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How long do I need to allow for wedding day photos?

Auckland wedding photography - Julia Moore-Pilbrow Photographer

Wedding days are so diverse, so in some ways it’s like asking how long is a piece of string. While we always aim to work in with your day, and never want you to feel like you need to worry about if we’re getting what we need – there are some good things to consider when you’re working out your wedding day timeline:

1. The day will fly by!

While the morning of the big day can seem a little slow motion at times – once you get close to the ceremony, the day will just go. Delegate as much as you can so you can be as present as possible on the day, and give yourself margin – don’t schedule so everything just fits, give yourself time, especially for #2!

2. Most wedding days will run behind schedule With one or two exceptions, most weddings I shoot run behind schedule. Everything takes longer than you’d imagine –the make-up, the finding the flower girl’s ribbon that’s been put under someone’s coat, the time to round up your bridal party to get them in the car, to actually get in etc etc – there are a whole bunch of movements that an event involving large numbers of people, and co-ordinating music and celebrants, bridal parties, couples and so on, take. Build some margin into your day so it doesn’t matter and have someone who has that organised gene to help get people moving for when/where they need to be. This is your bossy counsin/friend/aunt's moment to really indulge their control freak side!

3. Allow around 20 minutes for people to congratulate you after the wedding People are stoked for you – and they want to be there straight after to tell you. So don’t plan on rushing off after your ceremony, allow 20 minutes or so for a wedding of around 80 people for greeting everyone.

4. Family photos take longer than you’d imagine, and aren’t much fun for the couple.

I remember at my own wedding standing there waiting for Aunt Ethel to come back from the ‘quick’ toilet trip, or a cousin to be rounded up from chatting with her friends, and really all I wanted to be doing was hanging out with people, most of whom I hadn’t seen in a long time! Allow 20 minutes for around 10-12 family group combinations, and keep it simple – which photos do you really need? The more guests you have, the further away the photo location from the ceremony venue and drinks trolley, usually the longer it will take to round everyone up.

5. The more time you can give your wedding photographer for the bridal portraits, the better the photos. Getting all the elements needed for a beautiful photo takes time – you need to juggle how a couple interacts – in themselves, with each other, in their body language, their expressions – and how that interacts with the available lighting, and the ideal background setup and composition within that. It just takes time to get a couple working together well, comfortable, so a photo can look natural and your chemistry can come through. A millimetre move of the eyes or chin can change the whole feel of an image – just think about that tiny movement from looking at someone to rolling your eyes, and how dramatically that changes what your expression is, or how flattering half closed eyes aren’t compared to full and joyful ones. I ask for 2 hours for bridal portraits, to allow time for group photos with your bridal party, driving or walking times between locations and set-ups, and time to just relax and enjoy the chance to be together and for that to come through in the shoot. You can get away with less, but the question is – do you want to make the most of one of the few professional photoshoots you’ll have together?

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