How Long Do Wedding Photos Take? (Timeline Breakdown)

Wedding days are often filled with a flurry of activity, leaving you feeling both exhilarated and perhaps a bit overwhelmed. Having a clear and detailed wedding photography timeline helps ensure the smooth flow of the day. But you might wonder, how long do wedding photos actually take?

On average, wedding photography takes around 6-8 hours. This typically includes:

  1. Capturing wedding day details
  2. Getting ready photos
  3. Individual portraits for the bride and groom
  4. Travel and drive time
  5. Couple’s first look
  6. Wedding ceremony
  7. Full wedding party
  8. Formal family photos
  9. First dance
  10. Other candid moments

Now, let’s break it down further.

How Long Do Wedding Photos Take: Breakdown

1. Wedding Day Details

wedding rings pillow

Time: 60 minutes

Location: An uncluttered space, such as an 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.

2. Getting Ready Photos

groom getting ready

Time: 60 minutes

Location: Bridal suite or groom’s hotel room

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.

3. Individual Portraits of the Bride and Groom

bride solo shoot

Time: Approximately 60 minutes

Location: Any well-lit area

In accordance with the tradition that the couple should not see each other before the wedding, individual portraits are taken separately. These images capture the bride and groom in their wedding attire, showcasing their excitement and anticipation.

4. Travel And Drive Time

travel bride stepping out car

Time: Approximately 30 minutes

This part of the timeline covers the couple’s journey to the wedding venue, including potential traffic or other delays. Expect pictures of the bride stepping out of the car upon arrival or candid shots of the groom with his groomsmen.

5. Couple’s First Look

first look couple

Time: 60 minutes

Location: Wedding venue or another scenic spot near the venue

The “first look” is the moment the bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day. It’s often an emotional moment and a fantastic opportunity for the photographer to capture candid reactions and romantic portraits of the couple.

6. Wedding Ceremony

Time: Varies

Location: Wedding ceremony venue

The photographer captures key events of the wedding ceremony, including the vows, exchange of rings, first kiss, and the couple’s exit from the venue. The photographer might also take photos of the venue and decorations before guests and the wedding party arrive.

7. Full Wedding Party

wedding party

Time: 30 minutes

Location: An open space with lots of natural light, like a park or garden

Group photos are taken with the wedding party. These begin with formal poses and may transition to fun or creative shots, capturing the special bond between the couple and their closest friends.

8. Formal Family Photos

Time: 30 minutes

Location: Similar to the wedding party photos

Formal family photos capture the couple with their immediate and extended family members. The time needed for this can vary based on the size of the family and their readiness.

9. First Dance

first dance

Time: 15 minutes

Location: Reception venue

The couple’s first dance is a significant event at the reception. The photographer captures them in their less formal attire, capturing the emotion and joy of their first dance as a married couple.

10. Candid Moments

Time: Varies

Location: Ceremony and reception venues

These are unplanned shots capturing spontaneous moments. These might include reactions from parents, children playing, guests dancing, and more, painting a complete picture of the wedding day atmosphere.

In conclusion, the question “how long do wedding photos take?” doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. It varies depending on the intricacies of your wedding schedule. The above guidelines provide a general idea of how you might allocate time for photography on your special day. Remember, these are flexible and can be adapted to best fit your wedding day timeline.

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