How Much Time Do I Need for Photos on the Wedding Day? - Grand Rapids Wedding Photographer

April 2, 2019

How Much Time Do I Need for Photos on the Wedding Day?

April 2, 2019

We are often asked, “How much time do I need for photos on the wedding day?” 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 assets. 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, but also 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.

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 different. But in general, here is how to plan enough time for wedding photos on your wedding day:

Wedding Day Details

Time Needed: 30 Minutes

Location: Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite

We recommend allowing at least 30 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.

How Much Time Do Photos Take on My Wedding Day | Best Michigan Wedd Photographer | Leidy & Josh

Bride/Groom 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. 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 it short.

At the same time, Josh will meet the groom with his groomsmen. 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.

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.

How Much Time Do Photos Take on My Wedding Day | Best Michigan Wedd Photographer | Leidy & Josh

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 couples photos together.

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.

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

This is one of the most important times when planning time for wedding photos. 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.

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. 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.

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 picture 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 ensure your guests appreciate the way they look.

Enough Time for Wedding Photos

When you book your wedding day with us, we will plan all this for you. 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.

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Grand Rapids, Michigan