New Forest Wedding Photographer: Rhinefield House Hotel | Amy & Tom

How to Create A Perfect Photography Timeline For My Wedding Day

One of the most popular questions I get asked is how to organise a flawless photography timeline.

It is important to start planning your wedding photography timeline earlier rather than later. This can be challenging and daunting if you haven’t got experience with wedding photography, which most people don’t!

The quiet in-between moments at weddings are always my favourite. Watching someone get nervous and excited at the same time. Feeling the mood change in the room just before the ceremony, feeling the happiness and watching people respond to beautiful speeches about love. All the different types of weather, the children giggling with excitement at the thought of throwing confetti.

A good understanding of the photographs you want to capture from the start of your wedding planning journey will help. As a start to your planning, you can begin to allocate time frames for each wedding activity. The following blog will help you do just that!

One of the most essential points to remember when beginning your wedding photography timeline is that you must be realistic when allocating time. You need to ensure that you are not rushing the natural flow and process of photography. Allowing candid moments to sneak through and all that infectious laughter from the speeches! Allow as much extra time as you can.

You can never have too much time for photography, especially on such an important day as your wedding day! As a professional Wedding Photographer based in Alicante, Spain, I recommend you consider the following things while making your photography timeline.

Individual Prep Photos

The ideal time for these photographs is around 45-60 minutes. Try and give sufficient time for the photographer to take photos of everything. From portraits, rings, bouquets, dresses, suits, and family traditions.

Mother/Father/Daughter/Son first look on a wedding day

This emotional first look between a family members and the wedding couple preparing for their wedding day is a beautiful moment. Allow 10-15 minutes for your parents to bask in awe at you! …and for your photographer to capture all the emotions.

Guest arrival at the ceremony

30-45 minutes will be enough for your wedding photographer to capture your guests arriving at your venue. If your guests are arriving in the middle of the day, ensure you have sufficient shade available. Bright sunlight can create harsh shadows, which isn’t great for photographs.

Bride/Groom/Couple arrival at the ceremony

These photographs should only take around 10 minutes per person. The first look session may last for only 5 to 10 minutes. You could also choose to have individual portraits of you and your love exclusively before you get married.

Ceremony starts

Your photographer may take around 30 to 40 minutes to take some classic ceremony photographs. Your photographer will need to move around the ceremony venue. Make sure you have thought about the access they will have. You won’t want your photographer to miss the critical moments because they were struggling to move around a small venue with obstacles in their way.

Venue details

You need to allow at least 30 minutes for your photographer to take pictures of your venue. Planning to style your venue in your wedding styling? Be sure to let your photographer know. Having these photographs taken without any vendors or guests in the area is preferable, as you will want to see the details unspoilt.

Friends group photos

Allow a minimum of 30 minutes to take photos with your close friends. Then, why don’t you ask your photographer to take some candid photos while you enjoy drinks and catch up?

Family photos

Family photos can take anything from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on your family size. These photographs include your parents, siblings, cousins, children and grandparents. Always allow for extra time here as you find your family will disperse around the venue!

Bridal &/or Groom party photos and Couple portraits

This is my favourite time on your wedding day! It is a chance for you as a couple to have some alone time away from your guests. It is also a great moment to get super creative and create beautiful wedding day portraits. Try and allocate as much time as possible for your couple portraits, up to an hour if possible! These photographs are such an important part of your wedding day! I suggest you schedule these photographs for around 30 to 40 minutes before sunset. Photographers call this hour golden hour. It’s a magical time of day for portraits.

Alicante wedding photographer

Guests at the beginning of the reception and couple to enter the reception

This is a perfect opportunity to capture genuine reactions and the best moments. The timing depends on how long you want alone with your other half before entering the reception, dinner and speeches. Around 30 minutes is usually enough for photographers to capture the atmosphere and decor, as well as you, the wedding couple, entering and basking in that ‘just married’ feeling!

Wedding speeches

Usually, wedding speeches happen at the reception/dinner. Traditionally, particular members of each couple’s family and friends will give a speech. Some like to keep these short and sweet; others may take 10 minutes or more. When considering your wedding timeline, I would allocate at least 5 to – 15 minutes per speech. Most couples try and tie these speeches between food courses and drinks. I’ve found this works well as speeches become part of the day’s entertainment.

Cutting the cake

Traditionally, it was only the bride who cut the wedding cake. This symbolised her breaking through to womanhood. Today, cutting the cake represents the first activity the couple gets to do together. Around 5-10 minutes will be perfect for this part of your wedding day. You may also want to think about whether you will have one or many tiers and if you will cut each layer. Some couples choose to leave this to the caterers after the initial cutting.

The couples, father & daughter, parents first dance

Many couples have these traditional dances at different times on their wedding day. Whilst the couple’s first dance may only be up to 5 minutes long, guests joining you on the dance floor will mean lots of faces and emotions to capture. These initial first dances can take 30 minutes to 1 hour to capture.

Sunset photographs

This is a great moment to capture some more relaxed portraits. Why not bring in your best friends to enjoy the view? Perhaps you have hired unique entertainment for the evening, like a merry-go-round or games. This is an excellent opportunity to get some fun and unique wedding portraits with those you love.

Drinks & cocktails

Your photographer will capture your guest’s beautiful faces throughout your wedding day and night, but when cocktails and drinks are served, and the party gets going, guests will always loosen up, and the most candid shots will be created. You can schedule anything from 45 minutes to 2-3 hours for your photographer to mingle with guests, documenting impromptu memories and moments you will treasure forever.

Wedding exit

During the wedding exit, your photographer will capture those sweet moments of embarking on your first steps in public as a married couple. At this point of your wedding, the photographer will usually depart. It is excellent if you have thought about how your photographer will get home. Perhaps booking them a taxi and sending them off with some wedding favours! If you’re lucky, your wedding photographer will work on your photographs as soon as they get home. Those all-important sneak peek photographs are the icing on top of the cake the day after your wedding!

Jul 2, 2021

Hannah Hutchins

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