How to Plan Your Wedding Photography Timeline

How to Plan Your Wedding Photography Timeline

If you are thinking about how to plan your wedding photography timeline then it is crucial to think about what you would like to capture. Some couples want to capture every detail of their big day, while others want to stick to a more relaxed pace. There is no right or wrong answer to wedding photography timelines, as each couple will have different wants and needs. However, following a timetable can help the photographer capture all the crucial moments without feeling rushed.

Planning your wedding photography timeline can be a daunting task. Still, it can be easy to stay on track and have outstanding photos that capture the most critical moments of your big day with a bit of organisation. Here are some tips to help you get started.

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wedding photography timeline

Introduction: How to Plan Your Wedding Photography Timeline

Figure out your style of photography


You have to decide what style of photography you would like your wedding photos to look like as this will impact how the day is run. Do you want them to be formal? Romantic? Both? This can have a massive impact on what type of photos you will receive from your photographer and how much time they have allocated to certain parts of the day. For example, if you have booked a photographer who mainly focuses on candid photos, you shouldn’t expect them to dedicate time to group photos.

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Allow extra time

You need to allow yourself plenty of time for the wedding photography process. If you want to be sure that your story is captured in all its glory, the photographer will probably take longer than you think. Also, if you are travelling between places, always allow extra time; it’s better to spend spare time with your guests than be late.

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How To Plan A Wedding Photography Timeline

Start at the ceremony. For bridal and groom prep photos, it’s best to start at the ceremony start time and work backwards. Don’t forget to include travel time if moving between venues and always allow a little extra time. If I’m photographing bridal prep, I always try to aim to be at the venue three hours before. This gives me time when I arrive to introduce myself, familiarise myself with the venue and start to ease into photographing you and your bridal party. The second hour is the time to get those all-important detailed photos, and the last hour is the crazy hour. This is the time for those final prep photos, guests arriving, and the all-important first reveal. This doesn’t include travel time, so don’t forget to add this to your schedule. There is nothing worse than missing those final moments because I have had to leave early to get to the venue on time.

Step By Step

After the ceremony, start to work through your day step by step. This is easier once the venue has been booked and your wedding breakfast has been planned.

As a rule of thumb, I always allow you to grab a drink, greet your guests and mingle before doing any group photos. This allows your guests to congratulate you after the ceremony and for a bit of calm to come over the room.

Wedding Photography timeline

When it comes to group photos, I always start big and work my way down. There’s nothing worse if you are a wedding guest and spend all your afternoon waiting to be photographed. People are at your wedding to have a good time, not stand in a line to be photographed.

When speaking to your venue, it is worth asking about how long you will have between the end of the ceremony and sitting down for your meal. On average, it is roughly two hours, which may seem like a long time, but on the other side of the camera, it isn’t if you have to photograph your group photos, candid shots, couples portraits and detailed shots of the venue.

The summer helps! Things like couples photos and even some group photos can be pushed back during the summer months because of the lighter nights. Still, if you are having a winter wedding, it is worth remembering when the sun will go down and how long your photographer will be in the remaining daylight.

Wedding photographer

The First Dance And Cake Cutting

I always recommend that you do these simultaneously; all your guests are with you in one place, and you don’t have to keep interrupting them. Also, these photos only take roughly 20 minutes, then it’s on to the dance floor with your guests. Once this is done, it’s time to let your hair down and party.


Communication! Speak to your venue and photographer before setting anything in stone. What the venue might say is a good idea may actually be impossible for the photographer and vice versa.

Check what time the sun goes down….. the light is your friend.

Always allow extra time – something will hold you up.

Speak to your photographer and make a list of group photos you would like; this helps everyone involved. The longer you spend doing group photos, the less time you get to mingle with your guests.

Trust your photographer’s gut instinct; they know what they are doing.