HOW TO PLAN A PHOTOGENIC WEDDING: PART V: Photography timetable
The order of events is different at every wedding. You’ll have to decide what fun things you’re doing at your reception, and in what order, when you’ll shoot all the different photos, when you’ll sign your wedding license, even when you can make time to eat!
Luckily, Wedding professionals in every category are knowledgable about what does and doesn’t work. I highly recommend reaching out to your DJ, pastor, and Wedding Planner when you are making decisions about your timetable.
As the Photographer, the timetable can make or break my ability to deliver great photographs. Every Wedding I shot in 2016 was successful because my brides were open to my suggestions about the best time and location to shoot their photos. In 2017 I wasn’t so lucky. There’s only so much I can do to get you awesome photos of you with your siblings when the sun has gone down. If you want beautiful light and soft shadows, you will need to be open to shifting your timetable.
There are a few major photo categories that need to be worked into every wedding. Family portraits, Wedding party portraits, photos of the couple, and details shots. Together this takes between 2-3 hours to complete.
Several times this year I’ve had couples opt out of detail shots so they could shave time off their package, and every one regretted it in the end. If you give your photographer the time to take photos of your dress, rings and flowers, you will inevitably end up with beautiful photographs that are perfect for printing and framing around your home, and for sharing in thank you notes and Facebook posts. Most of my favorite Wedding Images are of bouquets and rings! Most photographers want about an hour to capture these details and then shoot some tasteful images of you getting ready for the ceremony.
Family Portraits are normally the least important in the timeline. Most couples don’t choose to print and frame these photos, they are just shared as a souvenir for mom and dad. If you are going to push anything back into the evening or shoot when the light isn’t perfect, this is the set to sacrifice.
Wedding Party portraits are among the most printed in the Wedding Industry. Over half of the couples I’ve shot have chosen a photo of their Wedding Party to be the highlight of their wedding album or gallery wall. The other half choose a photo of themselves, which is traditional. If you allow your Wedding Photographer to schedule photos with your whole Wedding Party at a time of day when the light is prime, you will undoubtably be more happy with your Wedding Photographs as a whole.
The Couple. Just you. This is the part of the day that is hardest to schedule, and often gets overlooked. Twice I’ve gotten to photos of the couple only to have the Bride declare that she is too tired or hungry or needs to just relax for a while and then we never get back to it. Photos of you and your new husband or wife should be the most important photos you take, and should receive the most attention to planning. I will always do my absolute best to get the most beautiful pictures of you possible, but there are things you can do to help.
First Look. This is becoming a more and more popular option for couples. If you are having a sunset ceremony, it’s a must. A first look still allows you to have the shock and awe moment of seeing each other for the first time, either in private or with you friends or family present. Your photographer has more freedom to move around you and capture the best angles possible at this beautiful moment. You then spend 10-20 minutes taking pictures alone. You are fresh, you haven’t been on your feet all afternoon, and you are most likely to be able to really enjoy one another and allow your photographer the absolute best conditions to shoot in. I recommend this option to any couple who will have a time crunch between the ceremony and reception, or if there won’t be enough light to shoot everything after the Ceremony.
After the Ceremony is only an option if you still have light after your Ceremony, and if you are allowing for a cocktail hour. A good photographer should be able to get through the family, wedding party, and couple photos within an hour after the pastor has declared you man and wife.
Bridal Sessions started out as a last resort for me to offer to Couples when we just couldn’t find a way to give them a magical moment on the day of the Wedding. Now I recommend it to everyone. When you schedule a Bridal Session for a day after your wedding, you not only get to choose a stunning location, you also have nothing else to worry about. There is no complicated timetable, no wedding party or guests to think about, it’s just the two of you and your photographer spending some quality time capturing beautiful moments together.
If you are overwhelmed or stressed out about the timing of your Wedding Photographs, don’t be! Any Wedding Photographer worth their salt will be able to advise you and help you construct a timetable that will be as easy and constructive as possible for getting what you want out of your photographs.
If you are eloping or had a bad experience with a Wedding Photographer, please get in touch! I have scholarships available for couples who weren’t able to get great photos at their Wedding, and a whole catalogue of great ideas and locations for making your photos as stunning and memorable as my own!