Hi! Very often I get asked this question:
“How much time should I allow for my wedding photos?”
Today I wanted to give you a little advice on how to get all theÂ photos you want on your wedding day and get your times right. Nowadays more and more couples want to enjoy their party with friends and family. I understand those who say they donÂ´t want to stay too long away from their guests.
However, bear in mind that you only throw a big party like this once in a lifetime. You spend a lot of money on decorations, dresses, flowers and this will be a day when you will be looking your best and you will definitely want toÂ preserve thoseÂ wonderful memories.
So I highly recommendÂ making a little effort towards allowing some quality time for your wedding photography. After all, once the guests have gone, the party is over, the food has been eaten, you take off your dress (which you will never wear again)…all you have left with is your memories and your wedding photography and video.
After the initial get-to-know-each-other chat with my couples, which I really enjoy (and itÂ´s very useful for me), I get to see what the couple values most, what issues or comments they bring up and requests for me.
For me itÂ´s essential to have a good understanding of what the couple expects from me so I can make sure I will deliver.
If I think I might not be a good fit, I will say so and recommend another photographer that might be better. For me the most important thing is for the couple to be happy with their wedding photos. I always say that word of mouth is the best marketing so that is my aim for all my couples. That they love their photos and show them to all their friends!
During our conversation, we talk aboutÂ the timeline. Some couples have a one hour cocktail, others have two hours, others have a break in between ceremony and cocktail, so knowing all these things are very important to have a smooth wedding day. Rushing is not the best for creativity, so I try to take my time to breath and allow myself a little bit of fun!
This is what I recommend to all my clients, and itÂ´s my favorite (secret) formula, in chronological order:
- I like to spend one hour with the bride before the ceremony. It seems like a long time, but itÂ´s not. I always ask the bride to have hair and make up done by the time I arrive, so I can start shooting her straight away. Â Â If she is not ready, I will start photographing details, rings, flowers, invitations, etc. Sometimes I only get 10 mins of the bride fully ready, and thatÂ´s a shame because I feel like I have missed many wonderful photo opportunities.
- I spend thirty minutes with the groom before the ceremony. This is the standard,Â and it usually works well if we do it at the ceremony venue. I rarely do preparation shots with the groomÂ in the room. I like to photograph him alone, with bestman, ushers, parents or siblings, and I also take a few details of his suit, cufflinks, tie, etc.
- If the groom likes to go have a beer with his groomsmen or similar before the ceremony, I will join them if I can (not to drink beer, but to photograph the scene!). Mind you, I donÂ´t drink alcohol ever, not even on my own wedding day!
- I like to arrive at the ceremony location thirty minutes before the start to photograph guests arriving, decorations and get ready for the bride.
- Then I photograph the ceremony and when itÂ´s over I give the couple time to hug, kiss and celebrate with their guests. Usually during the cocktail I take spontaneous shots, take family group shots and because of the strong light over here, I push it as late as possible for the bride and groom little session together.
I donÂ´t need to go far away, I use the same location, and pick the right spots where I want the shots taken. If we have one hour cocktail, that only leaves me with 30-45 mins maximum for photos. This is by all standards, the minimum if you expect great photos at the end of the day. Imagine Michelangelo, he did not paint the Sixtine Chapel in 10 mins, so I am the same, I cannot produce a master piece in no time. So pleeeeease, give me as much time as possible 🙂
If there is a two hour cocktail, then we have plenty of time for the couple to enjoy some time with their guests, and one hour for the photos, which is ideal.
- During dinnerÂ I shoot photos of the terrace or courtyard with tables, take ambience shots, details but I donÂ´t photograph much more as guests are eating. This is my time to seat down and eat some much needed food too. At this point at many weddings I have not even had a sip of water! Then I photograph the speeches and the cake.
- The first dance is my last important thing to photograph, then I stay for about fifteen minutes more and photograph the party, guests dancing, decorations, DJ and whatever catches my eye. Then IÂ´ll go home, collapse in my bed and the next morning I will get up superÂ excited to see the result on my computer.
A few other helpfulÂ tips:
1-Â Allow some time for myself or your photographer to photograph the tables before everyone sits down. This means that the wedding planner or decorator needs to have the tables ready in advance.
2- Ask the caterer toÂ show off the cake a little bit before cutting it. Even better if itÂ´s on display during the whole dinner. This way I will have some natural light to photograph it before you cut it.
3- Have your wedding stationery and/or invitations ready to photograph at the bridal suite. This way I donÂ´t have to steal them from guests during the ceremony!
4- Tell your make up and hair artist what time I will be arriving so that they know they have a finish time.
5- In order to have a speedy family group shots session, I recommend making a list of the groups you want and getting one or two ushers in charge of gathering the people on each group. This way we can get them done in 15 mins.
6- ItÂ´s helpful to tell the floristÂ to have the bouquet ready by the time I get to the bridal suite. This way you can make sure you will have the bouquet on those initial bridal portraits.
Do you have any questions or comments about my timeline? Would you suggest any other ideas? IÂ´d like to know, please leave me a comment.