Wedding Photography Timeline

In the months leading up to the big day our clients frequently ask how they can organize their wedding day timelines to get the absolute best from their wedding photos.  Over the many years that we have been shooting weddings, we have definitely learned a lot along the way. We decided to put together a blog post with some tips that we feel are essential to making your wedding photography flow as smoothly as possible and help us to provide you with lasting moments that you can look back on for years to come. Please note these suggestions take into account photography coverage lasting anywhere from 6 to 8 hours.

Bride getting ready on wedding day in Santa Cruz, CA

Getting Ready(Recommended Time 30 minutes to 1 hour)

Getting ready is such a fun part of the day to shoot!  We have found that during the anticipation of the event we are able to capture some really great candid moments of our couple surrounded by family and friends.  This time also helps to re-connect our clients and ourselves to one another and let folks know that we are there to have fun and help out however we can.  This is also a great time to document all of the details before they've been exposed to the long day.  We love shooting wedding dresses, shoes, bouquets and boutonnieres, invitations, and all of the little decorations that you've worked so hard on.

For the best getting ready photos, we recommend picking a well organized room that is basking in natural light.  Since there are two of us, we are happy to split up and document both of you during this time.

First look of bride and groom in Woodside, CA

First Look (Recommended Time 15 to 20 minutes)

The first look allows a number of things that help the event to move along nicely.  It's an amazing moment to capture candidly and a nice way for the couple to relieve some pre-ceremony jitters.  It also provides the chance to capture the joy of seeing one another for the first time away from all the guests.  Although first looks are nice they are definitely not necessary, we love shooting the traditional approach too.

Wedding party at Viansa Winery

Wedding Party Photos (Recommended Time 20 minutes)

These photos can happen at a number of different times throughout your day.  Depending on where final preparations are happening, these photos can take place once you're all ready to go.  With two photographers, we can split up and shoot both sides independently. If you are opting for the first look, these portraits can happen after we've spent some time with just the two of you.  Lastly, these portraits can also take place after your family portraits and before your reception.

Family portrait at Bay Area Wedding

Family portrait at Bay Area Wedding

Family Portraits(Recommended Time 20 to 30 minutes)

Formal family portraits are that part of the day that most couples know needs to happen but often fret about how it will happen.  We always encourage our couples to set aside anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes for this portion of your day.  If we're able to keep the groupings to an essential minimum (immediate family) then this part of the day can go smoothly and often be wrapped up before our allotted window of time.  With the two of us working together, we try our best to expedite this process in order to get you and your guests back to celebrating.  Before your wedding day, we'll ask you to provide us with a list of family groupings that are important to document.  More often than not, family portraits happen immediately after the ceremony.

Bride and Groom couple portraits in evening light at Vine Hill House

Couple Portraits (Recommended Time 15 to 30 minutes)

Beyond the first look it is always nice to take some time with our couples to shoot some portraits of just the two of you.  Best case scenario is that we are given a minimum of 20 minutes around sunset.  Some couples look at this as a quick mini session that takes place around the venue.  If a couple is looking to create something really special, we are always down to travel nearby to a designated spot to work away from the bustle of the event and really focus on the couple.  Obviously if we travel elsewhere a more generous time window will be needed.

Portrait of bridesmaids at Viansa Winery

Ending the Evening

As the celebration winds down into the evening and folks really cut loose and have fun, we love to be part of that!  Shooting dancing and partying is always a blast and we love getting out there and capturing those moments.  We tend to find an hour or so of coverage here does the trick.


Every wedding is different and every couple has different priorities.  These are simply some things to think about.  As you begin to plan your wedding day, please don't hesitate to ask us any questions you might have.  We want to help you make your day enjoyable and stress free!

Weddings, Resourcesadmin