Cost of a wedding photographer in Calgary

An informative look at what a wedding photographer charges per hour?

We often hear people talking about how much their wedding photographer charges per hour. “They only work for ten hours and yet charge thousands of dollars” we regularly hear. The reality is much further from the truth. Let’s look at how our wedding fee is split up. First, we will look at the hours actually spent on each wedding.

When we receive the wedding inquiry, we put together a custom information package detailing all the pricing for the particular wedding. If the wedding is outside the city of Calgary, we research the costs associated with permits and travel fees. We then meet the clients for a wedding consult to explain our photography style and process, as well as to answer questions they may have, This session usually lasts for one to one and a half hours, on top of the initial exchange of emails.

We then conduct an engagement session with our couple. While the session itself lasts for two hours, we spend several hours researching new locations so that each client gets something unique to them. Once the session is complete, we edit the photos and upload them to our website. For every hour of photography, we typically spend a minimum of two hours culling, editing, exporting, and uploading photos. This engagement session, therefore, adds an additional eight hours of time.

Between the engagement session and wedding, we have multiple emails regarding scheduling and timelines, transportation, photo locations, and transportation. These emails and conversations add another 4 hours of time as all the details are sorted out.

Just days prior to the wedding, we begin the task of prepping all our equipment. Batteries all need charging, memory cards sorted and formatted, and a thorough check to ensure all our equipment, and backup equipment is all accounted for. These checks add several more hours to the timeline.

On the wedding day itself, gear is loaded and we make an early start to the wedding site where the bride and groom are getting ready. Photography on the wedding day typically lasts for ten hours. After the day, equipment has to be reloaded and cleaned up from the wedding reception venue, we head home again and equipment must once again be put away. With the large value of equipment, we have to be sure it is not left sitting unsecured, After a long day, we still have things that need to be done. The 4000 plus images are downloaded to our computer and the back-up process is started.

Calgary wedding photographer charges per hour 2
Calgary wedding photographer charges per hour

At this point, the post-processing work begins. We go through every single photo looking for images that are out of focus, duplicate, or have other technical errors with them. We then go through the photos a second time looking for groups of photos, picking out the best one or two photos that will tell the story. and show the best emotion. Once we have culled down to the selection of photos we are going to give to the client, the editing begins. We now go through every photo once again, this time doing the basic adjustments to bring out the best of each photo.

Adjustments to exposure, contrast, shadows, hue, detail enhancement, and a wide assortment of other variables are all individually adjusted. As we go through, we identify photos that have random strangers in the background, odd shadows, or other items that distract from the photo.

Once we have individually adjusted every photo, we go back and do the big repairs on the photos we identified in the previous step. Each photo is brought into PhotoShop and the process of cloning, dodging and burning, and spot repairs are all done. All told the ten hours of wedding photography results in approximately 25 to 30 hours of post-production and gallery development.

Once all the photos are adjusted and looking their best, time stamps are synced from each of the cameras and each photo is placed into the best spot in the timeline to tell the story.

The photos are then exported into a format that can be viewed by the client. Once this is done, an online gallery is created and all the photos are uploaded into it. A mobile app is created and the email to the client is finally sent out.

Calgary wedding photography cost
Calgary wedding photography cost Photo Courtesy of Good Free Photos

The wedding fee doesn’t all go to the photographer. The second shooter is paid from this fee, as well as the part of the cost of our annual business licenses, for Calgary, Kananaskis, National Park, and Kneehill County must be deducted. As well, part of the cost of our business insurance is deducted from the remaining amount. Equipment costs, repairs, and replacements, accountant fees, website, and gallery hosting costs are only a small percentage of the fees that get paid out by the business.

After paying all the fees, the remaining funds are split between the 62.5 hours it took to complete the wedding. Needless to say, what the photographer charges per hour is not what you would think. We hope this provided you with an informative look at what a Calgary wedding photographer charges per hour and how those rates are determined.

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How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Charges Per Hour?


Patton Photography is a professional photography studio based out of Calgary, Alberta. Our signature style offers a clean and modern look to your photographs while maintaining a look that is romantic and whimsical. Contact us anytime to sit down over coffee for a stress-free conversation.

Average cost of a wedding photographer in Calgary

Average Cost of a Wedding Photographer in Calgary – The True Investment

Regardless of your opinions on late-night dessert buffets, fireworks, or custom ice sculptures, virtually all wedding couples will agree that beautiful wedding photography is a must!! With the many wedding photographers and photography packages, the amount of information and options are unbelievable. Let’s talk about the average cost of a wedding photographer in Calgary.

Much the same as any business, every photographer prices themselves and their packages differently. In Calgary, the average price varies between $2,500 and $6,000 for professional wedding photography services. While there are some that cost less, and a few that are more, this is the typical range for a full-day package. A major wedding publication in the United States, The Knot, did a study of 27,000 couples who married in 2019 and found that the average couple spent US$2,400 – CAD$3,025 – on their photography.

Keep in mind that this was the average across the country and fluctuated by region. Typically, in major centers, the prices will be higher due to the higher operating costs and the increased competition, while smaller towns will have more affordable options.

There are many aspects that contribute to the cost of a wedding photographer, so let’s talk about some of them.

Reasonable price of a wedding photographer in Calgary
Reasonable price of a wedding photographer in Calgary

What are the various package options that your wedding photographer is offering?

The packages that are offered will all vary, so it is important to understand what each photographer includes. The two main items will be the duration of the photography and the number of wedding photographers or assistants. Typical full-day wedding packages will usually be between 8 and 10 hours. Be sure that you find out from your photographer how many consecutive hours are included in your package and what the price will be if extra hours are required. What may seem like a reasonable price at the start can quickly spiral out of control once everything is factored in. When getting a deal on the cost of a wedding photographer, be sure to find out all the details of what is included.

