WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY OUTLINE | HELPFUL TIMELINE FOR YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
With the diversity of the cultural aspects of my weddings, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact wedding photography timeline template. However, there are ideal 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) I’ll make these photo sessions fun, so it won’t seem like a long time.
RINGS, DRESS, SHOES, AND OTHER DETAILS
* Advice – Having at least 30 minutes for details ensures that I 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; I have to take the dress all the way down to the lobby or even outside. This can take some time, but the photos will be well worth the additional work.
* Advice – Having 45 minutes to an hour of preparation is ideal for my style. During this time, I get close ups of the hair and makeup being applied as well as the candid moments as 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.
I will be with the bride and we must plan time to 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.
* 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 I can take my 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.
FIRST LOOK AND DAYTIME COUPLES SESSION
* Advice – The first look should be around 30 to 45 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 I save the bulk of the couples session for later (see the “couples session” section below). However, if there is no other time in the day, it is best to allocate another 45 minutes to an hour here so that I can ensure that I have enough photos of just you two.
CEREMONY DETAIL AND VENUE
*Advice – Please allow 30 minutes for the me 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 I am there to capture the complete set up of your ceremony site so I can capture the scene at its best.
CLASSIC CEREMONY PHOTOS
WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS
* Advice – Wedding Party Photos should be around 45 minutes to 1 hour. During this time, I capture a variety of shots in a variety of poses. I start off with the basic, classic photos focused on great expressions and lighting.
Then I move into a set of fun and creative shots. Finally, I know how much your wedding party means to you, so I’m sure to get pictures with you and each one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen individually.
* Advice – Immediate Family Photos should take another 45 minutes to 1 hour. It’s important to have additional images with your parents, grandparents, and siblings beyond the basic formal (mentioned in the section below).
Plan on 3 minutes per group on average. For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 30 minute time slot. I know how much weddings mean to the immediate family, and I want to make sure I’m capturing enough pictures with them.
FORMALS (EXTENDED FAMILY, IMMEDIATE FAMILY, AND FRIENDS)
*Advice – Formals should take around 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of your family and the number of guests.
Plan on 3 minutes per group on average. For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 30 minute time slot. Some couples have decided that they want a picture with all guests while others have decided that they only want pictures with select VIPs to save time. I recommend something in between. I also recommend being very organized, with a list of groups and helpers from each side of the family to help round people up.
* Advice – Couple session should be around 1 hour and should take place ideally 30 to 45 minutes before sunset. The is the best time in terms of lighting.
It also allows me to capture the awesome scenic shots with colorful skies. If your wedding is in downtown or in an area with tall buildings, it’s not as important for me to have this specific time frame (although it still helps). However, if you booked your venue because of the spectacular view of the ocean or the gorgeous vines in the winery, it’s essential to follow this advice in your timeline.
RECEPTION DETAIL AND VENUE
* Advice – Please allow 30 minutes for me to take pictures of the reception room, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area.
Similar to the ceremony details, this is the only opportunity I will have to capture the beauty of the reception room prior to guest arrival.
COUPLES SESSION – RECEPTION SNEAK OUT
* Advice – During the reception, please plan on sneaking out for a couple of night shots. I only need 20-30 minutes, as I understand the importance of being a good host.
However, this time is important for you to appreciate the night photography that I 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. Another suggestion would be to get these shots at the very end of the night once all the guests have departed.
OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Table Shots – Table shots are when you go around visiting tables. There are two options for photography during this time.
If you’re planning on doing formal table shots, please keep in mind that these will take about 3-5 minutes per table. For example 20 tables would require 60-100 minutes of time.