WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIMELINE | AN OUTLINE FOR YOUR WEDDING DAY PHOTOGRAPHY

Weddings are not cookie cutter events, each and every one is unique, yours will be as well. However, there is a recipe for success when you follow our ideal wedding photography timeline for planning your day.  Looking at some of the times we outline may seem like we are suggesting too much time on paper, but keep in mind that 1) the day will pass quickly, 2) most weddings run slightly behind your scheduled times, and 3) we’ll make the photo sessions enjoyable. We will work to keep you focused so you will be relaxed and the photos will reflect this.

DRESS, SHOES, RINGS, AND OTHER DETAILS

Ideal Time Needed – 30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning
Ideal Location – Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite

Advice – Having a block of at least 30 minutes for details shots. This ensures that we have plenty of time to get the perfect photos of your wedding details. This includes your dress, rings, shoes, bouquets, and the other details of your day.

There are times when a hotel room is too crowded or simply unappealing for documenting; in those situations, we have to take the dress to a different location such as the lobby or possibly outside. This takes time, but you can see from the results, it’s well worth the additional work.

BRIDE & GROOM PREPARATION

Ideal Time Needed – 60 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite

Advice – Having an hour to capture preparation is ideal for our style photography. During this time block, we get close ups of the makeup and hair being applied, but also the candid moments you want. We’ll also document during this time the bridesmaids and groomsmen getting 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.

Rowena and Shawn work as a team, but if the timeline overlaps and both the Bride and the Groom are getting ready at the same time, Rowena will be with the bride and Shawn will be documenting with the groom. Sure it doesn’t take the guys an hour to get dressed, there are still tons of great moments to capture during this time between the groom and his family and friends.

INDIVIDUAL PORTRAITS

Ideal Time Needed – 30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Bridal Suite, Hotel Suite, Venue Lobby, or Venue Garden

Advice – Right after completion of Bride & Groom Preparation is the best time to capture individual portraits of the bride and groom (separately). Makeup and hair is freshly applied at this point, the day hasn’t started to become hectic yet, so we have the opportunity to take our time and get those perfect portraits for you.

Also, please remember that the window lighting in most hotel room situations creates a unique look that can’t be duplicated in any environment throughout the rest of the day. These moments are yours alone and will be a unique showpiece you will be proud to display.

THE FIRST LOOK & DAYTIME COUPLES SESSION

Ideal Time Needed – 45-60 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Bridal Suite, Hotel Suite, Venue Lobby, or Venue Garden

Advice – If you choose to have a first look, you should plan on around 45-60 minutes for this block. During this period, the bride and groom will enjoy seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day in a way that can be fully captured. The actual first look shot might only be 5-10 minutes in the making, the rest of the time is spent on a few basic portraits of the bride and groom.

Ideally we will be saving the bulk of the couples session photos for later in the day (see the “couples session” section below). However, if there is no other way to schedule time in for the day, it is best to allocate another 45 minutes to an hour here so that we make sure we have enough photos of just you two.

YOUR WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS

Ideal Time Needed – 45-60 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Bridal Suite, Hotel Suite, Venue Lobby, or Venue Garden

Advice – The Wedding Party Photo block should be around 45 minutes to 1 hour. During this time, we will get a variety of shots in a variety of different poses. We start off with the basic, traditional photos focused on great expressions and lighting.

Once the standards classics are documented we will move into a set of fun and creative shots. To wrap up this block we will take pictures with you and each one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen individually. These are the people who you have chosen to be with you to share your day with, we know how important these people are to you and we will capture these moments.

IMMEDIATE FAMILY

Ideal Time Needed – 30-45 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Venue Lobby, Venue Garden, Beach, Park, Off-site Location

Advice – Immediate Family Photos should have another 45 minute block scheduled. It’s important to you and your family to have additional images captured with your parents, grandparents, and siblings beyond the basic formal (mentioned in the section below).

Plan on an average of 3 minutes per group photo.  For example, if you have 10 group shots planned, schedule in a 30 minute time slot to insure adequate coverage.

