January 4, 2023

Wedding Day Photography Timelines–Where To Begin?

Where to begin with Wedding Day Photography Timelines?

As a longtime Wedding Photography Professional, I do get asked this question frequently.  I actually love sitting down with my couples and planning a Wedding Day Timeline because I know it will help the day flow smoothly and I will have enough time to create some great photos.  I also want my clients to have a fun relaxing day.  So where to begin?

First Things First

First, sit down together and talk about what you think are the most important parts of the day to have your Wedding Photographer cover.  Believe it or not, time is the most important resource on a Wedding Day–and there never seems to be enough of it!  Is the Getting Ready portion of the day important, or not so much?  Do you want a ton of candid dance floor photos?  Deciding ahead of time where to focus your time and energy (pun totally intended) is very helpful when planning the Wedding Day Timeline.  Your Wedding Vendors will also be a good resource for information on how long certain events usually take.

Wedding Day Photography Timelines First Look
Will you be having a First Look? Many couples do this to get the formal photos done before the Wedding Ceremony.

First Look and Wedding Day Photography Timelines

Many couples choose to see each other before the Wedding Ceremony for a First Look.   It can be very helpful in maximizing outdoor photos in natural light.  However, it will add time on the front end of the day for the Photographer.  I think it is a very personal choice and never push a couple one way or the other.

Find Out How Much Daylight You Will Have

One of the things I always advise my couples to do is to find out what time the sun sets on their Wedding Day.  This will determine how much daylight you will have to work with.  If you want a ton of outdoor photos with ambient light, but you are getting married at 5 in December–that could be tough.  Knowing what time the sun sets allows you to work backwards and plan ahead.

S and S Farms Saratoga NY Wedding Photos
Be sure you are planning enough time to create the Family Formal Portraits.

Formal Family Portraits and Wedding Day Timelines

Have a serious discussion between yourselves and your family to decide how much time you want to devote to the Formal Family Portraits.  Even if you do the bare minimum of immediate family and Bridal Party, it will take at least 20 minutes.  It will be that much longer if you want to include extended family with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  A good compromise is to do some extended family during the Reception, perhaps at their tables.  However, be aware this only works if people are actually present at their tables and want to cooperate after a few cocktails.

Saratoga NY Tented Wedding Reception Photo
Parent Dances are one of the traditional Wedding formalities that clients want captured for posterity.

Reception Events and Candids

I do love a good Wedding Reception, don’t you?  Lots of fun things are going on and memories being made.  However, many times couples decide they just want to have photos of the key events in order to maximize their Wedding Photography time.  Most Receptions begin with the Bride and Groom being introduced, a First Dance and Toasts.  This will generally take between a half hour and 45 minutes.  Many times the other events take place after dinner at the discretion of the DJ/Master of Ceremonies/Venue.  Discuss with them ahead of time any concerns you have about whether the Photographer will be there to capture everything you want captured.  This includes Parent Dances and Cake Cutting.  It is your event, and you have the final say as to when these formalities take place.  It is my job as a Wedding Photographer to work with you to figure out how best to accommodate them.

State Room Wedding Photos Albany NY
Communicating ahead of time with you venue and entertainment makes it easier to sneak out for night shots during the Wedding Reception.

Wedding Day Photography Timelines and Night Shots

Night shots are really fun and dramatic.  However, you need to plan ahead.  First, you need to know when the sun sets.  Then your Wedding Photographer needs to coordinate with your Venue and your Entertainment so you can sneak out and get those awesome shots.

To sum it all up, you need to be communicating your needs and desires ahead of time to create a really good Wedding Day Photography Timeline.  If you enjoyed this article, you might also want to read this post on Planning a Wedding Day Timeline.

To schedule a consultation, please use our Contact Form or give us a call at (518) 584-4237.  We would love to discuss your Wedding.


Creating a wedding day timeline for couple’s is such a great help to them, I’m sure. They don’t know what they don’t know and getting help from a professional that does this often is so beneficial!

Blackburn Portrait Design

Totally agree!

There are so many fabulous moment during a wedding and it seems that what’s most important to one person might not be the same for the next. Taking the time to help the bride and groom determine the wedding photography details that matter most to them is a such a good place to start. These are gorgeous photos by the way!

Blackburn Portrait Design

You are so right! Every wedding is different and we need to make sure we are not just doing cookie cutter wedding photography!

The wedding day timeline and making sure the couple gets their photographer the shot list is so important! It can help ease the stress of the day and make sure nothing is missed in the chaos!

Blackburn Portrait Design

Absolutely Brandi! We are 100% committed to making sure all of our Wedding Photography clients have a stressfree and happy day!

Susan, your wedding photography is always so beautiful! I love that you take the time to prepare you couples and help them figure out timing for their wedding day!

Blackburn Portrait Design

Thank you Michelle! As the old saying goes, Timing is Everything! It is the number one reason we are able to capture so many great photos on a wedding day. We have always believed that creating a Wedding Day Photography Timeline is critical.