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Wedding Photography Timeline


Recommendations from experience


Below is a quick overview of our wedding photography timeline recommendations. You can find our minimum and recommended coverage recommendations to the right of each portion of the wedding day. For a more detailed overview of these sections, read further down the article.

Please also keep in mind that these are simply recommendations based on years of experience as professional wedding photographers. The recommendation minimums are listed with the idea that it should be the bare minimum amount of time to capture a great set of photographs without being super rushed. Can great photos be captured in less time? Absolutely! But you are starting to run the risk of missed photos due to being rushed. As wedding professionals, we strive to over-deliver, not under-deliver. If you are running a very tight wedding timeline, aim for just the minimums in parts that may not be important to you, and aim for a good middle ground or our recommended times for portions of the wedding day that you really value.

  • Groom Coverage (35 minutes - 1 hour)
  • Bride Coverage (1 hour - 2 hours)
  • First Look (5 minutes per look)
  • Bridal Party (30 - 45 minutes)
  • Immediate Family (2 minutes per grouping)
  • Ceremony (30 minutes - 1+ hours)
  • Formal Portraits (2 minutes per grouping)
  • Couples Session | Sunset (30 minutes - 1 hour)
  • Reception (1 hour - 3+ hours)
  • Couples Session | Night (10 - 20 minutes)

Groom Coverage (35 minutes - 1 hour)

We suggest a minimum of 35 minutes for the Grooms coverage with a recommendation of 1 hour. Our Studio prefers to begin the day by photographing the Groom as most not only get ready fast but can also take off their jacket after the photos are done and relax. When it comes to remembering your overall wedding story, the day is truly about both of you, which is why we ensure we capture photographs of the Groom and have a dedicated coverage time for such photos.

The Groom's coverage mainly consists of 3 portions detailed below, with the minimum coverage time on the left and the suggested coverage recommendation time on the right.

Groom Details (10 minutes - 15 minutes)

  • Groom detail photographs include sentimental items to the groom, such as his belt, boutonniere, bracelet, collar stays, cologne, cuff links, flask, glasses, letters, matches, money clip, personalized embroidery, pins, pocket square, shoes, suspenders, tie, tie clips, vest, wallet, wrist watch, and any other day-of attire. Our approach to Groom detail photographs is to photograph the detail first alone and then being adorned or in use.

Groom Prep (15 minutes - 30 minutes)

  • Groom prep photographs provide a more candid approach highlighting the Groom preparing for the wedding day and getting dressed. The Groom is usually with his Groomsmen during this portion of the day, so we make sure to incorporate them, although they rarely need direction as they typically help each other get dressed.

Groom Portraits (10 minutes - 15 minutes)

  • We love photographing and creating unique Groom portraits that you will enjoy for years to come! For this portion of Groom prep, the Groom is fully dressed and ready for the big day ahead. When it comes to wedding prep location aesthetics, Grooms usually come second to the Bride, which is not a problem at all. A majority of rooms have a window, and that's all we need to create a handsome portrait with some finesse. Window light provides a soft, flattering light source that looks great on all skin tones. In rare cases, we are stuck in a windowless room, and that is when we bring out off-camera lighting, which is why you should book a wedding photographer that knows how to use off-camera lighting in the first place. With off-camera lighting, we can “create” our own window light anywhere, anytime.

Bride Coverage (1 hour - 2 hours)

When it comes to Bride coverage, we suggest a minimum of 1 hour with a recommendation of up to 2 hours. While you might think this is a lot of time, you also have to keep in mind that hair and makeup does take time to do correctly, especially for a once-in-a-lifetime event like your wedding. Coverage time between 1 and 2 hours allows us time to photograph your bridal details, capture some candid moments of you getting your hair & makeup done, and putting your wedding dress on with some beautiful portraits of you in it.

If your event requires a tight wedding photography timeline, you can opt to have us arrive once your hair and makeup are complete and photograph your details on you once you put on your wedding dress.

Bride Details (15 minutes - 30 minutes)

  • Bridal details photos include all of the bride's accessories and clothing items, including but not limited to her bouquet, dress, earrings, invitation, garter, gifts, keepsakes, letters, necklace, perfume, rings, ring box, shoes, veil, and other items.
  • During this portion of the Bride coverage, we capture highly creative photographs of the wedding dress and ring, sometimes using creative lighting. When it comes to your wedding dress, we may move it to a more unique location if it makes sense aesthetically. We recommend also having a quality dress hanger, maybe even something personalized. Whatever you do, avoid the generic hanger.

Bride Prep (30 minutes - 1 hour)

  • Bride prep coverage is more photojournalistic and natural, capturing candid photos of hair and makeup preparation and the bridesmaids interacting. Our approach is mostly hands-off, except when the bride begins putting on her wedding dress, during which we provide guidance regarding the area with the best light.

Bride Portraits (15 minutes - 30 minutes)

  • This final portion of Bride prep is when we capture stunning and beautiful photos of the bride; not that other photos throughout the day will not be beautiful, but this is when the bride's hair is neat, and makeup is freshly done. We recommend setting time aside specifically for bridal portraits as these photographs will be an important part of the wedding day, and you don’t want to be rushed taking these photos.

