How Long Do Wedding Photos Take? (Timeline Breakdown)

Wedding days are hectic and rushed. A wedding photography timeline lets you plan the photoshoots so you can have a smooth program to follow. So, how long do wedding photos take?

Wedding photography takes around 6 hours. This covers:

  • Wedding day details
  • Getting ready photos
  • Individual portraits for the bride and groom
  • Travel and drive time
  • Couple’s First Look
  • Wedding ceremony
  • Full wedding party
  • Formal family photos
  • First dance
  • Other photos of candid moments

How Long Do Wedding Photos Take: Breakdown

Wedding Day Details

wedding rings pillow

Time: 60 minutes

Location: Any empty room

The wedding details refer to the tiny things that make up the wedding. This includes the rings of the couple, the dresses, the flower arrangements, set design, bouquet, shoes, perfume, jewelry, hair accessories, wedding invitation, boutonniere, and more. Most wedding photographers lay these items out in a flat position and take photos overhead. The wedding dress or suit may be hung stylishly and photographed. The photos often look editorial and timeless, highlighting the luxurious details of the wedding.

This photography session is often performed in an empty hotel room. The items are laid out on textured fabrics or other surfaces with colors that complement the wedding color scheme. It helps to prepare the wedding day items in one bag so that the photographer can easily lay them out and take photos.

Getting Ready Photos

groom getting ready

Time: 60 minutes

Location: Bridal suite or hotel room of the groom

The bride and the groom should get ready hours before the actual wedding so that the photographer can capture the raw moments. For the bride, this involves her process to get ready, like putting on her makeup, fixing her hair, and wearing her dress. She’s usually photographed getting ready with her bridesmaids, mother, sisters, and other female family members. The moments captured are usually candid.

For the groom, he will be photographed getting ready by putting on his jacket, hanging out with his groomsmen, fixing his watch, tying up his shoelaces, and more.

Individual Portraits For The Bride And Groom

bride solo shoot

Time: 60 minutes

Location: Any well-lit area

Most traditions say that the bride and groom aren’t allowed to see each other before the wedding. As such, they will be photographed separately for stylish portraits. These portraits are photos of them fully ready and in their wedding attires. The couple is photographed in dreamy and editorial styles. There will also be close-up photos of the details of their outfits.

Travel And Drive Time

travel bride stepping out car

Time: 30 minutes

Location: N/A

This shows the bride and the groom traveling to the wedding venue. The bride or groom usually travel solo in a white car. There’s also a shot of the bride stepping out of the car upon reaching the venue. The bride and the groom may travel with their respective bridesmaids and groomsmen. They can be photographed all hanging out in a limo, having fun. The time to photograph this segment may extend due to traffic or other delays.

Couple’s First Look

first look couple

Time: 60 minutes

Location: Wedding venue or any other scenic spot near the venue

The first look is the segment where the bride and the groom have the first glance at each other. This is usually an emotional and precious moment that should be captured. The groom is often in awe of how beautiful the bride looks, and the bride is also filled with joy at seeing her husband-to-be. The photographers will capture these candid moments, as well as other romantic portraits of the two. It’s the perfect time to take pre-wedding photos because the outfits, hair, and makeup will still be fresh.

Wedding Ceremony

Time: N/A

Location: Wedding ceremony venue

The photographer usually takes 30 minutes to take photos of the wedding venue before the guests and wedding party arrive. He’ll take photos of the decorations, altar details, and more. As the ceremony goes on, he’ll also take photos of the key events during the wedding. This includes the vows, exchange of rings, and first kiss. There will also be a series of photos as the couple walks down the aisle to leave the wedding venue. As they exit the wedding site, their bridal party may throw rose petals, rice, or paper streamers to celebrate their official union.

Full Wedding Party

wedding party

Time: 30 minutes

Location: Park, garden, or any open space with lots of natural lighting

The bridesmaids and the groomsmen will be photographed with the couple. These group photos will start with the basic formal poses, then proceed with wacky or creative shots. Wedding photographers often capture the special bond between the bride and her bridesmaids and between the groom and his groomsmen. If the time permits, there can also be individual shots of each bridesmaid or groomsman with the couple.

Formal Family Photos

Time: 30 minutes

Location: Park, garden, or any open space with lots of natural lighting

The time to take formal family photos depends on how big the family is and how ready they are for the photos. These formal photos are group shots of the couple with their immediate family members.

First Dance

first dance

Time: 15 minutes

Location: Reception venue

One major event during the wedding reception is the couple’s first dance as a married couple. They’ll usually change into their reception outfits which are often less formal than their wedding attires. As they dance, the photographer will snap pictures of them in action, like gazing into each other’s eyes or having fun doing the routine.

Other Photos

Time: N/A

Location: Wedding ceremony and reception venue

Expert wedding photographers will know when precious candid moments happen and how to capture them. For example, as the bride walks down the aisle, the photographer shouldn’t just focus on the groom watching her. The photographer may also look at the bride’s parents and what their raw reactions will be. Other candid shots may include kids playing, guests dancing, and more.

All in all there can’t be a correct answer to the question of “how long do wedding photos take” since it will depend on how much time you’re planning to allocate to each part of the ceremony. Treat the above as the general guidelines to ball-park the time it could take.