Getting ready for our summer of weddings – how long does a one hour portrait take a photographer?

With the weather warming a little and summer on the horizon the start of our season of weddings isn’t far away now. With so few weddings each winter we always do some extra work early in the season to prepare for our weddings by photographing portraits for a few couples. Getting ready for our first portrait today it got me thinking about how long a one hour portrait session really takes a photographer. Read on for more.

Here’s how I break down the time it takes to do a one hour portrait session:

  • An hour or so chatting with the couple or family, organising places and times, talking about clothing and what they’d like out of their portraits
  • Around 1-2 hours in the days leading up to the portrait, charging batteries (we take around 100 batteries to a wedding, about half that to a portrait), cleaning and checking equipment
  • An hour or so checking out pinterest and photography blogs to keep up with the latest trends and styles
  • Usually around an hours round trip to the site of the portraits, as they’re often done on the beach or in beautiful remote locations
  • An hour or two actually taking photos
  • A couple of hours choosing the best images and doing the basic editing on the images
  • An hour showing the customers their photos, finding out what they like, what they’d like to order
  • 1-2 hours on retouching the images to get them ready for print, then sending them to the lab
  • An hour or so checking the prints for quality, packaging up the prints, and giving the prints to the customers. If any of the prints aren’t quite right it takes a little more time to reprocess them, send them to the lab, and check them when they arrive back


All up that comes to around thirteen hours for your one hour portrait session! Of course if you’re doing a lot of portraits in a short space of time that drops a little. It’s a fun low pressure way to help dust off the cobwebs and get ourselves ready for our summer of weddings 🙂


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