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Wedding Photography Timelines

So what on earth are wedding photography timelines?

Here’s how we break it down with some frequently asked questions:

  • When do we book our wedding photographer?
  • When do we take our engagement photos?
  • Wedding-Day Photography Timeline 


Groom Shaun getting ready for his wedding

When do we book our wedding photographer?

Wedding photography is very subjective and personal. As such, it should be a priority if you want to make sure you get a good, trustworthy wedding photographer that suits your taste and style.

The rule of thumb is to start searching and hiring your wedding photographer the moment you secure your wedding venue.

I’ve written an article on Hiring the Photographer You’ll Love here, so check that out to nail down the specifics.


When do we take our engagement photos?

There are a couple of things to consider here:

  • Do you want to use your engagement photos for your Save the Date?
  • Do you want to use them for your Invites?
  • Do you want to use them for your wedding, such as in a guest book or a framed photo?

With these questions in mind, you can decide how early you want to take them. Normally, you should have them taken around six to nine months before so you can have them ready for all of the above.

If all you care about is to have them ready for your wedding, two to three months before is a good, safe timeline so you can get them printed or made into an album in good time.

The other question to consider is of course the season during which you want to have them made. This mainly influences your wardrobe and the amount of daylight we have. Summer is, of course, the most popular season for photos and weddings, so wedding photographers will be busy especially during the weekends. However, since we have longer days during the summer, we can schedule your engagement session later in the day after working hours.

Speaking of wardrobe, we’ve made a Pinterest board of what to wear to an engagement session. Check it out!

Pro tip: Consider timing the trial of your wedding hair stylist and makeup artist for your engagement photos.

Building Your Wedding-Day Photography Timeline

If you’ve read through our articles here at JTPA, you’ll see a common phrase I like to use:

Good Photos Come from Good Planning

A little known fact is that thoughtful wedding photography has to be built into your master timeline. While this is part of a wedding planner’s job, it is the wedding photographer who has to make sure we have time to make the photos we need.

Here are all the parts where we come in:

  • Getting Ready (1-1.5 hrs)
  • First Look: Between the engaged couple, between parent/significant VIP and children if preferred (15 mins)
  • Couple Portraits (1 hr, split up sometimes before and after ceremony)
  • Group formals: Family, wedding party (30 – 45 mins depending on the sizes, crucial to do before ceremony if larger sizes)
  • Ceremony decor and details (20 mins)
  • Ceremony or ceremonies if cultural (20-30 mins, one hour sometimes depending on the type of ceremony)
  • Signing of documents (15 mins)
  • Cocktails (1 hr)
  • Reception decor and details (20 mins)
  • Reception grand entrance (10 mins)
  • Reception events: Cake-cutting, toasts, first dances, party, performances, send-off (2-3 hrs)

As always, this is a rough guide and every wedding is unique since every couple is different. The best advice is always to talk to your wedding photographer to nail down the specifics for a smooth, stress-free wedding photography timeline.

Ready to hire your wedding photographer? Contact us!

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