Wedding Photography Timelines | Ideal Times For Your Wedding Photography

 
 The Ultimate Wedding Timeline: ideal timelines for your wedding photography.

The Ultimate Wedding Timeline: ideal timelines for your wedding photography.

 

Based on my experience in the wedding industry, I've created a guide on photography timelines. These are recommended timeframes to prevent any stress your wedding day and ensure we get the shots! 

Each wedding and couple is different, so this guide is to help you think about your day and the moments you would like documented. For example, if you have an extra large family, like me, then you may allocate more time to family photos..... or perhaps you don't care about photos from the toasts/speeches, so you know you won't need that coverage.

I think of wedding photography timelines as two general types: "No First Look" and "First Look". I absolutely love the romance of having couples see each other for the first time on the wedding aisle. However, there are some benefits if you choose to do a "First Look" instead. Again, each couple is different on this, so it's best to figure out what's important to you and how many hours you need when booking your photographer!


No "First Look" - Wedding Timeline


Pre-Ceremony

+ Photographer setup + getting ready photos/ details — For getting ready photos, we recommend arriving right after the bride's hair is done and right before the bride's makeup. Make sure to have your getting ready rooms clear of clutter and have any sentiments, gifts, wedding invitation, etc. ready in one spot. For the guys, groomsmen should be fully dressed and the groom should be in his pants and unbuttoned shirt upon arrival. When choosing your getting ready room, think about choosing one full of light, space, and your aesthetic! (1 hr)
+ Bride slipping into dress w/ details. All your bridesmaids should be ready prior to this. It's also great to have the mother of the bride ready and present for this.  (30-45 min)
+ Formal groomsmen photos + groom and immediate family + groom solo (30 min)
+ Formal bridesmaid photos + bride and immediate family + bride solo (30 min)

Leave 20 min breathing time before ceremony.

*Depending on your timeline and the distance between the bride and groom getting ready, it can be helpful to have a second shooter to ensure getting ready coverage on both sides of the bridal party.

 

Ceremony (~30 min)

 

Family + Wedding Party Photos:

+ Family photos (20-30 min)
+ Full wedding party photos (20-30 min)
+ Bride + groom (15 - 20 min)

*Guests not being photographed are typically at a cocktail/hors d'oeuvre hour. It can be helpful to have a second shooter to ensure coverage at the cocktail hour + venue details while the lead photographer takes all your post-ceremony photos. 
**The largest difference between “the first look” timeline and “no first look” timeline is this portion of the day since many of the photos will take place after the ceremony versus prior. You will most likely miss the cocktail hour, but have the magic of seeing each other for the first time on the aisle.

 

Reception

*These all vary in time, but gives you an idea of reception hours you may want photographed based on common wedding activities

+ Grand Entrance
+ Dinner (usually this is when some of your vendors will eat as well, as most people don’t want their picture taken while eating =))
+ Pictures with guests
+ Speeches/Toasts
+ Sunset photos (10-15 min - optional)
+ Special Dances (e.g. first dance)
+ Dancing
+ Cake cutting
+ Bouquet/Garter Toss
+ Grand Exit (we will rarely stay for the full wedding, unless you want a grand exit captured)

 

TIP: If you're limited on budget and working with shorter photography coverage, I always recommend focusing your photography hours on the first half of the day versus the later half. Dancing photos are really fun to have, but these will start looking the same after 30 minutes or so. Guests also don't photograph as well after the bar has been open for a while :).

 

 

 

"First Look" — Wedding Timeline


Pre-Ceremony

+ Photographer setup + getting ready photos/ details — For getting ready photos, we recommend arriving right after the bride's hair is done and right before the bride's makeup. Make sure to have your getting ready rooms clear of clutter and have any sentiments, gifts, wedding invitation, etc. ready in one spot. For the guys, groomsmen should be fully dressed and the groom should be in his pants and unbuttoned shirt upon arrival. When choosing your getting ready room, think about choosing one full of light, space, and your aesthetic! (1 hr)
+ Bride slipping into dress w/ details. All your bridesmaids should be ready prior to this. It's also great to have the mother of the bride ready and present for this. (30 min)
+ Formal groomsmen photos + groom and immediate family (30 min)
+ Formal bridesmaid photos + bride and immediate family (30 min)

*Depending on your timeline and the distance between the bride and groom getting ready, it can be helpful to have a second shooter to ensure getting ready coverage on both sides of the bridal party.

 

First Look

+ Bride + groom (30 - 45 min)

 

Family + Wedding Party Photos

+ Family photos (20 - 30 min)
+ Full wedding party photos (20-30 min)

**The largest difference between “the first look” timeline and “no first look” timeline is this portion of the day since majority of your photos will take place prior to the ceremony versus after the ceremony during cocktail hour. 

Leave 20 min breathing time before ceremony.

 

Ceremony (~30 min)

+ Bride + Groom after wedding (10-15 min optional)

 

Reception + Cocktail Hour

*These all vary in time, but gives you an idea of reception hours you may want photographed based on common wedding activities


+ Cocktail Hour + Pictures with guests
+ Grand Entrance
+ Dinner (usually this is when some of your vendors will eat as well, as most people don’t want their picture taken while eating =))
+ Speeches/Toasts
+ Sunset photos (10-15 min - optional)
+ Special Dances (e.g. first dance)
+ Dancing
+ Cake cutting
+ Bouquet/Garter Toss
+ Grand Exit (we will rarely stay for the full wedding, unless you want a grand exit captured)

 

TIP: If you're limited on budget and working with shorter photography coverage, I always recommend focusing your photography hours on the first half of the day versus the later half. Dancing photos are really fun to have, but these will start looking the same after 30 minutes or so. Guests also don't photograph as well after the bar has been open for a while :).

 

Hopefully this gives you a better idea on how to incorporate your photographer and the coverage you may need for your special day.

To inquire about our wedding photography services, shoot us an email here.

 

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