There is also a major debate about how many photographers are included. Some photographers will argue that only one photographer is all you would ever need. Many photographers, myself included, believe that two photographers provide the best coverage. Watch for our upcoming blog post about all the benefits of having a second shooter on your wedding day. No matter which option you prefer, find out from the photographer, how many staff will be in attendance and if they will be in attendance for the entire duration.

Outside of those two options, there will be a variety of other possible included upgrades. Engagement sessions are a wonderful option as it allows you to get used to being in front of the camera, learn posing techniques, and ensure that you ‘click’ with your photographer. We recommend engagement sessions to all our clients and include them automatically in our main photography package.

Other options such as Wedding Albums and Print Credits are also quite often included in the prices. The quality of wedding albums varies greatly, with everything from hand-crafted Italian leather albums to smaller book-style albums. Be sure to find out the specifications of the included album, including who designs the layout, and ask to see a sample if it is possible. Print credits are a great option as they allow the client to choose what is best for them rather than being confined to a specific product. This allows you to print a variety of prints, albums, metal prints, or combinations of.

Are Your Digital Images Included?

Many photographers actually do not include high-resolution images with their packages, instead offering only low resolution or watermarked images to their clients. Ensure that you find out from the photographer what final product is included with your package. If you only receive low-resolution or watermarked images, be sure to find out the additional costs to obtain the high-resolution digital images. If your digital images are not included, what appears to be an affordable Calgary wedding photographer can actually become quite expensive if you must now also purchase the digital images. The total cost of a wedding photographer should include all your images in high resolution.

Your Photographer’s Talent and Experience

Experience counts a long way with choosing your wedding photographer in Calgary. On your wedding day, there are many ever-changing variables that can make or break a photograph. Clouds suddenly block the sun creating shadows, the bridal party stands at slightly different angles, or there is a malfunction with a piece of equipment. Having the experience allows the photographer to quickly adapt to the new situation.

Rapid adjustments to aperture, shutter speed, white balance, focus points, and a long list of other factors all go into creating that perfect image. Quite often, the photographer only has 2 or 3 seconds to adapt to the changing light conditions. The first kiss typically only lasts 1 or 2 seconds, so if you have to stop and figure out settings, the moment is lost forever.

In saying that, talent also plays a major factor. Just because someone has photographed 500 weddings, does not necessarily make them talented. Likewise, having only photographed ten weddings does not mean someone isn’t talented. A photographer should always be learning new techniques, and creating new images. Ask your photographer about their progression into their current style and ensure that they are trying new techniques and locations.

Many photographers will brag about the awards they have won or what affiliations they are part of. In the end, these mean very little. Find a photographer whose style you love, 60% of couples said that style was the biggest factor when hiring a photographer. The best photographer isn’t the one who won the most awards or joined the most affiliations…they are the ones whose image you fall in love with. The one who consistently performs regardless of the situation. There are many extremely talented photographers, be sure to choose the one you ‘click’ with when selecting your wedding photographer in Calgary

Many Large Expenses

Cost of a wedding photographer in Calgary
Cost of a wedding photographer in Calgary

There are many expenses that your photographer also has to take into account. Business Licenses, Insurance, and equipment all play a part in determining their costs. If your photographer has their own studio, they must cover the costs of rent, utilities, and any staff that they employ. Business insurance also takes a toll on the finances of a business. Insurance policies typically cover several million dollars of liability as well as upwards of $50,000 of equipment the photographer will likely have. If your photographer says they don’t have a business license or business insurance, this is a huge red flag.

Without the necessary permits or licenses, your photographer could be fined and actually prohibited from continuing to photograph your wedding. Without Insurance, should someone be injured when they accidentally knock over a light stand there could be legal ramifications. Likewise, what happens if your photographer has their equipment stolen three days before your wedding, without insurance, rapidly replacing the necessary equipment would be virtually impossible.

Obviously, the biggest expense is the equipment. Professional series camera bodies cost several thousand dollars apiece…and that does not include the cost of the lenses. By the time you add on several professional-grade lenses, lights, memory cards, light stands, and an assortment of other items, the investment becomes significant. Professional photographers will also carry multiple cameras and lenses to ensure that in the rare event of a malfunction, they can quickly switch to the other camera. Have a look at our blog post describing all the equipment that we carry for a typical wedding.

Even after the wedding day itself, there is a significant financial cost associated with being a wedding photographer in Calgary. A high end computer to edit the thousands of photos that will have been taken, business subscriptions to professional photo editing software, and back-up systems to ensure that your photographs are never lost. We utilize a network attached back-up system so that as soon as your photos are placed on our laptop, they are immediately backed up for safety.

Once the editing is complete, the photos are uploaded to a website and photo host for the client to view and download them from, both of which have monthly fees the photographer must pay for.

But my Uncle Bob has an amazing camera and said he will photograph our wedding!!

We have all heard people say, I don’t need to hire someone, my Uncle Bob knows how to do that. While Uncle Bob may have an amazing camera, even a professional-grade camera and lens, having it and truly understanding how to work it are two different things. Watch for our upcoming blog post about all the things your wedding photographer considers and does during your wedding to ensure you receive beautiful images. At the end of the day, saving the cost of a wedding photographer will be for not if ‘Uncle Bob’ does not deliver beautiful wedding photographs.

What is a reasonable price for a wedding photographer?

