Newlyweds with the bride's gorgeous bouquet enjoying sunset together

Advice on Planning Your Wedding Photography Timeline

You’ve spent a decent amount of time looking at other people’s wedding photos and dreaming about how you can make those your own, right?

To get all of those perfect posed and natural shots, it’s important that we work together to create a wedding day timeline with ample time dedicated to capturing pictures that are important to you, whether it’s your wedding dress blowing in the breeze or your brother playing the guitar during your reception. Here are some of the more common requests for wedding day photography with some rough time estimates, notes, and tips to help you plan your wedding day timeline.

Rings, Dress, Shoes, and Details

30 minutes

You’ve spent time planning out the fine details of your look and now it’s time for me to capture all of your hard work. I will want to commandeer the rings (don’t worry, they’ll be back to the proper people before the ceremony), and I always like some help getting the dress positioned in a great location. Make sure your shoes, bouquet, jewelry, and any other fun details you may have are convenient, too. These are usually the first things to be photographed, and you’ll be so busy with hair and makeup and your bridesmaids to even take note of what I’m doing!

Tip: Remember to bring a hanger for your dress – something personalized or plain that looks nice and matches your unique style.

Getting Ready

60 minutes

Not everyone has their photographer get wedding preparation shots, but these are great to have to relive intimate moments with friends and immediate family. While you’re getting ready, I photograph the emotion, excitement, and anticipation leading up to the wedding, as well as some special candid moments of a bride with her bridesmaids and/or groom with his groomsmen.

Tip: Talk to your hair and makeup artist to figure out when’s best to have everything done to make best use of your time with me; I’m happy to be there for hours, but most brides actually want me there while their makeup is getting finished up.

First Look and Individual and Couple Portraits

15-30 minutes

If you feel comfortable seeing each other and taking photos before your ceremony, I highly recommend setting up a first look. This is a private moment that I’ll work with you to create where you see your partner for the first time on your wedding day. And, even though the first look itself is quick, we can start right into portraits of you both together and separately, then get most or all of your posed family formals done before the ceremony.

Tip: Think of something for your wedding party and parents to do elsewhere so you can really make the first look yours.

Wedding Party Portraits

30-45 minutes

I like to begin with basic, classic photos of the wedding party with the couple, then move into more creative shots.

Tip: Make sure your wedding party knows that promptness will make you happy on your wedding day!

Family Formals

30-60 minutes

Posed formal pictures (we’ll take them either before or after the ceremony, depending on timing) mean so much to parents and grandparents. These photos end up being the keepsakes that get passed down from generation to generation. I like to work with you to make a list of the exact groupings you want so that we can keep things moving along and not get sidetracked by taking every photo that everybody wants; I always tell your family members that we can take more photos if there’s time when we’re done taking the ones you want. If all goes well, estimate about 3 minutes per family group shot.

Tip: Make sure that formals go smoothly by designating somebody – a family member or a wedding planner – to make sure that people are gathered together and ready for pictures.

Ceremony and Reception Details

30 minutes

Before guests arrive, I like to slip away to photograph details of the ceremony and reception venue that you’ve spent so long planning and putting into place – flowers, decoration, and your unique touches.

Tip: While I don’t need to know everything that you planned, let me know if there’s anything that you absolutely need pictures of.


15-90 minutes

Depending on where your wedding is and who’s officiating it, your ceremony can be super quick or take over an hour. Either way is fine by me; I’ll be taking pictures and capturing the fun, individuality, or sanctity of your wedding ceremony.

Tip: Find out what the officiant and house rules are with respect to photography ahead of time so there aren’t any unpleasant surprises.

Post-Ceremony Photos and/or Mid-Reception Photos

30-60 minutes

While your guests are enjoying a little break in the day or while your guests are enjoying the cocktail hour, we can take more pictures of the two of you! Many times, these photos are at a new location, and that means you’ll get some different scenery in your photos.

Tip: Even if you don’t have a full hour to spare, plan some time around sunset for us to steal away and take at least a handful of photos of the two of you; that’s when we’ll have the best light of the day.


2+ hours

The reception is your chance to truly enjoy the evening and to not think twice about photography. I try to blend into the background to capture important and candid moments throughout your wedding reception and your guests who came to party with you. I want you to be able to look back on these photos and relive the story of your wedding day.

Tip: The best way to get photos of your guests having fun is to have them partying. Hire a professional DJ if you want to increase the odds of your friends and family partying throughout the night.

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