Wedding Photography Timeline Guide

Ultimate Wedding Photography Timeline Guide

A wedding photography timeline is a vital part of wedding planning. You spend a fortune to make sure your wedding is something that turely represents who you are as a couple, so it’s best to make sure you get every important part of your wedding documented by your wedding photographer. Having a well-planned schedule helps to do this immensely. That being said though, a wedding photogrpahy timeline does not have to be complex – you only need to make sure it’s clear as to where your photogrpaher needs to be and when throughout the day.

Although wedding photographers should be quick and ready to capture important moments at all times, they also need some time and proper flow to produce quality photos for the couples. I’m not saying you need to say that your photographer should be ‘along the right wall of the barn while Jakod does his speech’ – it’s more about what time your makeup will be finished by in the morning, or when you pan to do your first dance in the evening.

Here’s everything you need to know before putting togtehr a wedding photography timeline.

Wedding Photography Timeline Guide

  1. The Preparation

Prep time is the best time to capture candid moments between the bride or groom and their family and friends in modern wedding photography, it’s become some of the most important photos to take to tell a story.. It is nice to capture moments that show how the whole wedding began. Little snippets of the couple getting dressed or made up will surely be a good reminder of how the preparations went. That will also remind you of your wedding vendors and how you feel at the moment.

What photos are taken: Portraits of the bride and groom. Take photos of the wedding preparations, the wedding details, and conduct group photos for the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Recommended shoot time: I usually budget around 1 hour with the groom and his groomsmen, and between 1.5-2 hours with the bride and her bridal party. Adjust accordingly considering travel time between locations and you may also wish to take into account the possiblity that you may wish to have a ‘first look’ before the ceremony.


  1. The Ceremony

It is the most awaited part of your wedding—where the exchanges of vows and the witnessing of the union happen. Make sure to take photos of important moments.

What to take: Photographers should capture as much as they can during the ceremony. Take photos of the crucial moments, such as the bride and groom’s reactions, the kiss, the confetti, and the congratulations and hugs afterwards. It is a nice touch if the photographers have candid shots of the guests’ reactions too.

Recommended shoot time: Allocate around one hour for the whole ceremony – even if the ceremony isnt planned to go that long. Things happen at weddings that cause timelines to change, and the ceremony is not a part of the day you should skimp on. Some religious ceremonies can also go much longer than an hour.


  1. The Family and Important Groups

It is the part of the wedding ceremony that should be done as fast as possible – however it hardly ever pans out that way, and if it doesnt, although you’d want to remember your day with the special people in your life, remember that you can always take more pictures later – probably at the reception.

What to take: Take photos of the bride and groom with their immediate family and close friends.

Recommended shoot time: Allot around 30 minutes to do this. Since it can take longer, try and make a list of photos you’d want taken before the day and give it to someone who has a loud voice and can organise people. This will help this process become much less painful for all those involved.. It can also serve as the photographer’s guide to capture photos of everyone important to the groom and bride. Sometimes family politics make photos of certain people together something to avoid – so this can also help avoid sticky situations.


  1. The Couple’s glamour photos

This is the period of time during a wedding day where you’re able to get the bride and groom alone to capture the ‘pretty shots’ that are usually printed and put on the wall.

What to take: Take romantic shots of the newlywed and photos showing off the new wedding ring.

Recommended shoot time: I usually allocate about 1 hour per locations you’d like to travel to for this. One hour is probably too long for it, but it makes for a much more cruisey experience. It is best to schedule this session at least before the sunset. This way, you’ll get the best light in your photos.


  1. The Reception and Party

This is when the party starts and scheduled formalities like speeches and the first dance happen.

What to take: Some of the event highlights to capture here are the cutting of the wedding cake, the first dance, and the dance of the bride and groom with their parents. You should also include here the venue shot, the food shot, the bride and groom’s photos with their guests, and other candid shots of guests.

Recommended shoot time: When making a wedding photography timeline, I usually just ask for when the reception starts, as if I’m asked to cover the whole day I’ll be staying until all the formalities have completed. If I was asked to cover a reception in an hourly package, an hour is usually enough to cover the cake cutting, first dance and possibly a speech or two. Consider the travel time to the wedding reception if your location is separated from your ceremony venue.


A successful wedding depends on successful teamwork and a well laid out wedding photography timeline helps with this so much!. Beautiful wedding photos come from a well-planned schedule and great quality photographers. To ensure less headache on your special day, make sure to prepare well, and work with professional photographers. Professional wedding photographers usually have a proposed schedule and shoot plans that they relay to the groom and bride. That should help ease the load for you.

If you want a fun and relaxing way of capturing your precious wedding memories, we are at your service! We are Adelaide-based wedding photographers in South Australia, ready to capture beautiful photos that will transport yourself back to the happiest day of your life. Get in touch with us today!

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