There is no good answer to this question. What is a reasonable price for one person may be totally unrealistic for someone else. In the end, it comes down to how much importance you place on the quality of your wedding photographs. If you don’t really care about the photographs, then you may opt for a higher-quality DJ or caterer. If you are like most couples and want quality photographs that will withstand the test of time, then having a quality photographer is a must.

Many wedding photographers will assist on the wedding day to ensure that your wedding stays on the timeline, or will have a quick fix for a wedding dress that has developed a slight tear. We have been to hundreds of weddings and there is not much we haven’t seen. What is a reasonable price for a wedding photographer in Calgary? Only you can truly answer that.

Affordable Calgary wedding photographers

We believe that we are an affordable Calgary wedding photographer that offers high-quality service to all our clients. As we do not have a large studio that we must pay for and we limit the number of weddings we photograph each year, we are able to keep our costs relatively low. We believe that all our clients deserve high-quality service so we continue to improve our skills, learn new techniques, utilize professional series equipment, and maintain friendships with all our clients. We believe that our fee is a reasonable price for the high quality of service that we provide our clients. Always feel free to contact us to discuss how we came to arrive at our fee structure.

How much does a wedding photographer charge per hour

We often hear people talking about how much a photographer makes per hour. “They only work for ten hours and yet charge thousands of dollars” we regularly hear. The reality is much further from the truth. Check out our blog article on how much a wedding photographer charges per hour in reality. When you understand all the factors that go into the fee, you get a better understanding of the true cost of a wedding photographer. The cost of a wedding photographer goes well beyond the ten or so hours they spend with you on your wedding day, it also covers all the behind-the-scenes hours that people do not see.

As you can see, determining the reasonable price of a wedding photographer in Calgary takes some work to look at all the factors. We hope this short article provides you some help in finding the photographer that is perfect for you.

Follow along with our social media pages to see all our latest projects. Click here for our Facebook page and here for Instagram.

Average Cost of a Wedding Photographer in Calgary


Patton Photography is a professional photography studio based out of Calgary, Alberta. Our signature style offers a clean and modern look to your photographs while maintaining a look that is romantic and whimsical. Contact us anytime to sit down over coffee for a stress-free conversation.

Calgary Wedding Photography

2020 Calgary Photographer – An Interesting Year in Review

For Calgary photographers and photographers worldwide, 2020 proved to be a challenging year as much of the world shut down. Like many other wedding photographers, we were suddenly facing cancellations and postponements on a scale we never could have imagined.

With the exception of only one full wedding and one small intimate ceremony, all of our wedding photography bookings were postponed or canceled!! These two weddings also were different in ways we never would have imagined. Guests all sitting a minimum of six feet apart, faces covered in masks, hand sanitizer where signing books used to be…it was surreal.

Amazing Calgary Weddings

What did remain the same though, was the love that our couples had for each other. Large gatherings became small intimate weddings, mothers of the bride still shed a tear, and the look of pride in the eye of the fathers was still obvious. In some ways, the weddings became more special as they became more about the love of the couple than it was about the pizazz of the wedding day. As a wedding photographer and a Calgary photographer in general, it was beautiful to see.

We were still able to do some engagement sessions, and these were made extra special by the new locations we found.

As with any business, adapting to change is critical in keeping a business alive. We certainly were not going to be able to maintain a business photographing one wedding a year. So, we took this opportunity to branch out in some directions we had been thinking about for some time.

Calgary wedding photographer 100
Calgary wedding photographer bride
Calgary Wedding Photographer 101
Calgary Wedding Photographer bride and groom

Calgary Sports Photography

First, we opened our composite sports photography division. This was a niche we had been considering for some time. We begin by photographing the client on a green screen in several poses and from various angles. Utilizing special software we extract the photo of the client from the green background.

This is where the post-processing magic begins. We utilize several different pieces of software to begin layering in all the various elements to create our photo. Stadium seating, smoke, lightning, and smoke are only some of the elements we can add in. From there we begin adjusting the lighting, colors, and shadows on every element so that they fit together seamlessly.

These composite photographs however are not just for student athletes. Imagine being transported into your favorite book or video game. If you have an idea, let us know and we can see what we can do to make it happen for you. While we refer to it as Calgary Sports Photography, we will take any interest you may have and turn it into an eye-catching photograph specially created just for you

Calgary sports photographer soccer
Calgary sports photographer soccer
Calgary sports photographer baseball
Calgary sports photographer baseball

Calgary Product Photographer

Another field we had been thinking about is Product Photography. This specialized photography field is extremely broad, to say the least. From photographing small intricate pieces of jewelry to large industrial equipment. As a Calgary photographer, it is an interesting field as you get to deal with a wide variety of products and industries.

We have started offering photography services that include photographing products specifically for Amazon products. These are photographed in a specialized light box to provide a pure white background. They are then touched up to remove any dust spots and to ensure that every detail is perfect. Infographics and text can also be overlaid onto the photograph to highlight any special features that the product may have.

We also began offering composite advertising product photography where several images are layered together to create a specific image. We will photography the product itself and then layer in various elements to create a specific look. Layering in paint splashes, light smoke, or other other elements help create the look that our clients are after. We then adjust colors, lighting, and shadows on all the elements so that they all come together into one seamless image.

Calgary Product Photographer
Calgary product photography

Kindergarten Graduation Photographer

Finally, we began doing preschool and kindergarten graduation photography. These short sessions were an absolute hit as we gifted each ‘graduate’ with a proper graduation cap and customized diploma. The 15-minute outdoor sessions included poses standing, sitting, with signage, and even throwing the graduation hat into the air.

