There is likely nothing you’ll want more than for your DC area wedding day to go according to plan, in a timely and organized manner. As the big day draws closer, you and yours will need to start considering the finer details of your wedding planning, specifically the wedding day photography timeline. After choosing a Washington DC area photographer, it’s crucial to communicate and take into account the following with your photographer: the quantity of family portraits, the comfort level of a “first look,” the number of photo locations and the estimated travel time. But, where does an already busy couple-to-be begin!? Today, DC area wedding photographer Susie of Inspired Photography is here to ease your worries and offers her professional advice on what creating a wedding day photo schedule means. And stay tuned – Susie returns next week with more advice! Take it away, Susie…

Waterfront Wedding Portrait

Photo Credit: Inspired Photography

Creating a photography schedule for your wedding day is a critical part of making sure your day flows well.  Photos are what you’ll have as a visual reminder of your day, and to make sure you have time to get all the photos, it’s important to plan it ahead of time rather than wing it on the day of your wedding!  Your photographer or planner will be able to help you plan out your schedule to best match your wedding day; however, here are a few things to keep in mind when you are thinking about the schedule.

Enjoy Your Day

The top priority when I’m creating a schedule for my couples is not that I have all day to create amazing portraits of the couple.  Yes, I want to have adequate time, but I don’t need 4 hours of only the couple in order to create those amazing portraits. I tell couples that it’s always a balance of finding enough time for taking photos and having them in with their friends and family enjoying the day. Of course, portrait time also means you get a little time to yourselves during the day, and we make it a great time.

Wedding Party Portrait

Photo Credit: Inspired Photography

Consider the Lighting

If you’ve been looking on Pinterest and seeing beautiful sunset photos, but want your photos taken at 2pm so you can enjoy your reception, the sky won’t be a sunset sky. If you want that super soft, dreamy look, you’ll probably need to schedule your photos for some time between 30-45 minutes before sunset. If you can’t do all the photos at that time, you can consider having your photographer take you out of the reception for 10-15 minutes (maybe while the guests are eating dinner), and get a few of those photos, while still doing most of the portraits before sunset.

Consider Your Venue

You’ve chosen your venue because it has specific things about it that you love. With that said, if you’ve always imagined a garden feel to your photos, but you’ve chosen a venue in the city, chances are that’s not going to happen. Keep in mind that whatever feel the venue has is what will show on your photos. If it’s a sophisticated, ornate building, your photos will have a very different feel than if you’ve chosen to get married in a vineyard. Both will give you amazing photos, just be aware that your photographer can’t change the background in your photos.

Now that we’ve gone over the things to consider while creating a photography schedule, I’m going to put a few sample photography schedules that I’ve created for weddings over the years.  Keep in mind, every schedule will look a little different because each wedding is unique.  This may or may not work for your day, but hopefully it will give you a starting point!

Washington DC Area Couple DC Are Wedding

Photo Credit: Inspired Photography

Sample Photography Schedule with a “First Look”

  • 2:30 – Photographers arrive, photograph details and bride getting ready
  • 3:30 – First Look
  • 4:30 – Wedding Party photos
  • 5:00 – Family Portraits
  • 5:30 – Finished with formal portraits, couple can relax before the wedding
  • 6:00 – Ceremony begins
  • 6:30 – Immediately after ceremony, take couple out for a few more photos
  • 7:00 – Couple can relax or go join cocktail hour until introduced at reception
  • 7:30 – Introduced at reception
  • First Dance
  • Toasts
  • Dinner Served
  • At the end of dinner:  father/daughter dance, mother/son dance
  • Dance floor open
  • Cake cutting
  • Bouquet/garter toss
  • Dance floor open
  • Last dance

Sample Photography Schedule without a “First Look”

  • 3:30 – Photographers arrive, photograph details and bride getting ready
  • 4:30 – Bride & Bridesmaids
  • 5:00 – Groom & Groomsmen
  • 5:30 – Finished with formal portraits, couple can relax before the wedding
  • 6:00 – Ceremony begins
  • 6:30 – Immediately after ceremony: Family Photos (10-15 min), Wedding Party (15 min), Bride & Groom Alone (30 min)
  • 7:30pm – Introduced at Reception
  • First Dance
  • Toasts
  • Dinner Served
  • At the end of dinner:  father/daughter dance, mother/son dance
  • Dance floor open
  • Cake cutting
  • Bouquet/garter toss
  • Dance floor open
  • Last dance

Remember, all photographers work a little differently on a wedding day with their schedules.  Talk to them about what will work best for them and you, and you’ll be able to come up with a wonderful schedule so you can enjoy your day, plus get amazing photos!

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Have you planned your photography timeline yet? Let us know! Thank you so much for the great advice, Susie! If you’re looking for more wedding photography advice or for an engagement or wedding photography, be sure to check out Inspired Photography.

For more advice on wedding photography, you can check out our entire photography week series that is full of great advice and you can browse our list of the best wedding photographers in the DC area.

Photo Credit: Inspired Photography

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