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Wedding Photography Timeline

When planning your wedding, 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:

  • The day will fly by,
  • Most weddings run slightly behind schedule, and
  • We’ll make these photo sessions fun, so it won’t seem like a long time.

Below is a "Timeline Cheat Sheet" for a quick review of our ideal time frames. If you want a more detailed and in depth timeline, we provide more information below:

The Details – 30 minutes

Preparation  – 60 minutes

Individual Portraits – 60 minutes

First Look  – 45-60 minutes

Wedding Party Photos  – 45-60 minutes

Family Photos – 30-45 minutes

Ceremony Details  – 30 minutes

Family Formals – 45-60 minutes

Couples Session – 60 minutes

Reception Details – 30 minutes

Reception First Look – 10-15 minutes

Couples Session – Reception Sneak Out  – 20-30 minutes

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In Depth Wedding Timeline

The Details

Ideal amount of time – 30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning
Ideal Location - Hotel Suite

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.

Preparation:

Ideal amount of time – 60 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Hotel Suite (Room with a lot of Natural Lighting)

During this time we are getting close ups of the hair and makeup being applied, as well as candid moments, and 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.

The lead photographer will be with the bride while the second photographer will be with the groom. While it doesn’t take guys an hour to get dressed, there are still plenty of great moments during this time between the groom and his family and friends.

Individual Portraits

Ideal amount of time – 30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Hotel Suite, Venue Lobby (Room with a lot of Natural Lighting), or Outside of Venue

After preparation, the best time for individual portraits of the bride and groom (separately). We do this before the ceremony so we can take our time and get those perfect portraits before everything gets hectic.

First Look

Ideal amount of time - 45-60 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon
Ideal Location – Shaded areas with natural light

If you choose to do a first look, it should be around 45-60 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 portraits of the bride and groom.

Wedding Party Photos

Ideal amount of time – 45-60 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Afternoon
Ideal Location -Venue Lobby, Venue, Beach, Park, Off-site Location

During this time, we get a variety of shots in a multitude of poses. We start off with the basic, classic photos focused on great expressions.

Then we move into 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 and groomsmen individually.

Family Photos

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

 It’s important to have additional images with your parents, grandparents, and siblings. This gives us time to get both a fun and formal images with them.

Plan on 3 minutes per group on average.  For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 30 minute time slot.

Ceremony Details

Ideal amount of time – 30 minutes
Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Afternoon
Ideal Location – Ceremony Site


Our second photographer will 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.

Family Formals

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

Plan on 3 minutes per group on average.  For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 30 minute time slot.

We also recommend being organized, with a list of groups and helpers from each side of the family to help round people up.

Couples Session

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

Couple session should ideally be 30 to 45 minutes before sunset. This is the best time in terms of lighting.

Reception Details

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

Our second photographer will 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 we have to capture the beauty of the reception room prior to guest arrival.

Reception First Look

Ideal amount of time – 10-15 minutes
 Ideal Time of the Day – At the end of Cocktail Hour before doors open for guests
 Ideal Location – Reception Site

This is when the reception space is revealed to the couple for the first time. It’s a great opportunity to capture a genuine reaction, as well as a moment alone with the dance floor to practice your first dance.

 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 views and mirrors

During the reception, if you have extra time, we can plan on sneaking out for a couple of night shots. This time is important if you appreciate night photography. 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.