No doubts, that the best photos taken when you don’t expect it. But in order for a wedding to run smoothly, there are plenty coordination that goes into it. So, it’s absolutely “must” to have your timeline and share with your photographer. I always give my couples an advice if they need a help, and go into all details.
The reason all wedding guests say that I make it look so easy to “just show up and photograph” at wedding is because I in depth work on every single wedding day timeline with my couples. So, what does this photography timeline look like, and how do you create one?
How to Determine Your Wedding Photography Timeline
No all weddings are the same, so only you decide when your photographer start and finish creating their art. Each one might have unique factors, so I’ve created rough classic wedding day timeline without a first look. It might be slightly different if you’ll decide to do a first look. Additionally, I shared the types of photos captured during that time to give you an idea how it looks in details.
Groom’s Getting Ready
(45 minutes-1 hour)
Personally I prefer to take photos of boys first. The reason of that is they need to head to the venue first, as bride will walk the aisle as ceremony begin. Also, boys need less time for getting ready photos – no hair styling, no make-up, no jewelry and all those details, you know. It’s much easier for them to wear jackets, tie the knot than for bride to wear the dress and lacing it. Lastly, I can photograph bride preparation till the end and head to ceremony just prior her. So, it’s very logical to photograph boys first.
As I will come to groom’s location, ideally, he’ll be wearing casual, chilling with boys, having breakfast, shaving, etc. In this way I can naturally photograph completed story from the morning preparation, and shoot all details, jackets, shoes.
There are no posed moments it that, I’m letting you being yourself, and capture all the moments from the behind. Ideally, I’d recommend 1 hour for boy’s morning photos, so everything running smoothly and without any rush, and allows enough time to shoot details.
Here is list of photos from Groom’s Getting Ready:
- Grooms details – shoes, jacket, rings, tie, lapel flowers, cufflinks, watch, socks
- Candid photos of groom & groomsmen getting ready and putting their suits on, etc.
- Portraits of groom and all boys together
- Photos with mum & dad & sibling & grandparents
- And a lot of moments in between that you even won’t notice!
*Travelling (0-1 hour) – individually
Bride’s Getting Ready
(1 – 2 hours)
After finishing taking photos of boys, I’m heading to girl’s location. Depending if you are getting ready at the same location or different, you always should take in mind travelling time in between, so I have enough time for both. I’d love to spend at least 1 hour with girls, but ideally would be 1.5 to 2 hours. And I’ll explain below why.
Ideally I’d love to come when hair and makeup artists are still there doing their last touches, so I can get those photos. A great tip for you, to discuss with hair and make-up how much time they will need for all bridal party and ask them to come 30 minutes or even 1 hour earlier, as on the wedding they most of the times running behind the schedule and it’s not allow me enough time for photos without rushing.
You’ll be wearing casual, or most likely in your personalised robes. So, I love to shoot not just a portraits of bride makeup touches, but a whole atmosphere – those bridesmaids’ jokes, champagnes cheers, and all moments in between – so you can remember your morning exactly how it was.
As you chilling around, I will go take photos of detail. Dress hanging beautifully on the wall/window/door or any other beautiful backdrop, shoes, accessories etc. I’m shooting with natural light only, so around big window would be a perfect place to keep tidy for me. A big advantage and time saver if you have all your accessories in one place on the day.
After everyone have their make up on, before you wear your stunning dress, I love to take photos of bridal party in their robes. A bottle of champagne will be great to have in the morning, but it’s totally up to you. Again, most of the morning will be photographed in documentary style, minimizing posing, and snapping your real laugh and emotion.
To the greatest part of bride’s getting ready morning – wearing the dress! Perhaps, your besties will help you to wear it, and I’ll photograph it from the moment when they zipping or lacing. Paying big attention to all small details, I’ll photograph how bridesmaids helping you wearing your dress, shoes, jewellery, and veil. Most of the time veil worn by mum as it’s so intimate moment.
Here is list of photos from Bride’s Getting Ready:
- Bridal Details – shoes, jewellery, dress, veil, rings, flowers, perfumes, invitation (or something showing your date & names etc.)
- Make-up and hair photos
- Candid photos of bride & bridesmaids getting ready in robes & wearing the dress & in dresses
- Portraits of bride and all bridesmaids together
- Photos with mum & dad & sibling & grandparents
- And, of course, a lot of moments in between that you even won’t notice I was there!
*Travelling (0-1 hour) – individually
Ideally, I would love to arrive to the ceremony location slightly earlier than girls, to have enough time for parking, setting up my cameras (as there might be different lightning conditions), have a chat with celebrant about ceremony and agreeing where I’ll be taking group and family photos (as she/he will announce it in the end), and of course take photos of ceremony details, all set up in general, an empty reception set up if it’s at same location, guests arriving and mingling, groom getting more nervous.
Here is list of photos from Pre-Ceremony I usually get:
- Ceremony set up – arch, chairs, location in general & church.
- Ceremony details – flowers, invitations, signs, petals. Every wedding is so individual, but you can be sure the tiniest detail will be photographed.
- Guests arriving & taking photos of your relatives the most, especially grandparents and parents.
