Your wedding will be one of the most memorable days of your life, and you’ll have only one chance to document it the right way. The wedding photographer should capture the magic of the celebration, creating a wedding photo album that is filled with some of your best memories. To do this, however, you’ll need to communicate clearly, plan well in advance, and get the timing right.

A great way to ensure you get fantastic, stress-free wedding photos is to create a photography timeline for your wedding. Coordinating with your wedding photographer on this will let them know precisely where they need to be during crucial moments. Here are the category time frames you need to keep in mind and what you should prepare accordingly:

1. Documenting Your Attire and Related Details – 30 Minutes

The wedding details you’ve chosen are exquisite and lovely, so it’s important to document them in all their beauty. For this reason, it’s a good idea to put them in one place so your photography timeline goes smoothly.

Gather everything you need and put them in your bridal suite at the start of the day. The photographer shouldn’t take too long with these photos, leaving plenty of time to capture other moments. Ask them to take pictures of these details before your’ getting ready’ shots.

2. Getting Ready/Pre-Ceremony – 60 to 180 Minutes

This moment covers the time the bride puts her dress on. Photographers usually start documenting an hour before the bride puts on her dress, but it’s also common to begin taking photos one to three hours before.

The room where the bride and her party get ready can be incredibly hectic and chaotic, so it’s important to confine the clutter to one area, allowing the photographer to navigate it more smoothly. You’ll also want these items away from natural light sources, like doors and windows.

3. Individual Portraits – 45 to 60 Minutes

It is ideal for the wedding photographer to capture the spouses-to-be earlier in the day, where everyone’s makeup and hair have been freshly applied. That way, you get to memorialize yourself and your spouse, looking at your best.

4. The First Look Portraits – 20-30 Minutes

The real ‘first look’ takes only a few minutes, but it’s also a prime opportunity for your photographer to capture great couple shots. If you have pets involved in the ceremony, be sure to add them to the images.  You can also grab a first look photo with the father of the bride!

5. Wedding Party Portraits – 30 to 45 Minutes

How long this part takes highly depends on your wedding party size. These portraits include photos of the bride and her bridesmaids, the groom and his groomsmen, and the entire group, both flashing traditional and creative poses. You can also choose to have individual portraits done with you and your partner with each of your attendants, but you’ll need to make this decision well in advance so you can allocate the appropriate amount of time.

6. Family Portraits – 30 to 45 Minutes

Like the wedding party portraits, the time it takes to photograph the bride and groom’s families depends on how many people are included in the session. It usually takes three to four minutes per group, but you’ll want to add extra time for elderly relatives or other family members who need assistance.  

7. Capturing Ceremony Details – 30 Minutes

Photographers usually take photos of the ceremony details before the wedding takes place. They also take pictures of the décor for cocktail hour before the ceremony or right after it. This part shouldn’t take too long, and your photographer can easily squeeze it in if there is a lull in the wedding preparation.

8. Post-Ceremony Photos – 30 Minutes

At this time, you’ll want your photographer to take pictures of the newly minted couple. If you’re being transported to the reception, ask the photographer to take photos of you in and around the vehicle. 

9. Sunset Photos – 15-20 Minutes 

Don’t forget that some of the most beautiful photos are taken at sunset!  The gorgeous light during sunset allows for some unforgettable pictures.

10. Reception Décor and Photos – The Rest of the Evening

Lastly, have your photographer shoot the reception décor during cocktail hour, giving them a great view of the place before guests arrive. Then, when cocktail hour begins, they’ll capture the vibrance of the party and document the guests and their activities. 


Getting the perfect wedding album sounds intimidating, but with enough planning and preparation, you’ll have no problem assembling your dream photos. By creating a photography timeline, your photographer will have no trouble capturing all the magic of your special day.

Ask your photographer typically how long events take to plan out and what events you need to fit into your contracted hours. You can also ask your wedding photographer if they have an example of a photography timeline.  

We are Blanca & Brandon, a wedding and engagement photography husband-and-wife team. We understand that the most memorable moments pass by us the quickest, which is why we’ve dedicated ourselves to documenting them and preserving them forever. Contact us today to get started!


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