Wedding Photo Timeline: How to get Amazing wedding photos on the big day

Post Created: 20.04.2021 - Posted in Advice

There’s nothing more fulfilling than having a wedding day where everything runs smoothly. But there’s a good deal of time that goes into creating those stunning photos. This brings us to the question, how does a wedding photography timeline look like?

Read on and learn more!

bride and groom pose next to lake

When to book a wedding photographer?

Once you have secured a wedding day, you should make plans to book a wedding photographer. But because of the different cultural aspects, no answer fits all. A general rule of thumb is to start planning 9-12 months before your wedding.

For many professional photographers, there could be a few bookings during that weekend (during a busy season in your area). So, if your wedding is on a weekend, it’s reasonable to book a photographer 9 months before the day. If you wait longer than that, you may have a rough time finding the perfect photographer.

For a short engagement, you should book your photographer 6 months before the wedding. Don’t be discouraged if you receive responses like `the team is booked’. You can still find amazing photographers who are ready to attend to you.

For off-season weddings, you can book a photographer close to the wedding date. You should book 3-6 months before the actual date. And for those popular random weekends, I would suggest 3-6 months. For elopements, you can make your booking three months before the wedding day.

Ideally, you should make the booking 12 months before the wedding date. And if all else fails, you can still get a professional photographer closer to the wedding date.

The Wedding Day

Attire and other details (30 minutes)

The photographs of your attire before be done early. You should gather all the details and keep them in one place – it’s a smart move to keep the timeline on track. The average photography time of such sessions should be about 30 minutes.

Some of the items you should have at hand include a wedding dress, shoes, veil, invitation suite, wedding rings, banquets, vow book, and jewelry.

Getting ready (1-3 hours)

The room where the bride is preparing can get hectic, so you should keep things up and running. First, you should keep it organized to ensure the mess is not confined to one area. Not to mention, the hair and makeup can take longer than you expect.

You should have a plan with the hairstylist and maybe add a few minutes to the styling. The photographer needs to capture the first glimpse of the father and daughter.

Ceremony details

All the details of the ceremony should be captured early before the bride hides away. In addition to that, you can capture a few areas of the decor. If you plan for cocktail hour, it should place in separate locations and that should be captured too.

Individual portraits (60 minutes)

The photographer should capture both the bride and groom early in the morning. Generally speaking, couple shots form an important part of the day.

Wedding party portraits (30 minutes)

The length of the session depends on the number of attendants and the size of the wedding party. It should involve the shots of the groom and bride as well. The photo session can take longer if the couple intends to take pictures with every person in attendance.

Family portrait (45 minutes)

This photo session can take 30-45 minutes – 3 minutes per grouping. Being an exciting experience for the family members, you can be sure to have a smooth time. You may want to check with the photographer to ensure they can keep time.

Post ceremony photos (30 minutes)

The reception décor photo session can take up to 30 minutes. You can start with fine details like flowers and signage. To ensure there are no loopholes, the wedding planner must liaise with the photographer until the guests come in. Of course, you can delay the guests until all photos are taken.

Reception photos

This can be done throughout the evening. Reception photos are about highlighting things like a grand entrance, cake cutting, first dance, and more. The photographer will also capture the ambiance, outfits, and other fine details.

At the end of cocktail hour, you can spare 10-15 minutes for reception first look. More specifically, you should capture the moment once the space for the reception is revealed. It’s an opportunity to get a genuine reaction and how to practice your first dance.

The best way to plan for a wedding photography timeline

Decide on the location

The best place to take the photos is close to the ceremony venue. Also, it should be near the hotels where you can get a good spot. Is there a particular place you’ve always dreamed of for the perfect wedding photos? You should also factor in the travel time and plan for the traveling of friends and family. Be sure to confirm the wedding timeline to make sure the day unfolds as planned.

Figure out the portraits you want

A professional photographer will provide a format to suit your needs. While he may suggest that you take special photos away from the relatives, everything should be done close to your needs. Also, if you want to follow the tradition and wait for your guests to arrive before you take portraits, you should follow that as well.

Be clear how long the photography will take

The best photographers will give an outline of how long the photo sessions will take. But to be on the safe side, you should add 10 minutes of buffer time – hiccups are meant to happen. Besides, you should make sure the VIP are aware of the photos. Don’t forget to stick to the schedule.

It doesn’t have to be fancy

You don’t need special software to come up with a wedding timeline. A simple word document will help you organize everything.

Additional Tips

You should take photographs as you go around the tables. Your focus should be to capture the hugs and kisses. This can take 3-5 minutes per set. The whole setup can take up to 1 hour.

Final thoughts

Let’s face it: no wedding photography templates are the same. To eliminate any loopholes, the wedding planner should work alongside the photographer.

In any wedding setup, you should aim to make the photo sessions fun. And you must have a timeline made so that you can make major changes early.