- Groom with groomsmen standing waiting for bride to walk the aisle.
(15 minutes – 1.5 hour)
It’s hard to say how long your ceremony will be. Usually it’s around 20-30 minutes together with signing documents. If it’s church ceremony, it might take between 1-2 hours. Ceremony is so emotional part of the day, and, perhaps, my favourite. And it’s 100% no posed, just raw emotions.
So, after bride arrive with the whole bridal party – getting photo out of the car is must, along with many candid photos in-between. Then when walking the aisle, I’m like a boomerang, staying somewhere in the middle and trying to get emotions of both bride and groom. One of my favorites moment of the day – the moment when you see each other.
During the ceremony I’m getting so many angels of you, I’m 100% present, and I approximately know when will be the moment of tears and moment of laugh, so be sure it’ll be documented. As well as emotions of your parents sitting there in first raw and not holding their tears.
Please, don’t hold your emotions! Kiss as long as you feel! That’s your first kiss as married couple! As you walking down the aisle I want to see the most happiness in your eyes! Hold your hand together, stand in the last raw and kiss again as everyone throw confetti or petals on you. That photo is also one of my favourite!!
Even ceremony is not too long (to compare how long your day is), I’m getting the most photos from it.
Here is my list of MUST photos from the Ceremony :
- Bride leaving the car and about to walk the aisle
- Bride walking the aisle
- Groom’s emotions
- First hug as Bride come to groom
- Ceremony vibe in general – different wide angles photos showing the whole location with atmosphere
- Bride and Groom with celebrant – many different angels
- Guests with their emotions
- Close ups of bride/groom
- Vows – different angels, showing your emotions
- Close ups of details
- Exchanging rings
- Signing marriage certificate
- First Kiss
- Walking down the aisle together, confetti tossing
- And many more moments in between!!! YES, all tears and laugh will be captured!
Group photo with all guests
To take actual big group photo take less than a minute. What is take the most of time is to gather all guests in one place. I also won’t rush you from those hugs and congratulations of your parents. But what I can tell you for sure, as longer you’ll be chatting with guests as less chance to get all people in one place for group picture, so better to do it straight away. Also, there are no chance to do group photo during reception or any other time of the day. If we not do it straight after you walk down the aisle then forget about it, no one want group photo when finger food served.
If your wedding is so huge, with let’s say 200+ people, you might decide to not do a big group photo.
Absolutely MUST HAVE photos of the day! While everyone else can go and enjoy their drinks or finger foods, we taking immediate family photos after the big group photo. Your parents and grandparents will definitely ask you for those after your wedding, so there are no chance to miss it. To be more organised and not forget about anyone else for this photos (that you will regret after), I always ask my couples to write down a list of all family combinations that you’d like to take photos with, so we’re more organised on the day.
I’ve put 30 minutes only because there might be some mingling & finger food & drink for newlyweds in between. If we go straight forward to it, 15 minutes should be enough.
Family photos examples:
- Bride & Groom with Bride parents
- Bride & Groom with Groom parents
- Bride with her parents
- Groom with his parents
- Bride & Groom with both sets of parents
- Bride & Groom with Bride’s family (parents, siblings, etc)
- Bride & Groom with Groom’s family (parents, siblings, etc)
- Bride & Groom with siblings
- Bride & Groom with grandparents
This is just an example, as everyone’s family different.
Bridal Party Photos
Usually for bridal party and couples photos I’d recommend around an hour. 20 minutes with bridal party should be good enough (if there are no too much walking or driving). I love to take action photos like walking, dancing, laughing, opening bubbles and having a lot of fun. We can do few traditional photos looking at the camera if you’d like to.
Some examples of bridal party photos:
- Bride & Groom with all bridal party (different actions)
- Bride with girls
- Groom with boys
- Groom with best men
- Bride with maid of honour
This part of the day might be so scaring, especially for groom. “We never took professional photos”, “We look so awkward in front of the camera”, “Just few photos will be enough” – this things I hear constantly from my couples. I’m always telling my couples that it’s so much fun to take couple photos, and they don’t have to pose in front of camera for 40 minutes. But they understand it when time to take photos is here. We have a lot of laugh and actions, and they even won’t remember that someone take photos of them. I think, it’s also so important to feel comfortable with photographer, as you never can be yourself if you are not a good fit. So, take your time to search the photographer that fit your vibe and style. It’s a crucial moment because you don’t want your photos to be so pushed by photographer and posed, and your experienced ruined till the end of the day and forever. It’s one in a lifetime experience!
This time for couple portraits is also a little break between ceremony and reception, and you can enjoy the moment together. Apart from action and movements photos, I love to take romantic portraits where is two of you enjoying a hug or kiss, without disturbing it. I never will say to turn your head a bit more left because it’s not a good angle. I’ll let you be yourself and capture it as authentic as you are!
Again, timing is very personal aspect and 1 hour it’s just an average time (if we are taking photos in the same location as ceremony and reception). However, if there are travel time in between or you want multiple locations for photoshoot, you have to keep it in mind.