We have expanded our sessions this year to include online bookings through our website, full cap, and gown purchase, and indoor and outdoor options. These sessions were a ton of fun and we got to meet so many amazing families as they celebrated their child’s graduation.

All New Website and Hosting Service

We moved to an all new hosting service which resulted in us creating an all new website. While the initial reason to move was a drastic escalation in costs, our new service is full of great new features we are sure you will love.

Whether it is working as a wedding photographer, doing product photography, or delivering one-of-a-kind sports photography, we have to be able to get our photos to our clients. Our new website allows us to fully customize any page or section that we like. We are now able to create a customized online booking, online quote requests and provide tons of information about us and our photography services.

Our client galleries have also been moved to a new vendor which allow us to create far more beautiful galleries as well as provide all our clients with complimentary mobile apps. These mobile apps install on your mobile device, such as phone or tablet, and allowing viewing of your gallery. The benefit of these is that you can send the app to your friends and family to allow them to view your photos with the the protection of them not being able to download the photos from the app.

Best of all, these new galleries and apps are available to all our family photography, wedding photography, product photography, and sports photography clients at no extra cost.

New Lighting Equipment

As we use a significant number of lights and lighting modifiers to achieve our style, we are constantly upgrading equipment. This past year was no exception as said good-bye to some old equipment and replaced it with newer and more modern lighting equipment. Although many Calgary wedding photographers pride themselves on being natural light photographers, meaning they don’t use any flash, we are the opposite.

The using of flash equipment opens up many doors on opportunities you can not achieve otherwise. You have ability to adjust your lighting to simply fill in shadows, or to literally turn daytime into nighttime.

With our sports photography and product photography divisions, quality professional lighting is an absolute must. Without it, we could not even begin to offer quality services in these specialized niches.

New Wedding Vendors

We were also introduced to three new wedding vendors this past year. All three are truly amazing and we feel so fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to work with them.

Ethereal Events – Calgary wedding and event planning

In This Moment – Calgary wedding and event planning

Willow Flower Co. – Canmore Florist

As you can see, even though 2020 brought some new challenges with it, we also made some incredible advancements. The long awaited opening of our sports photography and product photography divisions, new equipment, new vendors, and new clients helped bring joy to this year.

We wish everyone love and happiness as spring starts here in Calgary. We hope that we get to meet many more new people on one of our many adventures. As a Calgary photographer, we want to be able to provide professional service to all our clients regardless of their photographic requirements. Call us anytime to discuss any project you may need photographic assistance with.


Calgary Photographer

Calgary Wedding Photographer

Calgary Product Photographer

Calgary Sports Photographer


Patton Photography is a professional photography studio based out of Calgary, Alberta. Our signature style offers a clean and modern look to your photographs while maintaining a look that is romantic and whimsical. Contact us anytime to sit down over coffee for a stress-free conversation.

Priddis Green wedding venue

Helpful Wedding Timeline Photography Tips

The wedding timeline is something we get asked about a lot. With the wide variety of weddings that we photograph, it is difficult to have an exact timeline template. However, here are some time frames you should consider when planning your day. Some of these times may seem long on paper but keep in mind that 1) the day will fly by, 2) most weddings run slightly behind schedule, and 3) we’ll make these photo sessions fun, so it won’t seem like a long time.

Depending on your wedding and preferences, some of these sections may be longer or shorter than our suggestion. In some cases, some sections may be skipped altogether (ie: bride and groom first look)

DETAILS – RINGS, DRESS, AND SHOES

Ideal Time Allotment – 30 minutes
Ideal Location – Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite

Advice – Having at least 30 minutes for details ensures that we have plenty of time to get that perfect photo of the dress, rings, shoes, bouquets, and the other details of the day.

There are times when a hotel room is too crowded or simply unappealing; we have to take the dress all the way down to the lobby or even outside. This can take some time, but it’s well worth the additional work.

Close up of wedding rings
Close up of wedding rings
Dress at a Destination Wedding in Mexico
Wedding dress at a destination beach wedding in Mexico

BRIDE AND GROOM GETTING READY

Ideal Time Allotment – 60 minutes
Ideal Location – Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite

Advice – Having an hour of preparation is ideal for our style. During this time, we are getting close ups of the makeup and hair being applied as well as the candid moments and the bridesmaids and groomsmen get ready for the day. Keep in mind that these are some of the most emotional and fun times of the day, so you don’t want to cut it short.

Our female shooter will be with the bride while the male shooter will be with the groom. While it doesn’t take guys an hour to get dressed, there are still tons of great moments during this time between the groom and his family and friends.

Calgary bride and bridesmaids getting ready
Calgary bride and bridesmaids getting ready
Calgary groomsmen joking around
Calgary groomsmen joking around
Wedding Photography magic After image
Wedding Photography magic After image

INDIVIDUAL PORTRAITS

Ideal Time Allotment – 30 minutes
Ideal Location – Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite

Advice – Right after prep is the best time for individual portraits of the bride and groom (separately). Besides makeup and hair being completely fresh, the day hasn’t gotten hectic yet so we can take our time and get those perfect portraits.

Also, keep in mind that the window lighting in most hotel rooms creates a unique look that can’t be duplicated in any environment throughout the rest of the day.

Calgary bride wedding portrait
Calgary bride portrait

FIRST LOOK

Ideal Time Allotment – 20 minutes
Ideal Location – Outdoor garden, hallway or ballroom

Advice – The first look should be around 20 – 30 minutes. During this time, the bride and groom enjoy seeing each other for the first time on the wedding day. While the actual first look might only be 5-10 minutes, the rest of the time is spent on a few basic portraits of the bride and groom.

Ideally, we are saving the bulk of the couples session for later (see the “couples session” section below).

