Wedding Photography Checklist and Timeline


Being a Fine Art Wedding Photographer is not stress-free, but I can imagine that being a bride can be worse! 

I hope you find this post to give you valuable information about the wedding photography checklist and timeline. 

This insight will assist you in making sure your wedding day goes without a hitch (at least in the photography department!)

Keep in mind that this post is to assist you with your Photography timeline. Your wedding planner will create a timeline for the whole wedding, and we all will be in sync.

Several elements go into planning a perfect wedding photography checklist and timeline. The more prepared you are, the fewer worries you will have on the day of the wedding! 

Here are the 6 most asked questions about wedding checklist and timeline my clients frequently enquire me:

1. To have, or not to have a wedding first look?

Yes! I highly recommend having a wedding first look. 

About 80% of my couples choose to have a first look because this gives them a safety net.

And here is why: having a first look and getting all the crucial photos of the day done before the ceremony, will allow you both to enjoy the wedding day without stress or worries about important photos. 

Although we have successfully documented weddings with, or without a first look, if a couple selects to do it, we can generally fit in an extra 45minutes just for bride and groom portraits. This is a priceless time you acquire on your wedding day!

In the end, it is your wedding day, and you will choose best how you and your fiancé plan to execute it. 

I encourage you to read this blog post on “How A First Look Can Save Your Wedding Day” to learn in detail what a first look session can ultimately do for you.

2. If we hire a second shooter, what will he/she cover? Who will photograph the bride and who will be with the groom?

Typically, I will be the primary photographer.

Therefore, I will be the one in charge of photographing the bride getting ready, her details, and romantic portraits.

The second shooter usually is in charge of the family formals, groom getting ready shots, and provides a 2nd angle for the coverage.

3. How do we handle family formals?

Family formals should be a quick and fun part of your wedding day. It’s not every day that you can have both your families together in celebration.

If everyone collaborates and stays nearby right after the ceremony, we can keep it under 15 minutes.

Note to self: have a designated person with your family formal shot list in hands, calling out people’s names or by the relationship groups.

This system allows us to move the groupings along and cut the family photo session time down to a minimum.

Also, make sure you communicate this to your planner, DJ, or officiant. They will be making an announcement immediately after the ceremony, so the bridal party and immediate family can be ready for photos.

It is critical to send us your shot list of the family portrait groupings you wish to have so we can follow along and expedite the session.

Our goal is to free everyone promptly. No one likes lengthy family formal’s photo sessions.

4. How and when will the wedding reception area be documented?

The short answer is: during cocktail hour.

The wedding venue is one of the costliest elements of your wedding budget, and you are probably making the reception/ceremony area as perfect as you can.

Usually, my team will need roughly 15-20 minutes to shoot all the reception venue details such as centerpieces, cake, wedding favors, flowers, dessert table, overall area, set pieces, etc.

The entire space needs to be sectioned off from guests to get ‘clean’ shots of the venue.

You will appreciate this because it’s the only time we can document the reception area to see how it actually looked before the party started.

We recommend that you coordinate with your planner to have the decorations set-up and ready to be photographed before the start of the cocktail hour.

5. At what time does the wedding photographers and videographers eat dinner or take a break?

The most preferable period for the crew to eat dinner is during the reception when the bride and groom are eating or when the first table is called up.

I have to make sure my team is available to capture the moments when you guys are walking around visiting tables, mingling with guests, receiving or giving toasts.

The perfect time is for the team to eat while you guys are eating and to be done when you guys are finished. This will help to achieve a fuller coverage of your wedding reception.

I can assure you that this is the only time that makes sense during our busy schedule, and it is not because we like to eat before everybody else, I promise!

6. What if we decide to add additional hours of photography coverage on the day of the wedding?

This is very common, and you need not worry. It happens at many weddings.

All you need to do is inform your wedding planner, and they can communicate it back to us. The sooner, the easier it is for me to arrange the extended hours with my team.

Below you will find examples that I think are the perfect wedding photography timeline with and without a first look.

Don’t worry if this timeline is different from your timeline.

These hours are an approximation and are meant as a guide.

They can give you a good idea of how much time you should allocate to each part of the wedding and the usual order of events.

7. Sample Wedding Photography Timelines

Sample 1: Wedding Photography and Videography Timeline for 8 hours of coverage with first look

1:00 – 2:00    Getting ready and detail shots
2:00 – 4:30    First look, bridal party, Immediate family member photos
5:00 – 5:30    Wedding Ceremony
5:30 – 5:50    Family Formals
5:50– 6:20     Additional bride/groom and bridal party photos
6:20 – 6:40    Cocktail hour/Reception details
6:40 –           Bridal party grand entrance, and party time!

Sample 2: Wedding Photography and Videography Timeline for 8 hours of coverage WITHOUT a first look

1:00 – 2:00   Getting ready and detail shots
2:00 – 4:30   Separate bride and groom photos, and separate bridal party photos
5:00 – 5:30   Wedding Ceremony
5:30 – 5:50   Family Formals
5:50– 6:20    Bridal party portraits
6:20 – 6:50   Bride & groom portraits.
7:00 –         Bridal party grand entrance, and party time!

Sample 3: Wedding Photography and Videography Timeline for 8 hours of coverage with an EARLY ceremony

10:30 – 11:30   Getting ready/detail shots
11:45 – 1:00     Separate bride and groom photos, and separate bridal party photos
1:00 – 1:30      Ceremony area detail shots
2:00 – 3:00     Wedding Ceremony
3:30 – 4:00      Family Formals
4:00– 4:30       Bridal party portraits
4:30 – 5:15      Bride & groom portraits.
5:30 – 6:30      Coverage of cocktail hour/Reception details
6:40 –            Bridal party grand entrance, and party time!

Thanks for reading Wedding Photography Checklist and Timeline blog post!

Go to my brand new Wedding Planning page for honest, non-conventional practicable wedding planning advice and the complete list of all my most trusted vendors in Savannah and other cities in the South. 

Here are some of my favorite wedding photos at The Market At Grelen Wedding | Virginia Wedding PhotosDelta Plantation Wedding PhotosBelmond Maroma Cancun Wedding among others. 

And some engagement sessions I’ve had at  Wormsloe Engagement Photos and Savannah Engagement Photo Session | Forsyth Park to name a couple.

Also, go to our General Wedding FAQ and our Engagement Session FAQ posts for more information about how to prepare for your photo sessions.

We have other posts that can help you with your wedding preparations in our Journal Page. 

Don’t forget to check out my homepage for my newest wedding photography work.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, and follow us on social media to stay updated with the latest photo shoots and blogs.

Wedding Photography Checklist and Timeline
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Wedding Photography Checklist and Timeline
I wrote this blog post to give you valuable information for the ultimate wedding photography checklist and timeline.
Vitor Lindo Photo + Video