Choosing the time for your wedding is a crucial part of your wedding planning. Since you will want to get pictures of the wedding party and close family, you will need to take the time of day and your desired pictures setting into account.
For example, if you want beautiful outdoor photos, and you don’t want to take your photos before the ceremony, you should not plan for your ceremony to start at 3pm in December; because the sun sets before 4pm! However, if it’s cold and wet outside, and you intend to take your formal pictures inside anyways, then you only need to consider the amount of time you need between the ceremony and reception.
When your ceremony and reception are in the same location, the time I recommend for between the end of the ceremony and when you are due to be seated is around 1.5 hours. Where travel between locations is involved, you will need to calculate how long that will take, so thank you google maps! I would then recommend adding 20% for the faffers, slow drivers and traffic issues! – I’ll go into what a photographer must do during this time- little hint, it is quite a lot! Especially if we need to travel between venues, which is why making sure there is enough time here is paramount to enabling your photographer to get all the images you want at the quality they are known for!
So, when it comes to planning and organising your photo timeline, here are some questions you might need to ask:
1. Do I want outdoor pictures or pictures that require natural light? If so, what time does the sun go down at that time of year? I use the website suncalc.net to work out my timings!
Around an hour before sunset (this fluctuates throughout the year, Physics!!!) is the best time to get photos outside (well if the sun is out). That golden direction light is amazing and is known as the golden hour. Don’t worry if the sun doesn’t appear, we can ‘fake’ that look with some off camera flash magic!
2. When do I want the formal pictures taken? Do you want them before the wedding (break tradition, I dare you…) or between the ceremony and the reception?
If the space is available, I actually really like the look of group photos inside! However, cramming 25 people into a small room will never look great, but small intimate groups of around 6 works amazingly, especially if we can incorporate some of the building’s features or furniture in them! The plus side to this is you won’t get too cold or wet in the winter, and your images will have that beautiful contoured and dramatic look to them like an old oil panting!
3. How much time will I realistically need for the formal pictures?
Firstly, you need to plan how many pictures you want and decide who will be in them. I send all my couples an example of what groups I suggest as a working draft, although I know every family is unique, and that sometimes we must overcome some logistics to make sure we keep the peace! This is why you are able to expand or shrink it to best suit your needs.
Make sure you plan a little extra time because unexpected delays almost always occur. It’s better to be a little ahead of schedule than to be late. I like to allow myself around 5 minutes per group photo, just encase Uncle Graham prioritises driving 20 minutes down to the road to check into the travel lodge right after the ceremony, because he is worried that 24 hour check wouldn’t be open when he leaves your wedding early at 8:30pm with his slice of cake and his tie around his head…
All jokes aside, this does happen at times, so allowing the extra time in case we need to wait for family members to make their way to us, or to calm down a nervous and upset page boy who doesn’t want his photo taken, which requires extra time for my epic dinosaur impressions to make an appearance!
4. I want a sunset photograph, but I am getting married on the summer solstice. Will I need to consider the length photographic coverage to accommodate this?
Most probably, yes! You can check what time the sunsets right here – https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/
I only need 2-3 minutes to get our lighting set up and worked out, so as long as the sunset falls within our coverage time we will be able to capture some epic skies like these!
5. I want creative night portraits, what should I consider?
We need to ensure the sun has set before we capture these, to make sure the ambiance of the building or surrounding areas is there. This normally requires the venues outside lighting to overpower what light we have left from the sun, so typically we do these around an hour after sunset, but they can be done later if that fits better between all the evening entertainment
6. I really like the idea of a sparkler send off, when is best to do them?
So just like night portraits, the name gives it away for that , we need to do these shots once the sun has gone down. We usually aim for when the sky is super blue (known as the twilight, or the blue hour), which is usually around 45 minutes after the sunset. Any time before and it will look like your guests are waving sticks in the air as you run past them…I’ll cover the details of how to get an epic sparker shot in another blog post!