Crafting Your Wedding Photography Timeline

While those beautiful wedding photos you see on Instagram and Pinterest look totally effortless, there's actually a whole lot of work going on behind the scenes to ensure they're just right (and if you don't believe us, just check out our Saturday behind-the-scenes shots on Facebook!). Don't expect you can just hire a photographer, invite them to your wedding, go about your big day and get the photos you'll cherish for a lifetime. 

Just like your wedding takes a lot of planning and forethought, getting the shots you want does as well. However, it's not as difficult as you may be thinking, and a general timeline can be followed with spectacular results. 

Here are some of our tips, so we can capture every magical moment, and you won't feel rushed or stressed in the slightest. 

 

Rings, Dress, Shoes & Other Details

You want to allow for about half an hour to get all the little details: the rings, the shoes (yes, even the shoes!), the bouquet, the dress, etc. This is most easily done right in the bridal suite as you're getting ready and, with our two photographers, we can be in two places at once, so we can capture everything on both the groom's and bride's side. 

Rings+on+top+of+wooden+box.jpg
Groom's+bowtie+and+shoes+for+wedding.jpg
Bride's wedding dress on hanger

Time Needed: 1 hour

Location: Bride/Groom Suite

Tips:

- Have all the little details you want photographed ready to go and untagged for your photographer, before they arrive. We call this the Bride Box + Groom Box.

- Have the rings all in one spot, most preferably with the bride.

- Bring your invitation suite, including the invitation, the RSVP card, the save the date, etc. It makes a lovely detail shot to add to your wedding album, particularly when paired with the rings or some of your flowers.

- The little details make all the difference, so have a nice hanger for your wedding dress. No need to buy something super-fancy, if you don't want to. A nice wooden hanger you already have at home will do.

- Don't forget the groom's accessories! If he has cool cuff links, fun socks or whatever it may be, let us know, so we're sure to get it on film!

 

Bride and Groom Getting Dressed

Don't skip capturing these important last moments of your single life! Again, with two photographers, we can snap photos of both the bride and bridesmaids and groom and groomsmen, without missing a thing! 

Groom's father helping with tie
Bridesmaids+surrounding+bride.jpg
Mother helping bride get dressed

Time Needed: 45-60 min.

Location: Bride/Groom Suite

Tips:

- If you can, arrange for the bride and groom to get ready in bride and groom suites at your actual venue. The extra little touches there will go a long way, and make for better photos that overall flow with the rest of your day's style.

- If you and your spouse-to-be are planning to exchange before-the-wedding letters or gifts, this is a great time to do it! 

 

Bride and Groom Individual Portraits

It doesn't take long to snap a few individual portrait shots of the bride and groom, but planning it into your schedule will ensure it's not a rushed process. 

Bride looking out window before wedding
groom+portrait+photo.jpg
Bride holding bouquet

Time Needed: 15-20 min.

Location: Getting Ready Location

Tips:

- Preferably, you'll have some nice natural lighting from the windows in your getting-ready location, which makes for better portraits.

- The best time for these photos is right after hair and makeup and before all the commotion begins. 

 

Bride/Groom First Look

Plan a good 15-20 minutes for your first look photos, if you choose to do them. The best spots for these are somewhere private (so a wandering guest doesn't butt in!) and shaded.

Bride+meets+groom.jpg
First+look+for+bride+and+groom.jpg
Bride walking behind groom

Time Needed: 15-20 min.

Location: Private shaded area at venue

Tips:

- If you're on the fence about doing a first look, we think it's a great time for the bride and groom to see one another privately, without all the hustle and bustle of the ceremony. It can be a special moment for just the two of you.

- Or, you can add in bridal party photos at the same time, so they don't take up time during your cocktail hour, if it starts right after your ceremony. After all, you probably put a lot of thought into your cocktail hour, so you should get to enjoy it, too!

- Even if you don't do your bridal party photos at the same time as your first look, it's still an excellent time to do the bride and groom couples portraits!

 

Ceremony & Venue Details

Finally! Something we can shoot that you barely have to worry about at all! After everything's set up, we just need about half an hour to snag a few shots of your wedding decor and details.

Wedding cake topper
barnes+farm+table+setting+wedding+photo.jpg
Wedding place cards

Time Needed: 30 min.

Location: Ceremony and reception venue

Tips:

- This is best done before your wedding guests arrive; one of us can be taking your first look shots, while the other is getting the decor and details, so we aren't missing a thing!

 

Wedding Party Photos

Wedding party photos don't take as long as you may think. Just about half an hour is all it takes, and we incorporate a mix of both traditional and fun shots and poses. 

groom+and+groomsmen+photo.jpg
Wedding+party+walking+in+rain.jpg
bridesmaids+photo.jpg

Time Needed: 30 min.

Location: Shaded area at venue

Tips:

- We work off your wedding party's vibe and personalities to determine the types of creative photos and poses we do, so everything feels natural and unforced. 

 

Family Formals: Immediate Family, Extended Family & Friends

Family formals take a little more time, since there's almost an endless amount of people you may want to include, and, even with the best organization, it can sometimes be difficult to wrangle together all your siblings, grandparents, nieces, nephews and more into one photo. 

Large group photo
Family photo at wedding
Group photo at wedding

Time Needed: 30-45 min.

Location: Ceremony or venue location

Tips:

- We'll send you a questionnaire 30 days before your wedding, asking you to name the individuals you'd like included in these photos. Filling it out is tremendously helpful as we plan. 

- Organization is key to staying on time, so get your wedding planner involved in this task, or, a trusted member of the bridal party. 

- Assign a specific family member or friend to help call names, and get everyone in one spot.

- Remind your family members at the rehearsal dinner that you'll need them for photos after the ceremony, and give them specifics of who, when and where. 

 

Bride & Groom Session

After your ceremony and family photos, if you don't do a first look, this would be the time to get that hour or so of bride and groom portraits. The good thing about doing it after your ceremony, is that it may be around the golden hour (depending on timing), making for some excellent lighting and dramatic shots!

Marissa&Andrew-392.jpg
Couple by rose bush
Couple seen through grapevine

Time Needed: 30- 45 min. (ideally 45-60 min. before sunset - the golden hour)

Location: Ceremony or venue location

Tips: Think back to your engagement session.  We're going to do something very similar on a shorter time scale.

 

Reception Details

Just like those pre-ceremony detail shots, reception detail photos are a great addition to your wedding album, too! All it takes is about half an hour before the guests enter the reception venue.

Bride and groom chairs
Dessert table at reception
Reception details

Time Needed: 30 min. before guests enter

Location: Reception site

Tips:

- Allow time before your guests arrive for the second shooter to grab photos of all the untouched reception details, from the cake to the centerpieces. 

 

Sunset Photo (Optional but Epic!)

While it's certainly not required, a sunset photo, which only takes a few minutes out of your reception, is a spectacularly dramatic addition to your wedding photos. 

Bride and groom under tree
wedding couple in lavender field photo
stone+tower+winery+engagement+session+photo.jpg

Time Needed: 15 min. at or after sunset 

Location: Reception venue

Tips:

- We'll set up a photo location while you're enjoying your reception, and then pull you away for a mere 5-10 min. to capture the beautiful sunset lighting.

- This typically occurs right after you eat dinner, so it doesn't interrupt your fun!

Steven Baker

Bakerture Photo & Video, 1210 S Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA, 22204, United States