0474 221 444 tony@tjamesphoto.com

We know that your Wedding Day can be incredibly stressful, so we created this article to provide some top tips for a great wedding day photography timeline. Educating my brides and grooms on the best practices for timing, settings and light is crucial in order for me to create my best work on a wedding day. Usually a photographer is hired for their specific style and vision, therefore, I feel it important to communicate what I need and the ideal environments to work in, in order to achieve this plus make the day run smoothly.

This guide will help in creating your Wedding Day Photography Timeline. These tips will ensure you have a fun and relaxed wedding day experience and get the best wedding photos.

The best advice I can provide brides and grooms getting married with to create a relaxed wedding day is … planning planning planning!

A wedding checklist that sets out the timeline for the various events that occur during the wedding day is a good place to start. To simplify this task, I’ve created a wedding planning timeline. I will cover getting ready, love them or hate them we will talk first looks, ceremony, family portraits, bridal party location photoshoot, couple portraits and the reception.

For me to achieve the typical kinds of wedding photos I like to capture for the bride and groom, the below timeline sets out the amount of time required for each part of the day based on my all day wedding photography package for up to 12 hours of photography coverage.

Joanne photographed by Tony James Photography

This timeline is a suggestion based on a typical wedding day for initial planning purposes. Please make consideration for travel between venues or if you are adding non-traditional elements, for example:

a First Look bridal portrait session
the bride & groom want to mingle with guests during cocktail hour
a morning ceremony
rearranging formal events at the reception, ie cake cutting or first dance, to happen earlier in the evening
incorporating religious or cultural elements
considerable travel distances between venues
have booked a photography package with less hours

Some of these times may seem long, but keep in mind that time gets away from you fast, the day will fly by, even with planning it is common for most weddings to run behind schedule slightly, but I will make the photo time fun so it won’t appear to seem like a long time.

I would be more than happy to create a custom wedding day photography timeline with my couples well in advance of the wedding date, to accommodate your wedding day plans.

The following guide should help you plan a fairly accurate timeline, but I typically get together with my couples around 8 weeks prior to their wedding date to discuss their timeline in detail and create a list of the groupings for the formal family portraits.

In addition, I like to build relationships with my clients on social media, one thing that has proven helpful to get to know them and their likes and what they are passionate about.

Steve getting ready with Tony James Photography
Steve using the top tips for a great wedding day photography timeline

Getting Ready with your for great Wedding Day Photography Timeline

During getting ready, is the time when everyone is relaxed, almost a case of the calm before the storm. It’s the time for the bridal party to get familiar with having the photographer around snapping away.  As a photographer during this time, I like to observe the connections between the people and gauge the emotions, and also test the lighting conditions and angles in the room.

Let’s talk room environment. Dark, messy cluttered rooms can make be challenging. Getting ready can be a nice time to capture genuine emotions, but the atmosphere of the messy room can distract from the genuine moments happening and the beauty of the morning. Here are some things to consider.

Clutter – there is usually a lot going on, but try to keep clutter hidden and to a minimum. Keep bags, suitcases, laundry and so on in a different room or wardrobe. I usually do a sweep of the room when I arrive to declutter and clean up the area, but its helpful if the mess is kept to a minimum.

Light – natural window light is my favorite kind of light and the most flattering. If possible, get ready in a room with natural window light, that means I won’t need to use flash or artificial light. Rooms often have fluorescent or tungsten lights which give off weird colour casts, usually green or orange tones, which is not ideal for natural skin tones in your photos, particularly with spray tans. I prefer to turn all lights off and rely only on window light where possible!

Where – typical motel rooms often don’t provide the best light or setting for getting ready photos. If you can, I recommend looking into other options, like well known chain hotels as they tend to have nicely styled suites, utilise AirBnB as they have a range of options, or my favourites are charming Bed & Breakfast accommodation rentals. Also consider getting ready at home, we are lucky in Queensland as quaint Queenslanders make ideal backdrops for getting ready photos!

Hair/Makeup – your hair stylist and makeup artist will also need window light to ensure well-blended foundation and natural skin tones.

Ying Me wedding photo in the garden
the perfect skin tone for a portrait

Groom Preparation / Portraits of Groom & Groomsmen

allow 45 minutes – 1 hour

Groom & Groomsmen should be dressed in pants and shirt ready for photographer’s arrival
Parents and any other family members should be fully dressed ready for portraits
Have all the Grooms details laid out

Typical photos taken during this time :

Groom Details & Wedding Bands { allow the first 10-15 minutes }
Candids of the Groom & Groomsmen getting ready
Gift Giving – Groom receiving Bride’s gift, Groom giving gifts to Groomsmen, Groom giving gifts to Parents
Groom putting on Father’s boutonniere and Mum’s corsage
Portraits – Groom, Groom with all the Groomsmen, Groom with individual Groomsmen
Groom with Mum, Groom with Dad, Groom with Mum & Dad,
Groom with any additional family members present

Bride Preparation / Portraits of Bride & Bridesmaids

allow 1.5 – 2 hours

Bride & Bridesmaids are usually still in hair & makeup when the photographer arrives
Parents and any other family members should be fully dressed ready for portraits

The best spaces for getting ready photos have lots of natural light, whether it’s a home environment,
hotel suite, quaint cottage or Queenslander.
Where possible, I prefer to take the dress/details outside, hanging the dress on a verandah or in a tree, with the utmost care.
This can take some time, but well worth the effort. If you are against taking your dress outside,
please advise me prior to the wedding day.

Where possible, I prefer to do the portraits in the hotel lobby or a shady garden area.
Usually the lighting is also more flattering in the lobby or garden.

Typical photos taken during this time :

Bride Details { allow first 15-30 minutes }
wedding gown on hanger, flowers, shoes, engagement ring, hair pieces, jewellery & perfume
please have these items laid out together on a table/bed prior to the photographer’s arrival
hair & makeup should be finished except for final touchups for photos

Candids of the Bride & Bridesmaids getting ready { allow 45 minutes }
final touchup for hair & makeup, photos in robes, etc
Gift Giving* – Bride receiving Groom’s gift, Bride giving gifts to Bridesmaids, Bride giving gifts to Parents
*The bride can choose to give gifts either in their pretty robes or after she is in her gown
Bridesmaids get dressed ready to help Bride into her wedding gown
Bride Preparation – bride gets in her gown, puts on jewellry, shoes, perfume, veil, etc
with assistance from the Bridesmaids and Mother-of-the-Bride
Bride reveal to Father-of-the-Bride / Putting on Father’s boutonniere and Mum’s corsage

Portraits { allow 30-45 minutes }
Bride, Bride with all the Bridesmaids, Bride with individual Bridesmaids, Bride with Flower Girls
Bride with Mum, Bride with Dad, Bride with Mum & Dad,
Bride with any additional family members present

jame and Nichole wedding kiss
Making for a happy Tony James wedding photography finish