Saskatoon Farm wedding first look
Saskatoon Farm wedding first look
Calgary stampede wedding first look
Calgary stampede wedding first look

WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS

Ideal Time Allotment – 30-45 minutes
Ideal Location -Venue Lobby, Outside Garden, Park, Off-site Location

Advice – Wedding Party Photos should be around 30 – 45 minutes. During this time, we get a variety of shots in a variety of poses.

We will be sure to get a set of fun and creative shots. Finally, we know how much your wedding party means to you, so we are sure to get pictures with you and each one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen individually.

Calgary bridal party standing in park
Calgary bridal party standing in park
Calgary groomsmen at wedding in front of barn
Calgary groomsmen at wedding in front of barn

IMMEDIATE FAMILY, EXTENDED FAMILY, FRIENDS

Ideal Time Allotment – 30-45 minutes (1.5 min per combination)
Ideal Location -Venue Lobby, Garden, Park, Off-site Location

Advice – Immediate Family Photos should take another 30 – 45 minutes. It’s important to have additional images with your parents, grandparents, and siblings beyond the basic formal. We always try to take the large family photos immediately after the ceremony to ensure that everyone is still onsite.

Plan on 1.5 – 2 minutes per group on average.  For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 15 – 20 minute time slot.

We all know how much weddings mean to the immediate family, and we want to make sure we’re capturing enough pictures with them. We will ask our couples for a list of all family photo combinations prior to the wedding. This list ensures that no one is missed and allows us to move quickly through the photo session.

CEREMONY DETAIL AND VENUE

Ideal Time Allotment – 15 minutes
Ideal Location – Venue

Advice – Please allow 15 minutes to take pictures of the ceremony site, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area.

Before you have the guests seated,  it’s important that we are there to capture the complete set up of your ceremony site so we can capture the scene at its best.

Wedding at Banff Springs
Wedding at Banff Springs

COUPLES SESSION

Ideal Time Allotment – 1.5 to 2 hours
Ideal Location – Park, downtown, mountains

Advice – Couple sessions should be around 1.5 to 2 hours. Due to how we photograph images, using a combination of lighting and natural light, timing is not quite as important for us as other photographers. We always try to visit several locations to give our couples a variety of backgrounds and overall emotion. The more locations, then the longer a timeline is required. We also keep a close eye on weather so that we can have indoor options if the weather does not co-operate.

Bride and Groom photography in park
Bride and Groom photography in park
Calgary bride and groom at beautiful Fish Creek Park
Bride and groom at Fish Creek Park
Priddis bride and groom
Priddis bride and groom

RECEPTION DETAIL AND VENUE

Ideal Time Allotment – 15 minutes
Ideal Location – Reception Site

Advice – Please allow 15 minutes for us to take pictures of the reception room completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area. These 15 minutes also give the bride and groom a chance to relax for a couple of minutes as it will have been a whirlwind of a day.

Similar to the ceremony details, this is the only opportunity we have to capture the beauty of the reception room prior to guest arrival.

COUPLES SESSION – RECEPTION SNEAK OUT

Ideal Time Allotment – 20-30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Dusk to Night Time
Ideal Location – Areas with interesting lights, fountains, city scapes and mirrors

Advice – During the reception, you may plan on sneaking out for a couple of night shots. We only need 20-30 minutes, as we understand the importance of being a good host. However, this time is important if you appreciate the night photography that we deliver. The ideal time for this is right after you grab a bite to eat or during the open floor dancing after you’ve danced a few songs and would like a break.

PARTY

Ideal Time Allotment – 30 minutes
Ideal Location – Reception Site

We always love to get some great shots of our bride and groom with the friends and family as they celebrate their wedding. We typically find that 20 – 30 minutes of the party is enough for the typical wedding. Often, the same people will be dancing, will be sat talking and….we like to be have the cameras put away before too much alcohol begins to flow.

This 20 – 30 minutes also gives us some flexibility if the wedding falls behind schedule a little…and weddings ALWAYS fall behind schedule a little.

Destination wedding Mexico wedding reception
Destination Mexico reception
DJ playing at incredible Valley Ridge Golf Club wedding
DJ playing at a Valley Ridge Golf Club wedding
Priddis wedding reception party
Priddis wedding reception party

ADDITIONAL WEDDING TIMELINE SUGGESTIONS

Table Shots – Table shots are when you go around visiting tables. There are two options for photography during this time. We typically focus on candid style, capturing the smiles and hugs as you mingle with each table. If you’re planning on doing formal table shots, please keep in mind that these will take about 3 minutes per table.  For example, 20 tables would require 60 minutes of time.

Bride and groom visiting the tables at reception
Visiting the tables

Our wedding timeline tips are meant to give you an idea of how long some aspects may take. Use these tips when planning your wedding timeline and adjust them as needed to fit your ideal schedule.

We hope that these wedding timeline suggestions are helpful to you in your planning. Have a wedding tip that you would like to share? Let us know, we would love to hear it.

Wedding timeline photography tips


Patton Photography is a professional photography studio based out of Calgary, Alberta. Our signature style offers a clean and modern look to your photographs while maintaining a look that is romantic and whimsical. Contact us anytime to sit down over coffee for a stress-free conversation.

Chinese wedding banquet

Chinese Wedding Timeline and Festive Traditions

He has proposed and you are getting married!!! Are of Chinese descent or simply looking to incorporate Chinese wedding traditions into your wedding day? Then this article is for you. We have compiled a small sample of Chinese wedding traditions as well as an example timeline and menu…all ten courses!!

