Photo time is fun time. From early in the morning everyone is smiling and living it up and your photos are there to capture your day in the spotlight.
A great trend in weddings is for the bride and groom to do their exciting first look prior to the ceremony. Browse the web for "wedding first look ideas" and you will quickly see why it has become so popular! A huge advantage is the way it frees up your timeline for pictures, which shrinks the time you need between your ceremony and reception. This is because some of the best pictures from a wedding are when we slip away with the bride and groom for fun pictures unique to them. A first look lets us do all this before the ceremony. After the ceremony the only pictures we still need are the traditional group portraits with family, then it is quickly on to the reception.
Timeline with a First Look
11:00-12:30 – Bride’s home with family and all the bridesmaids. Every step of the process is special… Hair and makeup may be fairly complete before we start shooting, but it is nice to get shots before you put on your wedding gown… laying out the dresses and shoes, un-boxing the flowers, you and your mom looking at childhood portraits, the special phone call from a relative far away, and all the lace and detail. After you are dressed there is your dad’s expression when he sees you for the first time, individual and group shots by the fireplace, on the stairs, and basking in the light of a window. We also want fun shots of just the bride and her bridesmaids. These can be outdoors or even at a different location.
12:45-1:45 – Groom and groomsmen. It is great to do creative shots with the groomsmen in at least two locations. The last of these is typically the site of the ceremony. We also want some family shots such as the groom with his parents and with his mother pinning on his boutonniere.
1:45-2:00 – The First Look. Browse the web for "wedding first look ideas" and get excited!
2:00-3:30 – Bride/Groom and bridal party pictures. This is a OMG happy time, and it will show in your pictures. Ideally we do creatively-posed and candid shots in at least two or three nature and urban settings. This can include walking barefoot along a river, sitting on motorcycles, or anything else that will make the day special. Bring a little champagne and have some fun! Typically, my couples look back at this block of time as one of the best parts of their wedding day. Assuming we have enough time we will send the attendants away and spend the last 30 minutes shooting just the bride and groom.
4:00 – The Ceremony. OK, this is not a timing thing, but have you ever seen a $10,000 camera lens? I use one at every wedding. If you want album quality closeups taken from the back of a dim chapel without flash it takes great equipment. (I suppose the time aspect is that there is no need to fake any ceremony photos again after the ceremony.)
I recommend not having a receiving line. Of course you can do one if you want, but they take a lot of time. They also form by accident so if you want to avoid this, plan in advance to have me or someone take charge and begin the formal portraits right away.
4:30 or Immediately after Ceremony – Formal group portraits with parents, family and friends.
5:30 – Reception. There are many elements you will want to have captured such as the venue and decorations, your grand entrance, cake cutting, toasts, first dances, posed and casual guest shots and more. Many couples find that the important photo events are done within an hour or so of finishing desert and that is a good time to wrap up the professional photography. Of course, if you have all day coverage then I will be there right up to your departure!
Timeline without a First Look
A first look is not your thing? Below is a typical photography schedule assuming the bride and groom cannot see each other until the ceremony.
11:00-12:30 – Bride’s home with family and all the bridesmaids.
12:45-1:45 – Groom and groomsmen.
1:45-2:00 – Anticipation and back-scene arrival of bride.
2:00 – The Ceremony.
2:30 or Immediately after Ceremony – Formals with parents, family and friends.
3:30-5:00 – Post-ceremony bridal party pictures.
5:30 – Reception.