Planning tips from a wedding photographer

Your photographer must manage time efficiently prior to your ceremony

Congratulations on your engagement!

Now that you’re focused on your wedding, there are some things to think about from a photographer’s perspective which may be quite helpful when formulating a timeline for the day.

The first thing I do is work backwards from the ceremony time to plan the earlier portion of the day. This way, we can get an idea of the best time for the bride to put on her dress, the optimal time for a first look, and the amount of time we’ll have for photos before we have to get to the ceremony.

Generally, I arrive to start taking photos as the bride and bridesmaids are finishing up with their makeup. My second photographer will join the groom and groomsmen for getting ready photos at this time, as well. Not only does this give us a great opportunity for fun, candid shots to start the day, but we can grab all the exciting details like the dress, rings, shoes, etc.

Bring a nice hanger for your wedding dress, as it will look much better in the photos. Bring all your stationary, such as the invites, to your room to include in the detail photos.

Once the bride puts on her dress, it’s great to get a few photos with her mom and bridesmaids, and then possibly a first look with dad in the room. I find this to be a wonderful moment, something you should definitely consider.

Most couples tend to do a first look, rather than wait until the ceremony. My recommendation is to go with whatever feels right to you. The photographer can work around it unless there are extreme circumstances where group photos must be taken prior to the ceremony.

One of the most important things to mention is that things tend to take longer than you expect, so leave a little extra time when planning to give yourself some breathing room. It’s always my recommendation to relax for 30 minutes prior to the ceremony.

As far as the ceremony, the most important thing to mention is for guests to silence their phones and put them away.

Definitely not a good look with a bunch of phones in the photo as the bride is being walked down the aisle. You might want to have a sign to alert your guests.

If you have limited time to get photos following the ceremony, I highly recommend focusing on getting mostly bride and groom photos after family photos. It’s important to get a few shots of the wedding party, but the family photos and the bride and groom portraits are going to be those that you’ll particularly cherish as time goes on. (DO NOT SKIP OUT ON FAMILY PHOTOS)

Once the reception starts, the emcee or DJ usually takes the lead on timing, so we as photographers just roll with it.

Finally, it can be really nice to take a couple final portraits in the evening, especially if you have a distinctive venue or location. And while you might be sick and tired of gathering yourself for photos, it is worth it!

Happy planning and feel free to reach out with any questions 🙂

  • Jeremy

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