Chinese wedding days are incredible, with a host of traditions, dress changes, games, and banquet. One of the most common traditions is the Chinese Tea Ceremony.

Chinese Tea Ceremony

Often, both families will perform the hairdressing and capping rituals for the bride and groom. The groom will then travel to the bride’s house, where he will be blocked from entering by the bridesmaids. After a series of tasks, he is allowed to enter the home

Both families are formally introduced through the Tea Ceremony, and often the couple will receive ornate red envelopes (lai see) which may contain money or sometimes jewelry.

Chinese Wedding Dress

It is Chinese tradition for the bride to wear a red dress, known as a qipao. In Chinese culture, red symbolizes happiness, prosperity, and good luck. In modern weddings, the bride will often change into a white wedding dress for the ceremony. As the banquet progresses, there will often be another dress change, and on some occasions, a fourth dress at the end of ceremonies to send off their guests.

Chinese Wedding Banquet

This is a very lavish and usually expensive affair. Once the dinner begins, the bride will change into a traditional red Chinese wedding dress. Many foods are considered symbolic in Chinese culture, such as the whole fish which symbolizes abundance.

Chinese wedding cake
Chinese wedding cake

Chinese Wedding Timeline

5:00 amMakeup and Hairstylist Arrive
Bridesmaids arrive to Bride’s house
8:40 amFamily Members arrive
9:00 amGroom Arrives at Tea Ceremony
Ceremony venue opens for set up
Reception venue open for set up
Tea Ceremony (until 11 am)
Ceremony decor delivery/set-up
Photography coverage begins (13-hour duration)
11:00 amTea Ceremony Ends
Lunch delivery arrives
12:00 pmBridal party departure for the ceremony
12:45 pmBridal party arrival to Ceremony location
1:00 pmAll ceremony details set for guest arrival
Bride gets dressed
1:30 pmEarliest guest arrival
Start instrumental background music
Officiant arrives
1:55 pmLine up the bridal party
2:00 pmCeremony begins
2:30 pmCeremony ends
Group Photo & Family Photos
3:00 pmCouple Photos
5:00 pmBridal party arrival at Reception
All details set for cocktail hour/early guest arrival
5:30 pmCake Delivery
Cocktail hour
Cocktail hour music begins and then moves into dinner music
6:55 pmEmcee asks guests to be seated
7:00 pmReception begins
Welcome Speech and introduction of emcee
Bridal Party Entrance
7:05 pmNewlywed Entrance & First Dance
7:15 pmFirst Course Served; BBQ Platter
7:25 pmToast by the Maid of Honor
7:30 pmSecond Course: Deep-fried stuffed Crab claws
7:35 pmToast by Bridesmaid
7:45 pmThird Course: Bird’s Nest with Scallops
7:50 pmToast by the Best Man
8:00 pmFourth Course: Fish Maw Soup
8:15 pmFifth Course: Lobster with Cream sauce
8:20 pmGames: 1
8:30 pmSixth Course: Crispy Chicken
8:35 pmGames: 2
8:45 pmSeventh Course: Braised Abalone Chinese Mushroom
8:50 pmGames: 3
9:00 pmEighth Course: Steamed Tilapia
Bride to go change to Chinese dress
9:10 pmThank you by the Newlyweds (Bride changed to Chinese dress)
9:15 pmBridal party will make their rounds
Ninth Course: Yee Min
9:30 pmTenth Course: Fried Rice
Bride to change to an evening gown
9:35 pmCake cutting (Bride in evening gown)
9:45 pmOpen dance floor
9:50 pmBouquet Toss/ Garter toss
10:00 pmPhotography Coverage Finishes
10:15 pmDinner service ends
12:55 amLast Dance
1:00 amNewlywed send-off
Breakdown Begins

Patton Photography is a professional photography studio based out of Calgary, Alberta. Our signature style offers a clean and modern look to your photographs while maintaining a look that is romantic and whimsical. Contact us anytime to sit down over coffee for a stress-free conversation.

Photography and hiking equipment

Our Fantastic Photography Toolbox

Photo via Good Free Photos

Ever wondered what equipment a photographer carries with them? Our photography toolbox list hopefully offers some insight into what it takes to be a professional photographer. As with anything, it takes a lot more than expensive equipment to produce beautiful wedding photographs.  However, having that professional equipment offers a level of performance and capabilities that lower-level gear does not.  Here is our list of professional equipment.  Besides the equipment listed, we have a full set of backdrop stands, backdrops, and miscellaneous equipment.

OUR CAMERA SYSTEMS

Our list starts with camera bodies. We only use high-performing camera bodies that are ideally suited for top of the line photographs.  The Canon 5D line is the workhorse of photographers across the world.  Recording to two separate cards, the Mark III ensures that no matter what happens on one card, all your images are safe as they also exist on the backup card.

  • Primary camera body:  Canon 5D Mark III
  • Backup camera body: Canon 5D Mark II
  • Photobooth camera body: Canon Rebel XSi

OUR LENSES

Our lens collection consists of high-end lens all designed for working in low light conditions, perfect for a wedding ceremony or corporate speaking session.  The use of telephoto lenses also means that we can stay stationary and zoom in or out for the ideal shot.  This is one of the ways we ensure that we are not disruptive during your event. 

  • Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM Telephoto Lens
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Telephoto Lens
  • Canon 50mm f/1.8 ‘Prime’ Portrait Lens

OUR LIGHTING

We are equipped with a full array of lighting equipment and remote triggering systems.  The majority of our systems are battery powered to eliminate power cords running across your floor. They are also remote-controlled…to keep us from running across your floor. 

