This particular blog post will likely become part of my F.A.Q. section someday, so let’s get the ball rolling with this extremely important subject – Wedding Day Photography Timeframes. This is my general recommendation based on my modest wedding photography experience and observations, so please do not take it as gospel – every wedding is unique and every couple is like no other, so your coverage may vary.
Bridal Preparation: 1.5 – 2 hours
This amount of time is required to cover the actual preparation when everybody is fairly ready and to photograph the details, which include but not limited to dress, shoes, garter, rings, jewelry, bridal bouquet, objects with a sentimental value, etc.
I do not usually spend too much time on posed portraits during preparations and photograph impromptu moments as they unfold, so there is no particular need to have a specific time slot for wedding photography at this point. Nonetheless, I may ask a bride and people involved in the prep to prepare in a certain light if necessary or slightly adjust a pose.
If I cover both bride and groom preparations at different locations, putting-on-the-dress coverage gets tricky and there are two options:
- I photograph a bride putting on a dress and make a bridal portrait in the dress before leaving to photograph a groom and groomsmen. Pro: Fuller groom prep coverage. Con: A dress will have to be put on quite early.
- If a dress gets put on at the ceremony location, I will need to arrive there ASAP. Pro: No need to rush with the dress, a bride puts it on when she wishes. Con: Shorter groom prep coverage, possibility of delayed arrival
Groom Preparation: 30 – 45 minutes
This gives me enough time to cover the most important aspects of preparation, details and to take a couple of formal portraits.
Before Ceremony: 10-15 minutes to photograph undisturbed ceremony décor and overall set-up.
Family, Wedding Party and Couple Formal Portraits: 30 minutes – 1 hour – 1.5 hours
The time we spend on formals really depends on number of desired pairings and couple’s personal preferences. On average it takes 3-5 minutes per pairing; large groups take a little longer.
Before Reception: 10-15 minutes
While reception coverage is very photojournalistic by its nature and does not require a special wedding photography dedicated time slot, it is crucial to have some time reserved for reception venue photographs to document an undisturbed décor and table set-ups. 10-15 minutes before guests arrival usually do the trick.
Hope this helps. Have an awesome St. Patrick's Day!