How to Make a Wedding Photography Plan

advice for

Making a Wedding Photo Plan

For Great Wedding Photos, It's All About Planning

How to Make a Wedding Photography Plan

Every bride wants amazing, breathtaking images of their wedding day. But it’s important to remember that you have invited your guests to share the evening celebrating your wedding with your family and friends. A photography plan can prevent you from spending too much time on photography – a mistake brides often make.  A photographer will likely have suggestions their experience tells them works well, but can only understand your unique wishes by developing a plan with you. Here’s are some tips and a general timeline for wedding photography:

Pre-ceremony photos with the bride = 1 hour

Hair and make up is completed or near completed when coverage begins. The photographer will typically spend 1/2 hour photographing details and candids. The remaining 1/2 hours is spent capturing attendants, family and planned images of the bride. Be sure to convey your comfort level with having someone in the room as you get ready to your wedding photographer. Together, you and the photographer should develop a list of images and special items you would like the photographer to capture during this time.

Pre-ceremony photos with the groom = 1/2 hour

The pre-ceremony images of the groom are often captured at the church, but any location of your choice can be used. The photographer will typically photograph the groom’s attire, images with groomsmen and family, pinning of boutonnieres, and other detail shots. If you have specific requests for the groom’s images, be sure to share them with your photographer.


Many churches will have restrictions on wedding photography. If your church does, share that information as early as possible when you are developing the wedding photography plan as it may impact the type of images that can be captured. As you develop the photography plan, it is a good idea to discuss what you would like the photographer to capture – your last moments with your father before the ceremony or guests being seated. Let your photographer know if there are honored guests, candle lightings, or other items to make special note of.

Post ceremony = 30 minutes

Following the ceremony, many couples like to have a balloon release or bubble exit. This is typically done immediately after the ceremony so that guests that are not a part of formal altar images can be released. You will likely sign your marriage license before beginning your family images as well.

Altar images = 30 minutes

Again, many churches limit the amount of time you have to capture formal altar images. Because time must be used effectively, assigning a friend to help gather groupings is most helpful. Work with your photographer to develop a list of images that should be captured at the ceremony location and those that can be done at the wedding reception.

Romantics = 1 hour

This is the time that your wedding photographer’s artistic abilities can really shine. Whether you are interested in traditional, photo-journalistic or artistic images, develop a plan for what images you would like to capture of you as a couple, with and without the bridal party. If you like images with an urban or natural background, you and your wedding photographer can discuss locations that match your creative vision. You should also discuss poses that you’ve seen in the past that appeal to you – and those that don’t too.


You family and friends will be gathered to share a meal with you and your new spouse, visit and dance. When planning the photography for your wedding reception, remember to take your guests in account. Share the timeline that you have developed with your wedding DJ with the photographer for the grand entrance, cake cutting. toasts and special dances. Most couples focus the wedding reception photography on those key moments and take a more candid approach to the remainder of the evening. This allows them to converse with their guests and have a great time dancing, while the photographer captures those candid moments. By forming a photography plan with your wedding photographer, you can preserve the memories of your wedding day without letting the wedding photography take over.

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