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When To Capture The Most Breathtaking Photos On Your Wedding Day

When To Capture The Most Breathtaking Photos On Your Wedding Day
We understand that the cultural aspects of the weddings we cover are diverse, so it’s difficult to propose the best practices on when to capture those picturesque moments of the celebration.

However, we believe there are ideal time frames you should consider when planning for photos and portraits on your wedding day.  

Some of these times may seem long on paper but keep in mind: the day will fly by and most weddings run slightly behind schedule. As your photographers, we’ll make these photo sessions fun, so it won’t seem like a long time.

We’ve organized this guide by sections following what we believe reflect key areas of focus throughout the wedding day.

Let’s get started:

Aerial Footage and Photos

 

 

Time Allotment – 30 minutes per session

Time of the Day – Morning and cocktail hour

Location – Ceremony and/or reception venue

We suggest having at least 30 minutes set aside for aerial footage. This ensures that we have plenty of time to get detailed footage of the landscape. We do not recommend using the drone during the ceremony because of the noise that is made from the propellers.  

A “no fly zone” application may be necessary to access restricted fly areas. This can be done in the time allocated (or even before) for drone coverage.

Wedding Detail Photos

 

 

Time Allotment – 30 minutes

Time of the Day – Morning

Location – Bridal suite or hotel suite

We suggest having at least 30 minutes to capture details like the novelties of your wedding day. This ensures that we have plenty of time to get that perfect photo of the lace detail on the dress, the glint of the diamond ring, the sleekness of the shoes, and the beautifully blended flowers in the bouquets.

At times, a hotel room or bridal suite can be too crowded or simply unappealing for photos; we might suggest taking the dress down to the lobby or even outside for a better view.

This can take some time, but it’s well worth the additional work in the end results.

 

Preparation Portraits

 

 

Time Allotment – 60 minutes

Time of the Day – Morning or early afternoon

Location – Bridal Suite or hotel suite

We suggest having at least an hour for this session as preparations begin for the big moment. During this time, we’re capturing close ups of makeup being applied and hair being styled as well as capturing candid moments among the bridesmaids and groomsmen before they prepare to walk down the aisle. Keep in mind that this is one of the most emotional and yet, enjoyable times of the day – you don’t want to cut it short.

The lead photographer will be with the bride while the second photographer will be with the groom. While it usually doesn’t take men an hour to get dressed, there are still many great moments between the groom and his family and friends during this time.

 

Individual Bride and Groom Portraits

 

 

Time Allotment – 30 minutes

Time of the Day – Morning or early afternoon

Location – Bridal suite, hotel suite, venue lobby, or venue garden

We believe that capturing the bride and groom right after prep is the best time for individual portraits. Besides your makeup and hair being completely fresh, it falls right before the day gets hectic so we can take our time and capture the perfect portraits.

Also, keep in mind that the window lighting in most hotel rooms creates a unique look that can’t be duplicated in any environment throughout the rest of the day.

 

First Look Photos and Mini Couples Session

 

 

Time Allotment – 45-60 minutes

Time of the Day – Morning or early afternoon

Location – Venue garden, empty venue hallway (preferably shaded areas with natural light)

We believe that the first look should be around 45-60 minutes. During this time, we capture the joy of the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day. While the actual first look may only be 5-10 minutes long, the rest of the time is spent on a few portraits of the bride and groom.

Ideally, we are saving the bulk of the couples session for later (see the couples session section below). However, if there is no other time in the day, it’s best to allocate another 45 minutes to an hour of time here to make sure we have enough photos of the two of you.

 

Wedding Party Photos

 

 

Time Allotment – 45-60 minutes

Time of the Day – Morning or afternoon

Location – Venue lobby, venue garden, beach, park, off-site location

During this allotment of time, we get an array of shots in a variety of poses. We start off with the classic photos focused on great expressions and lighting. Then we move into a set of fun and creative shots. Finally, we know how much your wedding party means to you, so we are sure to get pictures with you and each one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen individually.

