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How much time should I set aside for photos on my wedding day?

Written by Joanna on Sunday, 02 October 2011. Posted in FAQs - Helpful Planning Tips

Wedding Planning - Creating a wedding timeline

Excluding the photojournalistic shots taken during the ceremony and reception action, wedding photography can be divided into 3 groups.

Pre-ceremony photos:

the bride getting ready with her bridesmaids
the bride alone
the bride with parents and significant people
the groom alonethe groom with his men and parents etc.
detail shots of the wedding location and personal bridal items

Formal Photos:

the entire bridal party combined
his family
her family

Romantic Photos:

exclusively of the bride and groom together at a variety of locations and set ups on site

The timeline depends on your schedule and vendor requirements.  Some wedding locations have built-in timelines you are required to follow.  If you have some flexibility, I strongly advise referring to www.sunrisesunset.com to check the time of sunset on your wedding day.  An hour before sunset is the sweetest light for romantic photos.  I remember a bride who said her vows as the sun was slipping down.  It was very romantic, however following the ceremony it was time to take photos and it was pitch black.  All the flash in the world will not light up the gorgeous mountain setting she had paid for.  Consult your photographer before finalizing your time line to ensure all your special planning is reward with gorgeous photos that display every detail.  You can group all three categories of photos before the ceremony, or split them up between events, or lumping all at the end.  Whatever suits your day best.  If you can plan the romantic shoot to be near sunset your photographer will love you.  If you can't, that's fine.  A good photographer can make any time of day work.

For approximate time allotments:

Pre-ceremony photos: allow 1 hr 30 min or  two hours.  The photos will not take this long but this ensures time is available to deal with set backs (late flowers, late groomsmen, etc). This will also provide time to rest and refresh before beginning the ceremony.

Formal family photos: generally 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the amount of family groupings.  If the small sets are completed in pre-ceremony (ei. bride with mom etc.) and only large family or bridal party sets are to be done then 45 minutes should be enough.

Romantics - anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the location.  If the more creative locations are a bit of a walk then 1 hour might be needed.

Don't skimp on time allotments.  Following the wedding, all that will remain are some wilting flowers, a bit of cake, a gorgeous spouse, and hopefully some splendid photos!!

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