  • Godox AD200 Pro
  • Godox TT685C Speedlight
  • Godox XPRO-C Multi-Channel Radio Trigger
  • Yongnuo YN600EX-RT II Speedlight
  • Yongnuo YN-E3-RT Multi-Channel Radio Trigger
  • An assortment of studio lights as well as handheld lights

OUR PHOTOGRAPHY ACCESSORIES

We have a wide variety of gear designed to help bring out the best of our camera and lighting systems.  From light meters, which help ensure lights are calibrated perfectly for your space, to specially designed filters that control how much light enters the camera.

  • Sekonic L-358 Flash Light Meter
  • Evecase extra-large gear backpack
  • Macro-tubes of varying lengths
  • Tiffen Neutral Density 0.9 Filters
  • Tiffen Ultra-Violet Filters
  • Geekoto Professional 77” ball-head Tripod
  • Multiple light-stands ranging from 7 feet to 10 feet
  • 5 in 1 portable reflector
  • Rapid Pro Parabolic Softbox
  • Rapid Speedlight Softbox
  • MagMod Light Modifier System

OUR WORKSTATIONS

Once your images have been captured, we ensure that they are treated with the utmost respect and protection.  Our dual-drive laptop ensures that we can work quickly as we edit each photo.  Likewise, our 18 button mouse ensures that the common keyboard shortcuts are accessed even quicker with the press of a button.  Finally, our NAS storage system ensures that there is always a backup of your images. 

  • ASUS Vivobook Pro 17 Dual Drive Laptop
  • Red Dragon M908 – 18 Button Mouse
  • DataColor Spyder Screen Calibration System
  • Synology 2 Bay Network Attached Storage System

OUR PHOTOGRAPHY SOFTWARE

We utilize business subscriptions to the world’s leading photo management and editing software programs.  Having the subscription ensures that we always have the latest versions of the software.

  • Adobe Lightroom (Business Subscription)
  • Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud (Business Subscription)
  • ShootProof Gallery Hosting and Protection

As you can see, it takes more than just having a nice camera to offer a professional level of service. Our photography toolbox section is a rough list of the equipment each of our photographers has. While the list will differ as to the brands and quantities, our photographers all utilize professional equipment to ensure the best of service.

So, which vendors do we use when we are in need of equipment? If you are in need of camera gear, we highly recommend these great vendors


Patton Photography is a professional photography studio based out of Calgary, Alberta. Our signature style offers a clean and modern look to your photographs while maintaining a look that is romantic and whimsical. Contact us anytime to sit down over coffee for a stress-free conversation.

Dress at a Destination Wedding in Mexico

Destination Wedding Photographers

Destination wedding photographers are becoming a much more common, and affordable, option for many engaged couples. With the snow falling and the colder temperatures arriving, our mind travels back to some of our destination weddings. Worrying about sand getting into your shoes is a wonderful problem….  With the sun setting over the ocean, our awesome wedding couple relaxed on some swings. Listening to the waves at the ocean side bar having a quiet moment to themselves.

Bride and groom at a destination wedding holding hands on swing
Bride and groom relax on swing at a destination wedding
Dress at a Destination Wedding in Mexico
Wedding dress at a destination beach wedding in Mexico

Many couples now bring destination wedding photographers with them to their destination wedding. This allows the couple to select the photographers whose style they most like and ensures a level of quality. This can not always be assured by simply using the random photographer working at the resort.

Ensuring Everything Is Perfect

While destination wedding photography sounds like an amazing opportunity, it involves a tremendous amount of work. Updating business insurance policies need to include the destination. Detailed equipment lists need to be generated to get all our equipment across international borders. Equipment needs to be checked and packed carefully to ensure a safe arrival. Arrival on site, a minimum 24 hours prior to the wedding so the best places to take photos can be found.

On-site Planning

We consider such things as: where will the tide be at the time of the photos, are there large shadows created by the sun at certain times, where are some locations we can go if a sudden rain shower happens. Considerable time is also spent calibrating cameras and lights. We always ensure everything is working properly after the flight. Needless to say, the first day is a busy one. An early night is generally in order to prepare for the wedding day.

The wedding day is always busy and destination weddings are no different. To respect the couple’s privacy we generally leave the following day or the day after that and return to Calgary. This allows our couple to relax by themselves and enjoy the remainder of their trip.

Prior to leaving, we back up all our photos to a remote system so no data is ever lost. All equipment is carefully cleaned, wrapped and repacked. Finally, we ensure all our paperwork is in order to bring our equipment across the border again. As you see, there is not much time left for relaxation.

Bride and Groom standing on rocks at a destination wedding
Bride and Groom standing on rocks at a destination wedding

Be sure to find out the quality and style of the included vendors if considering a destination wedding. In the end, you may find that bringing some vendors with you may be a better overall option.

Mountain Top Destination Wedding Photographers

We also have experience with helicopter wedding photos…yes that is a real thing!!  In fact, chartering a helicopter to fly into a romantic location has become much more common.  A remote mountain summit, or backcountry mountain lake are only a few of the many options available. Typically, the helicopter will take four guests (bride, groom, photographer, and one other guest) to the location. 

There are different packages available with the various helicopter companies. Typically the packages allow you time on site between 15 minutes and one hour.  We always get beautiful photos on these trips and may be something to consider for the adventurous couple.  Remember, being destination wedding photographers means more than just travelling to beach destinations. We will hike, fly and travel virtually anywhere you want to go.

helicopter trip to Mountain destination wedding
Bride and groom at a mountain top destination wedding

Likewise, there are many options for the couple that wants to add some adventure to their photos.  A hike into the mountains is a great option for couples who want to add extra drama to their photos.  From standing on a mountain ridge to along side a waterfall. Perhaps next to a 1000ft cliff. We can help bring the destination to you. 