 

Immediate Family Photos

 

 

Time Allotment – 30-45 minutes

Time of the Day – Morning or afternoon

Location – Venue Lobby, venue garden, beach, park, off-site location

It’s important to have additional images with your parents, grandparents, and siblings beyond the basic formal (mentioned in the section below). We suggest planning on 3 minutes per group on average. For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 30 minute time slot. We all know how much weddings mean to the immediate family, and we want to make sure we’re capturing enough pictures with everyone involved.

 

Ceremony Detail and Venue Photos

 

 

Time Allotment – 30 minutes

Location – Ceremony site

Time of the Day – Morning or afternoon

We suggest allowing at least 30 minutes for the second photographer to take pictures of the ceremony site. As photographers, we find it best for us to capture detail when the venue is completely set up and undisturbed with no guests or vendors in the area.

 

Formal Portraits of Extended Family, Immediate Family, and Friends

 

 

Time Allotment – 45-60 minutes

Time of the Day – Morning or afternoon (post ceremony)

Location – Ceremony site

Formal portraits should take around 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of you family and the number of guests. Plan on scheduling 3 minutes per group on average. For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 30 minute time slot.

Some couples make the decision to have a picture with all their guests while other couples may only want pictures with a select few to save time. We recommend something in between. We also suggest some type of organization, like a list of groups and helpers from each side of the family to direct people when and where to go.

 

Couples Photo Session

 

 

Time Allotment – 60 minutes

Ideal Time of the Day – Late afternoon (before sunset)

Ideal Location – Venue garden, beach, hotel lobby, park

The couple’s photo session should be about an hour and ideally take place 30 to 45 minutes before sunset. We’ve determined that this is the best time in terms of natural lighting.

This timing also allows us to capture scenic shots with colorful skies. If your wedding is in a downtown location or in an area with tall buildings, it’s not as important for us to have this specific time frame (although it still helps).

However, if you specifically booked your venue because of the view of the ocean or the vines in the winery, it’s essential to follow this advice in this wedding photography guide.

 

Reception Detail and Venue Photos

 

 

Time Allotment – 30 minutes

Time of the Day – Early evening

Location – Reception site

We suggest allowing at least 30 minutes for the second photographer to take pictures of the reception room, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area. Similar to the ceremony details, this is the only opportunity we have to capture the undisturbed elegance of the reception room prior to the guests arrival.

 

Reception ‘First Look’ Photos

 

 

Time Allotment – 10-15 minutes

Time of the Day – At the end of cocktail hour, before doors open for guests

Location – Reception site

This is when the reception space is revealed to the couple for the first time. It’s a great opportunity to capture a genuine reaction, as well as a moment alone on the dance floor to practice your first dance. This makes a memorable photo.

 

Couples Session, i.e. ‘Reception Sneak Out’

 

Time Allotment – 20-30 minutes

Time of the Day – Dusk to nightfall 

Location – Areas with interesting lights, fountains, city scapes or mirrors

During the reception, plan to “sneak out” for a couple of night photography shots. We only need 20-30 minutes, as we understand the importance of being a good host.

However, this mini session could ideally happen after you’ve danced a few songs and opened up the floor for others to join in. Think of it as a quick break. Another suggestion would be to capture these shots at the end of the night once all the guests have departed.

 

Things To Keep In Mind

 

 

Table shots are when you go around visiting tables. There are two options for photography during this time. You can:

  • Take formal pictures with each of these tables or
  • We can simply focus on photojournalism: capturing the smiles and hugs as you mingle with each table.

We suggest that if you’re planning on doing formal table shots, please keep in mind that these will take about 3-5 minutes per table. For example 20 tables would require 60-100 minutes of time.

There is no one way to capture the beauty and love witnessed in the celebration of a marriage but we do believe there are many ways to try.

 

We hope this guide was able to provide an easy and efficient way to enjoy your wedding while still making time to capture every picturesque moment!

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