We all know how much weddings mean to your immediate family, and we want to make sure we’re capturing enough pictures with them to satisfy both you and them.

CEREMONY DETAIL AND VENUE

Ideal Time Needed – 30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Afternoon
Ideal Location – Ceremony Location

Advice – Please allow 30 minutes for us to photograph the details of the ceremony site, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area in its picture-perfect state.

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

FRIENDS, FAMILY, THE FORMAL PHOTOS

Ideal Time Needed – 45-60 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Afternoon (Post Ceremony)
Ideal Location – Ceremony Location

Advice – Formals photos should take around 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of your family and the number of guests you want pictures with.

Use this as a guide for planning your formal photos:

  • Plan for each group photo containing 5 to 10 people to take 3 minutes.
  • Plan for each group photo containing 10 to 25 people to take 5 minutes.
  • Plan for each group photo containing 25 to 50 people to take up to 10 minutes.

For example, if you have 10 groups of up to 10 people each, schedule in a 30-minute time slot.

Some couples want a picture with all guests in attendance while others have only want pictures with a few chosen VIPs to save time. We recommend something in between.

To ensure we are all on the same page we request a list of all group shot members in advance of the wedding and a helper from both sides of the family on the wedding day to locate everyone. Organization is a key element during this block to ensure there is enough time to get all of the requested shots.

THE COUPLES SESSION

Ideal Time Needed – 1 hour
Ideal Time of the Day – Late Afternoon (Sunset)
Ideal Location – Venue Garden, Beach, Hotel Lobby, Park

Advice – Wedding day couple session should be around 1 hour and should take place ideally 30 to 45 minutes before sunset. This the known as the golden hour and is the best time of the day in terms of lighting.

This block allows us to capture the amazingly epic scenic shots with the most colorful skies of the day. If your wedding is in a downtown location or in an area with tall buildings that block the sky from view, it’s not as important for us to have this specific time frame. While only slightly less important to have due obstructions, the light is still most conducive at this time.

If you selected your venue based on the one of a kind views, be it the ocean or a picturesque landscape, you will want to plan this into your timeline.

RECEPTION & VENUE DETAILS

Ideal Time Needed – 30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Early Evening
Ideal Location – Reception Site

Advice – Like the Ceremony Venue please allow 30 minutes for one of our shooters to take pictures of the reception room, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area in its picture-perfect state.

This will be the one and only opportunities to document the beauty of the reception room prior to guest arrival.

THE RECEPTION FIRST LOOK

Ideal Time Needed – 10-15 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – At the conclusion of Cocktail Hour doors open for guests
Ideal Location – Reception Site

Advice – This is when the couple will first see the reception area fully prepared for them. We have a chance to document this special moment alone with the dance floor open and the room empty. Take a moment to practice your first dance without witnesses or use this opportunity to take a once in a lifetime photo.

RECEPTION SNEAK OUT – COUPLES SESSION

Ideal Time Needed – 20-30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Dusk to Night Time
Ideal Location – A close area with interesting or unique lights, fountains, buildings, archways or mirrors.

Advice – During your reception, make a plan to sneak out for a few night shots. In a quick 20-30 minutes session, we will be able to capture a few night shots at your venue. It is a short enough period that your guests won’t realize you are gone and you will be back in enough time to still be the ideal host.

The timing on this block will be determined by the pace of your event. A great time is after the dance floor is opened and you need a break for a few songs. Another option is to get these shots at the very end of the night when all of the guests have departed. The only requirement is darkness, but if you like our night photos, this may be a must-have.

A FEW MORE THINGS TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR WEDDING TIMELINE

Table Shots – This is an opportunity for you to document your visit all the tables at your reception. This gives you two options for your photography during this time. (1) We can take formal pictures of you visiting each of the tables or (2) we can do a more photojournalistic feel and simply capture the smiles, reactions, hugs, laughs as you mingle with your guest’s tables. Please remember that if you choose to have formal table shots, this will take 3-5 minutes per table. If you have 25 tables this would take between 75 and 125 minutes for that option.

For further information on reception timelines, please check out our Wedding Reception Timeline post for further tips on planning your wedding reception.