, blog posts and info guides provide you with all the information you need right at your fingertips, allowing us to collaborate asynchronously. 

However, the option to book a call – whether for a vibe check or to go over questions specific to your wedding, is still there – just ask! 

Prebooking consultations are not offered for City Hall ceremonies (as my services are very templated) unless you’re planning several hours of coverage. 

For regular, more complex events you’ll have the chance to go over everything more fully on a timeline run-through call which typically takes place around a month before your wedding day. This is usually my first time ‘meeting’ the couple, as most do not need a prebooking consult or an engagement session. 

If you have booked an associate photographer, your intro meeting with them and the timeline run-through call are combined into one video call.

Additional Hours

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✴️ Available for an extra cost

extra hours as part of your wedding photography
Sometimes the best moments are at the end of the night | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Additional hours can be added to your base package if needed. For full-day weddings, 95% of our couples find 8 hours (our minimum for summer weekends) perfectly adequate. 

Additional hours are always continuous when added to the base package. They cannot be split over different days or have a gap between them. 

The only exception to this is a very special add-on I designed exclusively for San Francisco City Hall ceremonies. It does not apply to other kinds of weddings as there are very stipulations that must be met to be eligible (and is subject to availability). 

READ MORE  Split photography coverage - when you want non-continuous hours

Second Photographer

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✴️ Available for an extra cost

second photographer as a wedding photography add on
One of our awesome team members and second photographers | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Just like the name implies, a second shooter is an additional professional photographer present on the wedding day shooting alongside the lead photographer. 

I have a full guide to whether you need a second shooter below: 

READ MORE  Do I need a second photographer at my wedding?

To summarize, in my experience, a second shooter is most valuable when one or more of the following conditions are in place: 

  • The two partners are getting ready in far-apart locations.
  • You don’t want to spend hours of the timeline with ‘getting ready’ photos so want to do them simultaneously instead of stacked. 
  • You’d like different angles of the same thing, for instance, the bride’s face as she walks down the aisle and also the back of the long train from behind. 
  • There are events taking place simultaneously (for example, once, the second photographer had to shoot all the reception details as soon as the room was set up while I photographed the first look and couples’ portraits).
  • You are not having a first look and would like photos of cocktail hour mingling and guest candids while the lead photographer captures the formal family/wedding party groupings and potentially romantics too. 
  • You have a guest count of over ~120.
  • Your planner advises it would be necessary given the logistics of your day.
  • It is your personal preference to capture every moment (a second photographer will greatly increase your final photo count!)

Be sure to ask your photographer whether this is a must-get, or merely a nice-to-have. I am so used to shooting weddings solo that I rarely push the idea of a second photographer unless one of the above conditions is met. 

Some photographers include a second shooter in every package. 

Others only shoot as part of a two-shooter team (for example a spouse team), but as you can imagine, they tend to be higher-priced as you’re essentially getting two ‘lead shooters’. 

Engagement Shoot

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✴️ Available for an extra cost

LGBTQ+ engagement session in San Francisco
An engagement shoot is sometimes included in a wedding photography package | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Almost all wedding photographers offer engagement shoots. (As well as proposal shoots!). Some include them in their packages as a freebie. 

This is a fantastic opportunity for couples to get comfortable in front of the camera and get some informal shots with zero pressure. 

Whether you’re booking an associate photographer or Zoe for your wedding, you can choose to have the same photographer for your engagement. Or you can mix it up – for instance you don’t have the budget to have me shoot your wedding, but you want me shooting your engagement. Whatever works! =) 

Engagement sessions with us last 1.5 hours which is pretty typical. In that time, you can opt to do just one location or two (providing they’re a short distance apart). You can add time to the 1.5-hour base package. 

I’ve included detailed information about my engagement photography services in the blog post linked below: 

READ MORE  San Francisco Bay Area Engagement Photographer

Sneak peek

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ✴️ Available for an extra cost

A sneak peek in the wedding photography realm is like a delicious teaser before the full feast. It’s a small but carefully curated selection of edited photos that you’ll receive within one week of your wedding day. 

READ MORE  What is a sneak peek in wedding photography?

Sneak peek images are edited but no fine-image retouching is included with these (as this is often outsourced to my professional retouching team). So only photos with minimal editing needs will be included in the sneak peek. This way it can be processed by me in a timely manner. 

I prepare all sneak peeks myself regardless of who photographed your wedding. I pride myself on choosing images from different parts of the event, that together are representative of the whole day. 

They typically include a selection of iconic set-piece moments as well as quieter, in-between moments and also highlight guests, decor, and the venue’s features, if applicable. 

Print credit

Included in Zoe Larkin Photography services? ❌ Not offered 

wedding albums with branded tote bag
With print credit you can purchase a variety of tangible, printed products | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Print credit in your wedding photography package means that you have credit to use against printed products such as albums, books, wall art or prints. It’s an allowance that you receive to then use against your favorite products. 

Photographers that offer this promote it as a win-win. It’s a way of incentivizing album sales after the wedding as you’ve technically already put money down in advance toward part of the album price. The money you’ve spent on credit is worth more than what you paid for it when redeemed against a product.

It also offers flexibility as you can choose what you would spend it on, whether prints, wall art, albums or books (depending on what your photographer offers). It adds a touch of excitement as couples get to actively participate in the selection and printing process. 

Print credit is a hallmark of photographers that push product sales heavily. I personally do not incentivize album sales that much as it’s never been an important part of my bottom line. However, I do make it streamlined and entirely self-service for any clients who wish to create or order products through their print store. 

Some photographers may also offer / charge for: 

rehearsal dinner coverage as part of wedding photography
Rehearsal dinner coverage can be a lovely add-on | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography
  • Bridal sessions
  • Boudoir sessions 
  • Rehearsal / welcome dinner coverage 
  • RAW files 
  • Photo booth 
  • Additional edits (for example in different styles) 
  • Day-after session 
  • Travel (fees may apply beyond the home zone) 
  • Taxes (depending on the state / business model) 

We do not offer the above items, except I do welcome travel and additional coverage for other events like welcome dinners, where available (coverage by associate photographer may be offered if Zoe is not available).


In essence, your wedding photography package is designed to provide comprehensive coverage of your special day. Over the years, we’ve realized that packages are not one-size-fits-all, and an a la carte system is the only way to ensure you’re getting what you need without paying for superfluous extras. 

Remember, these are the memories you’re going to cherish for a lifetime, so make sure you’re happy with what your package includes. Be sure to discuss your expectations with the photography business you’ve chosen to ensure you’re getting exactly what you want. Pretty much every photographer out there welcomes questions – no matter how ‘silly’ – and we’re always happy to help 🙂 

I hope this helped to gain more of an understanding as to what a wedding photography package includes! Let me know in the comments if you found it helpful 🙂

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Explore the essentials of a wedding photography package with our comprehensive guide. Learn about coverage hours, edited photos, online galleries, and more, as we unveil what to expect and how to customize your photography experience to match your unique wedding day. 📷💍 #bayareawedding #sfweddingphotographer
Key Components of a Wedding Photography Package Explained

Zoe Larkin

I’m Zoe, a wedding photographer based in San Francisco! My style is candid, capturing authentic moments for my couples all over the Bay Area and Northern California. Creating content is my passion! Follow along the blog and Insta!

Understanding what's in a wedding photography package

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What does a wedding photography package typically include (and what does it all mean?!)

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