Nicole | Advice | Weddings | 8th April 2011
As a wedding photographer, the most asked question that I receive other than how much do you charge is, how long do you need to take photos on the wedding day? The answer really comes down to the type of wedding you are having, how much time you have between your ceremony and reception and the types of photographs that you would like to remember your wedding by.
As we photograph weddings all of the time, photographers get to know a good estimate of timings on how the day could run. Here is a simple guideline for brides and grooms who want to maximize their photography opportunities throughout the whole day. Now these timings are only a guide and they no way reflect every single wedding day. But if you are just starting the planning stages of your wedding day, then this is a great guide to work from.
Wedding Day Photography
Groom Preparations – 45mins to 1hr
Travel Time – from the groom location to the brides location
Bride Preparations – 1hr 15mins to 1hr 30mins
Travel Time – travelling from the brides location to the ceremony location
Ceremony – 30mins to 1 hr (depending on the type of ceremony you are having)
Family Photos – 30 mins (these are generally taken at the location of the ceremony
Travel Time – travel from ceremony to location (if required)
Location Photos – 1hr 30mins to 2 hours (1-2 locations are great, but you can also have your location photos at your ceremony location)
Travel Time – travel from location to reception venue
Reception Details – 30mins
As a side note, it is important to discuss with your photographer how long it will take to travel between all of your locations. Not allowing enough time will cut into your “photographing” time.
Grooms Preparations Photographs
We photograph the boys first on the wedding day as they are a lot easier to get ready than the bride. A good time of around 45mins to an hour for these photos are sufficient. During this time we photograph the details of the groom (rings, ties, suits, socks or anything else important), the groom by himself getting ready, the groomsmen with the boys getting ready and some nice portrait shots of all the boys together. If the grooms parents are also at this location, it is a good opportunity for the groom to have photographs with his parents. We ask when we arrive on the day, that the boys are to be dressed in their pants and shirts but no ties, jackets, vests or coats as we will photograph them putting these on.
Bride Preparations Photographs
The bride needs a little more time to photograph as there are so many details and special moments being created during this time. All of the preparation and getting ready has been done and the bride is looking fabulous. We always start with the detail shots of the bride – the engagement ring, the perfume, the flowers, the dress, something old, new, borrowed, blue, shoes, veil and any other details that are special to the brides day. When we arrive, we ask that the bridesmaids be fully dressed and the bride waiting to get into her dress. We generally photograph the bride getting into her dress and putting everything on. We then start with some gorgeous photographs of the bride, the bride and her bridesmaids, the bride with her parents and then group shots of all the girls together.
The ceremony photographs are some of the most important photographs of the day. The bride walking down the isle, the grooms reaction, the vows, exchanging of rings and the first kiss. Of course there are many different types of wedding ceremonies, so it is important to talk to your photographer about the run down of your individual ceremony. Every ceremony has something different you need to consider or photograph and to ensure that your photographer captures all of these special moments, please ensure that let your photographer know what you want. It is also good to let the photographer know the celebrant (pastor, priest, reverand) name before the wedding day and if there are any restrictions when photographing your ceremony at your location whether it be a park, garden, house, church or temple. Every ceremony has different rules and the last thing the photographer wants to do is insult or offend anyone by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Generally all family photographs are done on location. In order for this to run smoothly, a list of required family photographs are to be given to the photographer one week prior to the ceremony. We also ask that each member of family is notified that they are required for photographs directly after the ceremony (just look for the bride and groom for the appropriate location). If everyone is standing close by then the family photos generally run smoothly and quickly while capturing all of the photos of people important to the bride and groom.
Directly after the family photographs we head off for location photographs. These can be taken any where and really depend on the types of photographs you would like to remember you wedding by. We have photographed in parks, beaches, streets, indoors, rivers, gardens and even besides toilet blocks (if there is a cool texture). Any location can become a beautiful backdrop for your wedding photos especially if you have good light. And if it is a rainy day, then no worries. We will just head to an area that is undercover or indoors and work with what we are given. Most people fear it raining on their wedding day, but sometimes the results can be more spectacular than if it was full sun.
After all of the location photographs have been taken, we head back to the reception venue to photograph all of the room details. This is also a good opportunity to photograph a mock cake cutting and a mock first dance. A lot of people question why photographers don’t normally photograph receptions and generally this is because most of the photographs taken during a reception are more candid and can be captured by other guests attending the wedding. There are times where photographers are commissioned to photograph receptions and that is generally for receptions where different traditions occur (ie. fire twirling, dancing, rituals).
Again, this is just one photographers guide on how to maximize your photography time on your wedding day. At the end of the day, it is your wedding and we are there to capture it for you in the best way possible. We will work within your timelines that you may set. This is purely a guide for people to get a feel of “optimum” time on a wedding day.