How much time to allot for photos?!?!

posted 3 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 2
3491 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

We did 2 hours with a slight change of location (5-10 minute drive) and no first look. We finished a bit early so I would say 1.5 hours would have been fine. That included all family photos, wedding party photos, and just the two of us. 

Are you doing a first look? 

Post # 3
10282 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

We did a first look. So with that and all the family/wedding party pictures it was about an hour before the ceremony. Then 45ish minutes after the ceremony while our guests were at the cocktail hour for pictures of just us.

Pictures between the ceremony and reception really shouldn’t last more than an hour. You don’t want to keep your guests waiting forever.

Post # 4
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

1 hour minimum- pushing it beyond that is tricky because guests get antsy even with cocktails and finger foods. 

Post # 7
3491 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Can you not have a 1.5 hour cocktail hour if the doors open at 5:30? Not sure if this is the norm where you live but as a guest I would find it odd to be let in but not served. We had ceremony starting at 3:30, finished and starting receiving line by 4, and cocktail hour starting immediately after guests had come through the receiving line. Seating for dinner at 6:15, first speech/ first course served at 6:30.

And I totally get your feelings on no first look, it was perfect him seeing me for the first time coming down the aisle 🙂 

Post # 9
849 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
cloud9bride :  More than you think! This is something I wish I had known earlier in the process, haha. Our photographer came at noon and did detail shots, getting ready, etc. We did photos before the ceremony, but we essentially did photos from noon to 4:00ish. Then my photographer obviously took photos through the ceremony (5:00 pm) & reception, but the portraits and whatnot took like two-three hours. Obviously your photographer will have to move more quickly/take less photos if you do them after the ceremony and before the reception (like an hour to 1.5 hours?)

Post # 10
9385 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

we didnt do photos post ceremony, since we did a first look.. we alloted 2hrs total but we had a decent amount of down time in the end, it was supposed to be 1hr with me and dh, we needed maybe 40 min of that and we were all a bit done with pics of just the two of us by the end of that 40 min… and then we had an hr for pics with the Maid/Matron of Honor and best man and pics with the fam, and again after 30-40 min we were all out of pose ideas so we just called it and my Maid/Matron of Honor and I went and hung out in the bridal suite and played pokemon go.

If I were doing it between the ceremony and reception I’d try and fit it in an hour, personally.  It’d be a tad rushed but it will mean cocktail hour can really just be an hour, which is kinder to the guests.  But everyone takes a different amount of time and has a different tolerance for standing in front of the camera.


Post # 11
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

I’m hiring 2 photographers for 10 hours (still trying to choose though, the downside of being an artist and art historian haha!) My estimated timeline is as follows:

2:00 Bridal/Groom getting ready pics/Individual Portraits

3:00 First look and Couple Portraits

4:00 Bridal party group photos

4:30 Family Photos

5:00 Photography of details (flowers, decor, etc.) while I take some time to relax by myself lol

5:30 Prep for Ceremony

6:00 Ceremony

6:30 Cocktail Hour

7:30 Reception

A lot of our photos will be stylized/editorial style so it would be impossible for us to not do a first look even though that’s what my fiance wanted. I was able to convince him that a first look would be more personal for us – just us and the photographers. Honestly, seeing me in my veil, with flowers, walking to the music down the aisle will probably be just as special despite the first look. 

Try not to rush your photos- your memory is going to fade, but your photos will last lifetimes. 

Post # 13
11 posts

Completely depends on the size of the wedding party, size of the family, how many different family configurations you want. Your best bet is to explain to your photographer what you want taken and ask how much time they suggest allocating. The photographer will know best what they are comfortable with. Generally speaking photographers will want more time (it is always less stressful and the results are generally better) but they may have suggestions on how to best configure things if maximizing time is a concern, such as having their second shooter shoot reception details while they do family portraits or visa versa. Also, the way the shot list is structured will make a big difference in the ability to get through it quickly. When I do them, I organize them so that we build on each group, keeping as few people changing between shots so they can be quickly swapped in and out, and on each line I highlight the person that has changed or is new, so that someone can get the next people ready to go while a shot is being taken. Sounds obvious but not everyone thinks to do this.

Post # 14
786 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

We are setting it up to have most of the family & wedding party photos done before the ceremony. No first look, so we will probably take another hour to get all the combined photos done afterwards.

Post # 15
4 posts
  • Wedding: August 2020

Try this as a resource from Meyer Photo + Video :

It’s broken down by time for each portion of the wedding (getting ready, portraits, details, etc)

Good luck!

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