First Look (5 minutes/look)

Did you know that having a First Look helps your wedding timeline run smoothly and allows you to spend more time with your guests during your reception? By choosing to see each other before the wedding ceremony, we can take immediate family formals and bridal party photos pre-ceremony instead of taking up time directly after your ceremony while guests wait. In addition to the traditional first look, there are several other variations of the first look, including the father of the bride's first look, brother of the bride's first look, grandparents of the bride's first look, and more.

Father and daughter first look during her wedding

Bridal Party (30 minutes - 45 minutes)

The bridal party portion of the wedding day consists of photographing the bride and groom with their bridesmaids & groomsmen in different variations. Some common and uncommon combinations of bridal party photos include:

  • bride with all of the bridesmaids

  • bride with each individual bridesmaid

  • Individual bridesmaid

  • All of the bridesmaids

  • bride with all of the groomsmen

  • bride with each individual groomsmen

  • Groom with all of the groomsmen

  • Groom with each individual groomsmen

  • Individual groomsmen

  • All of the groomsmen

  • Groom with all of the bridesmaids

  • Groom with each individual bridesmaid

Immediate Family (2 minutes/grouping)

Immediate family photos can be a very emotional yet sentimental portion of the wedding photography timeline. With most weddings, the family usually travels in from out of state, and this can be the first time everyone sees each other for months, even years, and they have all come together to celebrate the Bride & Groom. Immediate Family photos are less posed than the traditional formal portraits and more about highlighting each group's interaction with the bride and groom.

Ceremony (30 minutes - 1+ hours)

The ceremony portion of the wedding day mainly consists of the ceremony itself, and if you desire ceremony detail photos, time set aside for that as well. Wedding ceremonies differ in time depending on the wedding style, tradition, and culture. We have photographed ceremonies as short as 15 minutes on a mountaintop and as long as 1 hour 30 minutes in a gorgeous ornate church. This portion of your wedding timeline is truly up to you.

Ceremony Details (10 minutes - 20 minutes)

  • If you plan on decorating your ceremony location and want photographs that highlight these decorations, we recommend setting aside time for those specific photos. This can be as simple as ensuring the site is set and ready to go well before your ceremony starts. That way, we can arrive before your guests and photograph everything unobstructed.

Formal Portraits (2 minutes/grouping)

If you are planning for formal portraits of your family and guests, a good rule of thumb is 2 minutes per grouping. This time allotment is realistic, allowing everyone in the group to get situated, take several photographs, and make any necessary adjustments. When it comes to formal portraits, some common groupings include, but are not limited to:

  • Bride & groom + parents
  • Bride & groom + grandparents
  • Bride & groom + parents + grandparents
  • Bride & groom + parents + grandparents + siblings
  • Bride & groom + siblings
  • Bride & groom + cousins
  • Bride & groom + friends

Some family portraits do require a bit of tweaking when there has been a divorce in the family or certain family members do not get along well with one another. In these situations, we place each member on opposite sides of the photograph if needed.

Couples Session | Sunset (30 minutes - 1 hour)

The Couples Session is when we create some of the most iconic photographs from your wedding day. Most of the signature style photos you see on our website are photographed during the couple's session. To create something truly unique for you, we require the time to just “create.” Most of our couples value this part of the wedding day and are even willing to travel to a local spot if it's better aesthetically. This portion of the wedding day timeline is slightly before sunset and during sunset. Directly after sunset, the blue hour starts, and the sky looks amazing.

Reception (1 hour - 3+ hours)

Your Wedding reception portion of the day typically comprises the reception itself; however, if your reception is full of decor and floral arrangements, you certainly want to set time aside for these photos. Most wedding receptions have a similar flow: grand entrance, dances, dinner, toasts/speeches, dances, bouquet/garter toss, dances, and a formal exit, although each wedding is unique and can certainly have its own flow.

Reception Details (10 minutes - 20 minutes)

  • We recommend setting aside 10-20 minutes to photograph your reception location fully set and ready. It is important to note that being fully set up and ready means no staff making “last minute” adjustments. For these photographs to meet our standards, we usually use a tripod and slow shutter speed to bring in the ambiance and lighting of the room, so no movement at all in the room makes for great photos. If these photographs are important to you, let the venue staff and planner know everything needs to be set by the time we arrive.

Reception First Look (5 minutes - 10 minutes)

  • If you invested in your reception, you surely want to see it for the first time with your partner privately, which is why we recommend a reception first look. We recommend 5 - 10 minutes to photograph your reaction and a few natural photos of you. As with the reception details portion, we highly suggest having the room fully set up and ready to be photographed with no one moving about in the background. This will allow your photos to look perfect!

Couples Session | Night (10 minutes - 20 minutes)

As your reception party goes on, we advise our couples to sneak away for a few night photos as it is something different and adds a nice closing shot to the wedding album. The best time for this is usually well into the reception when everyone is on the dance floor. To make these photos super fast for you, we try our best to have everything set up and ready to go by the time you arrive, so after a few photos (That will be epic), you are back partying with your family and friends.