How Much Time Should You Allow In Your Day For Your Wedding Photos?
Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post.
Today’s contributing author is Rose Schaller of Rose Schaller Photo
If you don’t have a planner for your wedding, your wedding photographer is your next best resource for helping you plan a wedding day timeline. Why? Because they are the only other wedding vendor that will be with you all day. They know how long photos take and based on the timing and location of your ceremony and reception, can help you work backwards to figure out how much time you need to build in for photos, when you should start to get ready, how long you need for family and styled photos and how many places you can go for photos based on the time you have.
For example, I had a three-hour break between my ceremony and reception. I had 5 places on my list for photos, and our photographer was educated enough to tell us that even though three hours may seem like a lot of time, it actually goes by much faster than you think. Those three hours included time for posed shots with family and our bridal party, included travel, and included time to pose everyone, which, depending on how large your bridal party is, could eat up some time. He also wanted us to make sure we were at our venue in time to enjoy cocktail hour.
His insight was invaluable as he helped us narrow down our choices of locations to those closest to our venue instead of locations further away. The end result was that we weren’t rushed, we had plenty of time to take photos and a few fun ones, and made it back in time for cocktail hour.
Today, we’re speaking to Rose Schaller of Rose Schaller Photography to help you plan how much time you should include into your wedding day timeline for posed and styled photos. Each couple and each wedding will have a different timeline, so this is merely a starting point to give you an idea of what to expect. It’s very important that you speak to your photography to set up the perfect timeline for you.
Despite the fact that each wedding is different, they are similar in that they all have the same “parts” or “stages”. Schaller says “Images are captured all throughout your wedding day so time should be allowed during each part to take photos. Not all photos will be staged and posed but still, having time in your timeline for them will allow the photographer to capture those little moments that you may forget.”
So, what are these stages? Well, outside of the obvious ceremony and reception, there are three areas that are usually designated for posed and candid shots. These are:
“I would add 30 mins to your getting ready time schedule to allow your photographer time to take photos of you getting ready, as well as your bridal party getting ready and celebrating, and maybe even seeing you for the first time with your veil on and ready to walk down the aisle,” says Schaller. “Having that extra time in your getting ready section of your day allows the ability for these moments to take place.”
“The next block of time that I ask for is the First look,” Schaller says. “Again, a half hour is more than enough time and we will probably not use all that time but the longer you have, the more time the two of you will have alone prior to the wedding.”
Formal portraits (which can happen before or after the ceremony):
Formal portraits can be broken down into four categories: Couples photos, wedding party, family, and maybe some friends. Schaller says “I usually recommend to set aside an hour to an hour and a half. If you see each other beforehand for a first look, you (couple, wedding party, family) will want to all be back in your suite 30 mins prior to your service. That is when guests start to arrive.” What if you don’t want a First Look? “If you decide not to see each other ahead of time,” says Schaller, “then the cocktail hour would be when these (formal) photos would be happening.”
But here’s the most important piece of advice. ALWAYS PLAN EXTRA TIME! Schaller says, “If you plan an extra 15 –20 mins throughout your day you will have plenty of time to relax and
enjoy your family and guests and that is where the true moments are captured.” She says it’s impossible to plan every second of your day because, if you do, she says “You won’t have a second to stop and enjoy your day. It will go by fast enough without every minute being planned. Free time at your wedding is a wonderful thing!”
Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked photography questions.