How Long Do Wedding Photos Take? - Leidy & Josh Photography

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How Long Do Wedding Photos Take?

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April 2, 2019

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Welcome to our blog, where we share our most recent work from weddings and engagements around the world. When we aren’t photographing weddings, we spend our time traveling, cooking together, reading, and cuddling with our two adorable dogs, Leesi and Luna. We adore documenting love stories and we cannot wait to tell yours.

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We are often asked, “How long do wedding photos take?” This is a great question and you might be surprised how long things actually take on a wedding day. Do you know that song? “Time….is on your side? Yes, it is!” Well, on your wedding day it isn’t. It’s hard to explain but it’s like the hands of a clock speed up and everyone else slows down. Actions that typically take 30 seconds now take 10 minutes. A short car ride to the First Look location that usually takes 10 minutes now takes over half an hour as you have to load a large wedding party onto a party bus. And there is always a missing groomsman who went to find the restroom fifteen minutes ago and let’s not forget the drive back.

You might be starting to notice that on a wedding day, time is the most valuable asset. This is why we spend so much time planning, coordinating, and educating. Because we want to make sure our brides and grooms have enough time on their wedding day for all the events so they don’t have to know how long do wedding pictures take, but also have time for themselves. A solid wedding day timeline does not only benefit us as wedding photographers. It reduces the stress for our brides and grooms. In both planning for the wedding and during the wedding day all while making sure you have pictures during the best time to take wedding photos.

When planning time for wedding day photos, there will be blocks of time you weren’t expecting. Such as, “Am I getting ready early enough to allow for bridal portraits?”. Speaking of, how long do bridal portraits actually take? Every wedding day is unique and each wedding photographer does things a little differently. But in general, here is how long do wedding photos take your wedding day:

Wedding Day Details

Time Needed: 60 Minutes

Location: Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite

We recommend allowing at least 60 minutes to photograph wedding details. This will ensure we have plenty of time to get that elegant and timeless photo of the dress, rings, shoes, bouquet, and other details of the day. Leidy likes to style the dress in a way that looks editorial. Josh will gather all the other details and style them individually. Make sure you have all your details ready to go before you start getting ready. This way we don’t waste time looking for details to shoot.

There are times when a hotel room or getting ready room is too crowded or too dark. If this is the case, we may take your dress and details down to the lobby or even outside. This can take some extra time, but trust us the results will be well worth the extra time. What are wedding day details? We are so glad you asked because we put together a list of 7 Wedding Day Details To Have Ready for Your Wedding Photographer here!

how long do wedding photos take
Michigan Wedding Photographer - The Fourniers

Groom and Bride Getting Ready Photos

Time Needed: 60 Minutes

Location: Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite

The important thing here is getting ready early enough to stage the getting ready shots. Especially the bride getting ready photos since the girls have more portraits than the guys. Having an hour of getting ready photos is ideal. This is because Leidy will wait until all the hair and makeup is either done or nearly finished before she starts shooting. During this time, Leidy will get close-ups of the makeup and hair fully styled. At the same time, she will be capturing candid moments of the bride with her bridesmaids and mother. Keep in mind these are some of the most fun and emotional times of the day, so you don’t want to cut the bride getting ready photos short.

At the same time, Josh will meet the groom with his groomsmen for the groom getting ready photos. While it does not take the guys an hour to get dressed, there are still plenty of candid wedding photos Josh will capture. Josh focuses on the groom and his groomsmen laughing, joking, and enjoying their guy time together.

bride getting ready photos
bride getting ready photos
bride getting ready photos

Individual Bride/Groom Portraits

Time Needed: 30-45 Minutes

Location: Bridal Suite, Hotel Suite, Hotel Lobby, or Venue Garden

The individual bride and groom portraits immediately follow the getting ready photos. These are some of our favorite photos to take of the wedding day. The groom is starting to get nervous and the bride’s hair/makeup is completely fresh. Allowing for at least 30 minutes will let us take our time to get those dreamy, editorial bridal photos before the day starts to get hectic. Keep in mind that window lighting in a hotel room is a must. The window lighting will create an elegant environment that cannot be duplicated throughout the rest of the wedding day.

Michigan Wedding Photographer - The Fourniers

Travel and Drive Time

Time Needed: 30 Minutes

Location: N/A

The travel time from the getting ready location to the First Look location will vary. Our recommendation is to overestimate the time it will take by 15-20 minutes. If the full bridal party is traveling with you, then you will need to load everyone into the party bus or limo. And expect traffic delays! Then expect another 15 minutes unload everyone and get them in position. All this before the photos start.

The First Look & Couple’s Portraits

Time Needed: 45-60 Minutes

Location: Local Park, Venue Garden, Empty Venue Hallway (shaded areas with natural light)

Your First Look should be around 45-60 minutes. DO NOT RUSH THIS! You have waited MONTHS for this romantic moment and we want you to enjoy every second of it. During this time, you will be seeing your husband-to-be for the very first time. More importantly, he will be having the pleasure of seeing YOU! Grooms will be far more nervous than they originally thought. Tears will be shed. It will be a very emotional time for both of you.