Let us know what you are thinking, give us some time to come up with some ideas. Remember, as photographers, we are often hiking with an extra 40 – 50 lbs of gear.  In saying that, if you want it…we will make it happen.

Considering a destination wedding, whether it is an international location or a remote mountain peak? Contact us anytime to discuss how we can assist you.

Adventure Destination Photographers

Kananaskis engagement session with mountains and lake

Incredible Mountain Engagement

It feels like it has been a long time since we have photographed an engagement session. Erika and Mark’s mountain engagement session was an amazing one to get back into the swing of things with. With perfect weather, a perfect location, and an absolutely amazing couple, these photos are turning out amazing.

Erika and Mark told us wanted an outdoor session that was a combination of mountain adventure with the beauty of the colorful larch trees. The Canadian Rockies offer some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Timing the session to achieve the perfect colors involved moving the session a couple of times. Our couple had a great vision of what they wanted which helped make our Kananaskis engagement session such a success.

While we primarily market ourselves as Calgary engagement and wedding photographers, we love to get out in the surrounding regions to capture all new looks. A mountain engagement in the heart of Kananaskis is a favorite session of ours and we always have such a great experience.

Mountains, Larch trees, and….grizzlies??

We started with some all-new locations we have never photographed before. We started along the edge of a lake under the view of Mt. Wintour. We spent time exploring the lakeshore and the nearby forested area before moving to our next location. This region was bordering a closure area due to high grizzly activity so bear spray was a necessity. Keeping one eye on our camera and one looking out for large furry animals was a new experience.

Mark mentioned that he loved the idea of dramatic photos but wasn’t into mountain climbing or anything. With that in mind, I found an area where the highway was cut through a large rock wall. Standing on the edge of the rock face, as well as on the top of my truck parked along the road, we captured some great images of our couple alongside a dramatic mountain rock face. A panoramic version of this image also quickly become one of my all-time favorite images.

We will usually include a few photographs where the landscape or background is the main subject of the photo. In some cases, the couple themselves may only be a silhouette or quite small in comparison to the size of the image. We do these to allow the couple to have a piece of artwork that they can display in their home, that isn’t a close-up photo of themselves. While the couple themselves are still in the photo, it is a little less ‘Look at us!!’ and a little more ‘Look at the cool artwork’.

We made our way to a well known lake in Kananaskis which is known for its’ stunning views. The yellow Larch trees were in full display and even the lake was mirror calm allowing a great reflection of the South peak of Mt. Kidd. There were lots of laughs and smiles and it was a great morning. We are looking forward to this amazing couple’s wedding next summer.

Adventure Sessions

Adventure sessions are something we love. If you have an idea, or even if you don’t, and like the idea of an adventure session, give us a call. From hiking to a ridgeline in the mountains, or finding locations that make it look like you did, we will create amazing images for you. After this session, we are looking forward to many more mountain engagement sessions in the near future.

Kananaskis engagement session with mountains and lake
Kananaskis wedding photography with mountains and lake
Engagement session in Kananaskis in the mountains
Engagement photography in Kananaskis in the mountains
Dramatic engagement photo in the mountains
Dramatic engagement photo in the mountains
Calgary photography session in Kananaskis in the mountains
Calgary wedding photographer in Kananaskis in the mountains
Calgary engagement couple standing in the mountains
Calgary photographers in Kananaskis mountain engagement
Calgary couple in the Kananaskis mountains
Calgary photographers at a Kananaskis mountain engagement

Mountain Engagement – Calgary Engagement Photography

Kananaskis, Alberta


Patton Photography is a professional photography studio based out of Calgary, Alberta. Our signature style offers a clean and modern look to your photographs while maintaining a look that is romantic and whimsical. Contact us anytime to sit down over coffee for a stress-free conversation.

Wedding Photography magic After image

Wedding Photography Magic

On occasion, we have locations that may not photograph how we prefer, this is where our wedding photography magic comes in.

It’s been a little while since we last posted, unfortunately the downside of having a business is trying to get ready for tax season…as much work as wedding season but without the awesome caterers and DJs ). However we are starting a new social media push so be sure to watch here and our Instagram feed. Myself and Erin will be starting a regular viewing party for all of you showing the details and magic.

How we deal with ‘small rooms’ or ‘ugly rooms’, etc. when doing wedding photography is a common question. We have some great techniques, one of which we are going to show you here. Roni was getting ready in an awesome room downtown however the bathroom didn’t have quite the pop I wanted. The mirror was great with a super cool backlight, however it was BRIGHT white. The bright white light just didn’t fit my idea for the photo.


The Wedding Photography Magic


To get around this, I adjusted settings in the camera to really darken the room down. I then placed a flash pointed at our groom, with a tight focus to only light him up. To tone down the bright white light I actually placed a blue gel over the flash pointed at our groom. I took the picture of our white mirror light and now blue groom and brought it into our software. By simply adjusting the color temperature, our blue flash became white. The color shift brought our groom back to the proper color.

This shift also pushed our mirror light to a much nicer yellow / orange. The tightly focused beam also kept the room dark to keep our groom the center of attention. You can see the final photo followed by the ‘blue’ original with the white mirror light in the photo following.

Having an understanding of color shifting as well as off camera flash allows us to take an otherwise ordinary photo and give it a great edge.


Patton Photography is a professional photography studio based out of Calgary, Alberta. Our signature style offers a clean and modern look to your photographs while maintaining a look that is romantic and whimsical. Contact us anytime to sit down over coffee for a stress-free conversation.