Perfect Timeline For Your Wedding Photos

Black White Raw Photography

Planning a timeline for your wedding day can appear to be a daunting task, but with a little knowledge about how all the important moments break down and what photos can be accomplished within the day’s events, this can be a useful guide to start planning your day!  Here it from a local professional wedding photographer Lori Foxworth, and get the BEST tips so that your wedding day photos are perfection!


Dress, Shoes and Details

  • Time Allotment:  30-40 Minutes
  • Time of Day:  During Bride/Groom Preparation
  • Location: Hotel Room, Bridal Suite or Home
  • Tip:  When we first arrive, we’ll photograph your details first!  Having your dress/suit, shoes, jewelry and flowers all together in one area when we arrive, ensures that we’ll have more time to photograph your details!  Pre-wedding preparation areas can be wonderfully chaotic, and sometimes we need to take your dress to a quieter, better lit area, which can be anywhere from a hotel hallway to the outdoors.



Bride and Groom Preparations

  • Time Allotment:  45 Minutes
  • Time of Day:  Morning
  • Location: Hotel Room, Bridal Suite or Private Home
  • Tip: These photos are the only way the bride and groom will be able to share with each other the moments they spent getting ready for the big day.  During this time your photographers will split up with the bride and groom and focus on candid photojournalism: bride and bridesmaids getting hair and makeup, groom and groomsmen nervously helping with cuff links and pinning boutonnieres, and the bride getting into her dress.  This wonderfully traditional and emotion filled time often produce the most favorite photos of the day.



Individual Portraits

  • Time Allotment:  20-30 Minutes
  • Time of Day:  After Preparations
  • Location:  Bridal Suite, Venue Lobby, Venue Garden
  • Tip:  Just after prep is finished is the best time for individual portraits of the bride and groom. While makeup and hair is fresh and a bride is beaming seeing herself all ready for her day, is the perfect time to take advantage of natural light streaming in from a window.  If the bride and groom aren’t seeing each other before the ceremony, this is also a good time to get photos of the bridal party and groomsmen before they’re all together.


First Look

  • Time Allotment:  20-30 Minutes
  • Time of Day:  Prior to Ceremony
  • Location:  Second Location or Ceremony Location
  • Tip:  The first time a bride and groom see each other on their wedding day can be an emotional moment and many couples choose to have that time prior to the ceremony, without the eyes of all their guests on them.  This can be a wonderful time to breath in the moment, shut out all of stress of guests and timelines and just be together.   This is also a perfect opportunity to get some photos of just the two of you in case things run late as the day progresses as well as photos of the bridal party.  Many couple choose to do a first look in order to get all of their group and family photos finished before the ceremony, especially those who would rather be at their cocktail hour than using that time for photography.



Wedding Party Photos

  • Time Allotment:  45 Minutes
  • Time of Day:  After First Look or After Ceremony
  • Location:  First Look Location, Ceremony location, or Venue Garden
  • Tip:  Wedding party photos can vary greatly from wedding to wedding.  Some couples like natural, friendly group shots, while some love to bring the party, with creative fun loaded with props and goofiness.   We love to include a shot of  the bride/groom with each of their bridal party members.  These shots are always best done outside while there’s still plenty of light.



Family “Formals”

  • Time Allotment:  45 Minutes
  • Time of Day:  After First Look or Following Ceremony
  • Location:   First Look location, Ceremony Location or Venue Garden
  • Tip:  Depending on the size of your families, and the importance to you of extended family formals, some couple choose to make lists of group formals wanted to ensure no one is missed, and some choose to just kind of “wing it”.  Whichever option is more you, it is always helpful to have a family member from each side as a helper, to round everyone up and make sure everyone important is included.



Ceremony and Venue Details

  • Time Allotment:  20-30 Minutes
  • Time of Day:  Immediately Prior to Ceremony
  • Location:   Ceremony Location
  • Tip:  Prior to the actual ceremony, this is the time we get photos of the venue as guests arrive.  With all the hustle and bustle of the day, the bride will most likely never get to see her ceremony venue and all of it’s wonderful details.  This is the chance for us not only to get those establishing shots, but also the anticipation as family and friends greet each other for the first time that day.


Photo Walk

  • Time Allotment:  1 Hour
  • Time of Day:  30 to 45 Minutes before Sunset
  • Location:   Second Location or Venue
  • Tip:  If you’ve done a first look and bridal party photos you will most likely not need a full hour and will have plenty of time to enjoy your cocktail hour.  If you’ve selected your venue for it’s beautiful skylines, beach or a boardwalk, this is the time to take advantage of those sweet, romantic shots that will last a lifetime.  At times we will usher you into the perfect light for a beautiful pose, and sometimes we will hang back with a long lens and allow you to just “be”.

If you haven’t done a first look, this time will be divided between family formals, wedding party and then a photo walk with just the bride and groom.  So make sure you leave plenty of time!



Reception Details and Cocktail Hour

  • Time Allotment:  30-40 Minutes
  • Time of Day:  Cocktail Hour
  • Location:   Venue
  • Tip:  During cocktail hour is the perfect time for us to get all those reception details, including centerpieces, gift tables, cake and any other homemade or important elements in the room, as well as getting our lighting set up for the evening’s events. Some couple love a few romantic shots of just the two of them in room before their guests are allowed in.

Reception Sneak Out

  • Time Allotment:  10-20 Minutes
  • Time of Day:  After Dark
  • Location:   Outside of Venue
  • Tip:  The reception sneak out is quite possibly our favorite part of the evening and quickly becoming a BWR signature.  After everyone has eaten and the dance floor has opened up, we find an interesting area and set up our lights for a few dramatic night portraits.  Depending on location and weather, this could be outdoors or even just a dark, romantic nook somewhere in the building.  We understand how important it is to you to get back to your guests, so we get you in and out in just a few minutes for a beautiful, romantic ending to your day of wedding photography!


Ideal Timeline for Wedding Photography

written by Lori Foxworth


All photos by Lori Foxworth and Paul Cofield of

Black, White and Raw Photography