For the first 15 minutes, we won’t be involved allowing for you two to enjoy each other. We will capture candids of this moment. The remainder of the time is spent on your bride and groom portraits. This time will be the bulk of your couple photos together.

Michigan Wedding Photographer - The Fourniers

Full Bridal Party

Time Needed: 30-45 Minutes

Location: Local Park, Venue Garden, Beach, Outside Ceremony Location

This is the time when the bridal party is photographed with the bride and groom together. We like to shoot the bridal party in this order: bridesmaids, full bridal party, then the groomsmen. This will allow for the bridesmaids to depart, touch up makeup, and get ready for the ceremony. The full wedding party photos should take 30-45 minutes. During this time we will get a variety of poses. We start with the basic, classic photos together before we move to more fun and creative shots. Finally, we know how much the wedding party means to you. We reserve the last 15 minutes of this time to get pictures of you with each of your bridesmaids or groomsmen individually.

Michigan Wedding Photographer - The Fourniers

Immediate Family Formals

Time Needed: 30-60 Minutes

Location: Local Park, Venue Garden, Beach, Outside Ceremony Location

The immediate family formals will take another 30-60 minutes. This will depend on how large the family is. We all know how much weddings mean to the immediate family, and we want to make sure we’re capturing enough pictures with them. Which is why we always send our brides and grooms a questionnaire. We want to have a list of the family group photos that you want beyond the basic formals.

Plan on 3-5 minutes per group on average. For example, if you have 10 groups, you can expect 30-50 minutes to photograph everyone.

A Buffer

Time Needed: 30 Minutes

Location: Local Park, Venue Garden, Beach, Outside Ceremony Location

When you first asked the question, “how long does it take to take wedding photos?”, you might not have expected that one of the most important moments is the time while you are NOT taking wedding photos. Allow us to introduce you to what we call, “the buffer”. This is one of the most important times when planning your wedding photography timeline. If everything goes according to plan, you should have 30 minutes before your ceremony to just relax. Enjoy this moment with your husband-to-be, calm your nerves, and take a deep breath. This will also allow for both of you to get a quick snack, use the bathroom, or retouch makeup. And should things get off schedule, this buffer will ensure you don’t arrive at your ceremony late and flustered. As a bonus, this is usually a great opportunity for your photographer to capture candid moments on your wedding day. Since you aren’t focused on formally having portraits done, the natural and candid moments spontaneously occur which always makes for a beautiful portrait!

how to get candids on wedding day

Golden Hour Sunset Portraits

Time Needed: 15-30 Minutes

Location: Local Park, Venue Garden, Beach, Outside Ceremony Location

These will be some of your favorite photos of your wedding day and this is easily the best time to take wedding photos. You won’t want to skip out on these. At the same time, sunset husband-and-wife photos typically take place during the middle of your reception. Since we cannot reschedule the sunset time, we keep this session as quickly as possible. With the majority of your couple’s photos completed earlier in the day, your sunset portraits will take 30 minutes or less.

Some couples consider omitting this portrait time. But it is just before sunset when the light is at it’s absolute best. This will allow us to capture some awesome scenic shots with colorful skies. If you have booked your venue near the ocean, lake, or in a gorgeous vineyard, you will be glad you craved out time for these pictures. Just remember, golden hour is the best time to take wedding photos!

best time to take wedding photos
best time to take wedding photos

Open Dancing

Time Needed: 15-20 Minutes

Location: Reception Venue

You will want some photos of your guests having a great time dancing. Yet, you won’t need very many. We can capture more than enough photos of your guests having fun in 15 minutes. The longer we photograph open dancing the less flattering those pictures of guests become. People start to get sweaty, ties and shoes come off, and the more people have to drink. We like to capture these photos as soon as dancing starts. This ensures your guests appreciate the way they look.

Michigan Wedding Photographer - The Fourniers

Enough Time for Wedding Photos

When you book your wedding day with us, we will plan all this for you so you don’t have to figure out how long do wedding photos take. That’s right, you aren’t expected to memorize any of this. Some of these times might seem long on paper but keep in mind that the wedding day will fly by. Most weddings usually run slightly behind schedule. Also, we like to keep things FUN so it will not seem like a long time.

Keep in mind this is your wedding day and not a photo shoot! Our goal by planning enough time for things is to reduce stress and make sure you have an AMAZING wedding day.

how to get candids on wedding day

Bonus: How to get Candids on the Wedding Day?

As a couple, you don’t have to do anything. Candid moments will happen naturally on the wedding day regardless if you are shy in front of the camera or not. Especially during intimate moments like the bride getting ready photos. But to get candid moments in your wedding album, that entirely depends on your photographer. For us, we always include candid moments in our wedding (and even engagement) photos because of how we take pictures. For us, Leidy will guide you into posed portraits that look natural and fresh. All the while Josh will be getting those endearing in-between moments that are already happening on the wedding day! Our advice if you are hoping to get candid moments on your wedding day is to ensure that there are two photographers. Even if your photographer photographs primarily posed portraits, usually their second shooter can capture candid moments on the sidelines. Just communicate your desired outcomes with your photographer so they can instruct their second shooter to be looking for those moments.

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