Your wedding day goes by in a flash. As a bride or groom, you want to cherish every moment and capture all the special details and emotions in photos. That’s why planning and creating a wedding photography timeline is essential!
A photography timeline provides structure to make the most of your time with your photographer. It ensures you get all the shots you want without missing anything important. From portraits to ceremonies to reception events, a timeline keeps everyone on track. In this guide, we’ll walk through how to create a wedding photography schedule that’s unique to your priorities and vision. With some preparation and organization, you can have a smooth, efficient, and fun photo experience on your wedding day!
Start Planning Early
Ideally, you should begin thinking about your wedding photography timeline at least 2-3 months before the big day. This gives you plenty of time to coordinate schedules with your photographer and other vendors.
It also allows you to plan around the time of sunset and daylight hours. Lighting is hugely important for wedding photos, so factoring in sunrise/sunset times will enable you to take advantage of golden hour – always one of the best times to photograph!
Determine Family Photo Combinations
One of the biggest photo segments of the day is family portraits. Make a list of all the family combinations you want portraits with, for example:
- Bride & Groom
- Bride with Parents
- Groom with Parents
- Bride & Groom with Bride’s Immediate Family
- Bride & Groom with Groom’s Immediate Family
Having a list prepared in advance keeps this efficient and organized. Share it with your photographer so they know exactly who to gather for each shot. I always send over a sample photo list in my wedding day questionnaire but this is something to be thinking about beforehand.
Prioritize Portraits and Major Events
Your wedding photographer will likely have a standard timeline they suggest based on experience. Review this as a starting point, but don’t be afraid to modify and personalize it to your priorities. Think about key portraits and events you definitely want to captured. For most couples, these include:
- Getting ready photos
- First look
- Family photos
- Wedding party
- First dances
- Cake cutting
Creating a Timeline Around Your Ceremony Start Time
The time your ceremony starts will set the cadence for your entire wedding day timeline. From there, you can schedule getting ready photos, travel time to the ceremony location, portraits after the ceremony, and the reception events. Be sure to account for travel time between locations. You’ll also want to leave a buffer of at least 30 minutes before the ceremony start time to keep things running smoothly and to ease any nerves. Keep in mind the sunset time, do you want sunset photos? Do you want the ceremony to end/start at sunset? Your photographer or wedding coordinator should be able to help you answer these questions.
Assign Someone As Point Person
On the wedding day itself, assign someone as the point person or liaison for your photographer. This person can gather people for formal photos, coordinate schedules, and make sure all photo requests don’t get missed. Many couples ask their wedding planner or day-of coordinator to serve as the photography point person. But you can also choose a close friend or family member too. Just make sure they understand the timeline and shot list.
Build in Flexibility
When planning your wedding photography timeline, schedule some open time and buffer room too. No matter how perfectly you plan, some schedule adjustments and delays are inevitable. Having flexibility built into the timeline allows you to go with the flow on the wedding day. This way you can relax and not stress if photos run long or events get delayed.
Lean on your photographer’s expertise in scheduling to find the right balance between structure and flexibility in your timeline. They want your day to run as smoothly as you do!
Implementing a clear schedule for your wedding photography will result in amazing images of your special moments. With a timeline tailored to your priorities and plenty of preparation, you can capture timeless memories and enjoy an organized, fun photographic experience!