Plan Your Wedding Timeline For Portraits


One of the best uses of the time you've booked your photographer for is adding in more portraits to your timeline. Sure, it seems intimidating at first, but why wouldn't you want more photos to add to your wall, desk, and album? Besides, the portraits won't feel nearly as intimidating after you've had time working with your photographer prior to the wedding. I've said it many times before, but I'll say it again. The biggest reason to hire your photographer for both an engagement session and wedding is to learn how your photographer likes to work and get more confident in front of the camera! 

So when working with your photographer or wedding planner, request to have 30 minutes of portraits scheduled before the ceremony for both the bridal party and the groomsmen. Traditionally the bride and her bridesmaids will go first with their portraits so that the bride is hidden before her guests arrive. 

The best kinds of portraits your photographer can capture here are individuals of the bridesmaids, group shots, shots of each bridesmaid and the bride, and individual portraits of the bride herself. The 30 minutes should also allow some extra time to experiment with new poses and ideas that uniquely tell your story, without looking so cookie-cutter. 

Here are two sample timelines of how this would look, one with a first look, and one without:

With First Look:

12pm - Photographer Arrives / Detail Photos
12:30pm - Bride's Dress Photos
12:45pm - First Look
1:00pm - Wedding Party Portraits
1:15pm - Bridal Party Portraits
1:45pm - Groomsmen Portraits
2:15pm - Bride Hidden
2:30pm - Guests Arrive
3:00pm - Wedding

Without First Look:

12pm - Photographer Arrives / Detail Photos
12:45pm - Bride's Dress Photos
1:00pm - Bridal Party Portraits
1:30pm - Bride Hidden / Groomsmen Portraits
2:00pm - Ceremony + Location Details
2:30pm - Guests Arrive
3:00pm - Wedding

So with the two samples, both with a 12pm Photographer Arrival Time and a 3pm Ceremony Time, you can squeeze a decent amount of portrait images within the three-hour time frame. You can see that there is a possibility for more kinds of images if you do opt for a first look, but even if you decided to keep it traditional, there will be time after the ceremony to capture the full wedding party portraits. You can also always request to lengthen the time of your sunset portraits, but most couples don't like to be away from the party too long, so there is an added benefit to choosing to do a first look in regards to portraits.

Okay, but what does the same timeline look like without additional portraits time?

Without Planned Portraits

12pm - Photographer Arrives / Detail Photos
1:00 - Bridal Party Getting Ready Candids
1:30 - Bride Puts Dress On
1:45 - Groomsmen Getting Ready Candids
2:15 - Ceremony + Location Details
2:30pm - Guests Arrive
3:00pm - Wedding

So the biggest difference between these timelines is the distribution of time. If time isn't spent on portraits, more time will be spent on candid moments and location details, which is absolutely fine if that's what you're looking for! However, considering your full wedding album, you are more likely to fill your album with posed, professional portraits of you smiling, rather than the guys playing pool or drinking whiskey. There's always time to squeeze in candid moments, however, there isn't always going to be time to squeeze in the portraits.