Very often, we’re running 20-30 minutes later behind the actual timeline. So it might take even less time, but if you will feel that you got enough and want to go and enjoy the moment with your family, it’s your decision and just do it!
So overall, I’m taking so many pictures, most of them candid, but trust me you’ll want a couple of photos looking at the camera. And when you’ll receive photos, you might be as most of my couples “It’s just so many of them, and all of them are so perfect”.
MUST have photos during couple photosession:
- Couple close-ups
- Couple landscapes
- Bride portraits
- Groom portraits
- Sunset photos (will talk about it later)
- A lot of movement photos: walking, running, dancing etc.
- A lot of photos from behind (my favorites)
- Details: rings, flowers, dress details, suit details, shoes, etc.
You might have around 15 minutes break with bridal party in the room before you enter the reception. So I usually use this time to go and take reception details, including general set up, tables, flowers, accessories and every tiny detail, especially if it’s DIY. Guests might mingle with finger foods in some open area, if time allow I’ll take candid mingling photos of them as well.
- Empty venue room photo with completed decor
- Specific details of each table and unique décor
- Signs with your names and dates
- All DIY details close-ups
- And every little detail that might be important for you!
(1 – 6 hours)
Ok, breath out, you can relax now… well, after few more formalities. You might not have first dance or speeches, but I’ll include it as most of couples have it. You won’t notice me much during reception, as now definitely nothing posed. All moments will be captured in documentary style. You’ll definitely have the timeline for reception. It’ll depend for how long your venue booked, usually it’s around 5 hours, let’s say from 6 to 11pm. All timing will be confirmed with your venue and MC, and they can help you with running sheet for meals, speeches etc. So I’ll give you a general timeline for reception.
As all guests seated, you’ll be announced by MC to enter. I’ll be standing somewhere in the middle and capturing your entrance (trust me, all emotions will be captured)!
Sometimes first dance and cake cutting happening straight after you enter, sometimes after entrees. Either way, you can be sure you’ll get everything documented. Don’t afraid of showing your emotions, every whisper on the ear and every tear will be captured. If you have daughter and father, son and mum dance do it straight after.
“Where to stand” “How to cut” is often asked questions. I’d say “Just cut it”, hold the knife in your hands together, you can stand next to each other or groom behind bride, and just do it. Be yourself, give a bite of cake to your partner, kiss if you feel to, and again show your emotions, be truly yourself.
There will be some moments when guests having entrée or main meal. It’s might be time to have a dinner for vendors as well. But if everyone sitting and just chatting, I might go from table to table to take photos of guests. There will be a lot of mingling moments. If you’d like to go from table to table, we can also take photos with you and your guests.
As you’ll have speeches, I pay big attention not just at those who saying a toast, but you and your emotions. There might be a lot of laugh and giggles as well as a lot of tears. All cheers and atmosphere is so important. I want you to feel the moment when you’ll be looking at your pictures in few years.
If it’s a beautiful sunny day, I might grab you for 5-10 minutes to take those magical photos. You won’t regret it, and I’d definitely recommend to not skip this chance. I might grab you for some photos during reception if there will be an interesting night shot, if you’d like for sure.
This part of the day, as for me, must be captured. You’d be happy to see how your grandma was crazy dancing on the dance floor in 5 or 10 years anniversary. I don’t even mention how crazy you and bridal party can go. This is a part of your beautiful day, and its 100% worth to be captured.
It’s not traditional thing to do, and many couples skip this part, but if you have it, it’s a lot of fun how all girls fighting to catch bouquet.
I’d highly recommend you to have sparklers, as it’s create beautiful vibe as guests sending you off…. And stunning photos, of course!!!
If you’ll decide to have photographer just for first hour or two, it’s better to put all those formalities in the beginning. But I would highly recommend you to get all those dance floor photos and send off! It’s one of a lifetime memories and uncle Bob won’t take good photos if you will rely on him for the rest of reception.
- First dance
- Dance with parents
- Cake cutting
- Bride and Groom emotions when speeches
- All candid in between moments
- Bouquet toss
- Dance floor
- Last dance
- Send off
I love to take photos with my couples as well. Every couple is so special for me as we have long journey together – it’s not just stranger photographer on your wedding day. I’m in touch with my couples from the very beginning, and by the wedding day we are more like a friends. To connect with my couples and get know more each other I’d love to catch up for a coffee or have a zoom meeting, and talk about everything in details. It’s so important for me, that you are having the best experience ever… and it’s not just getting stunning photos from your wedding day, but to have a beautiful vibe from a very beginning until you get your photos. Most of my couples are my friends for a lifetime. So, I might grab you during the day, nominate my camera to some of your friends to take photo of us. It might be not well cropped, but doesn’t really matter.
This is pretty much for classic wedding day timeline. You might have customised it to your day, and I’m more than happy to capture it your way. As long as my couples happy – I’m double happy!!!
Even if you’re not entirely sure how to plan your day, that’s okay, because that’s where I come in and can help you build it fully out!
I’ve put so many valuable information about photography timeline, so don’t lost it – pin it or save on Instagram!
Have more questions or need a help with creating your timeline? I’m only one email away!
Or just come and say HI to me on Instagram!!! I love making new friends!