For brides, photography tips

January 24, 2018

How Much Time Do You Need for Wedding Pictures?

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One of the most common questions I get asked is “How much time do I need for wedding pictures?” Maybe you’re just getting started with wedding photography and wondering how long you’ll need for portraits. Maybe you’re a bride trying to plan your wedding day timeline. Here are my suggestions for portrait time for a wedding day as well as some other considerations when planning a timeline.

  • First look and bride and groom portraits: 30-45 minutes
  • Bridal party portraits: 30-60 minutes
  • Family portraits: 30-45 minutes


First look and bride and groom portraits: 30 – 45 minutes

In my opinion, these are the most important pictures of the day! If you choose to do a first look, you’ll want a few minutes to enjoy the moment with just the two of you. I usually recommend that you move right into the bride and groom portraits after the first look. Pictures of the bride and groom are always my favorites from the day! Another idea for bride and groom pictures is to set aside 15-20 minutes during the reception to sneak away for some sunset pictures. This idea works best in summer because the sun sets so late. This is the perfect time of day for pictures and you won’t regret spending a few extra minutes for some beautiful shots of just the bride and groom!



Bridal party portraits: 30 – 60 minutes

These pictures are always so much fun! One of the best parts of your wedding day is spending the day with your closest friends! I recommend planning to take these pictures directly after the bride and groom pictures. During the bridal party portraits I always make sure to get entire group shots, the groom and groomsmen, the bride and bridesmaids, and if possible, individual shots of the bride with each bridesmaid and the groom with each groomsmen. To help these pictures get started more quickly, make sure the groomsmen come with their boutonnieres on and the bridesmaids make sure to grab their bouquets.

As a general rule, allow more time for larger bridal parties and less time for smaller bridal parties. If you have more than 6 bridesmaids and 6 groomsmen, I recommend AT LEAST 45 minutes for the bridal party pictures.



Family portraits: 30 minutes

I always enjoy meeting my couple’s families on the wedding day. These pictures are always so important! I recommend doing these pictures right before or right after the ceremony. I always send my couples a questionnaire a month before the wedding where they can list out the different combinations for family portraits. It’s often difficult to round up family members, arrange them all, and get a shot with everyone smiling at the camera. Working off a list definitely helps keep things organized!

As a general rule, allow for 1 minute for each different family portrait combination. If possible, it’s best to limit the family portrait time to immediate family. If you include extended family, just remember that larger groups take longer. As with the bridal party, if you have multiple group shots with over 15 people, I’d recommend more time for family pictures. So if you plan on including extended family just allow a little more time!


other considerations when planning a wedding day timeline:

Make sure to account for travel time when planning your timeline. If you have to drive to a park or another location for pictures, plan who will be driving and riding with who ahead of time. This will save time on the wedding day. Another consideration is your expectations for your photography. More portrait time means more variety with backgrounds and posing. It also allows for more creativity. If you are taking your pictures at a venue that has a lot of beautiful settings and you want to take advantage of all of the different background options for pictures, give you photographer more time. If you mainly want to have the basics covered and don’t have many background options, allow for slightly less time. As a photographer, I’m always happier with more time because it allows me to be more creative and acts as a cushion incase anything else gets off schedule.

I hope these tips were helpful for planning how long you’ll need for pictures on a wedding day!