The Ultimate Guide to a Photography-Friendly Wedding Day
You’ve seen it. Uncle Jim standing in the middle of the aisle with his iPad — causing an absolute SCENE. Oh no – we do not want this. We want a photography-friendly wedding day.
Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime experience — we want to create gorgeous images that will be in your family for generations. These heirloom products are not going to be what you were dreaming up if Uncle Jim is holding up his iPad in every photo.
Consider an Unplugged Ceremony
An unplugged ceremony is one where you encourage your guests to TURN OFF their cell phones, and avoid taking pictures of the ceremony. This is HUGE!!
An unplugged ceremony avoids the dreaded iPad debacle, and guests holding up their phones to take pictures. It also avoids those pictures where someone is glued to their phone the entire ceremony — it allows you and your guests to focus on the moment, while I capture everything beautifully.
There are tons of unplugged signs that you can find online, and this has become a VERY common practice at weddings, so you’re definitely not the first! Guests will completely understand!
Include this in your signage, in your invitations to guests, and in your program for the ceremony.
Make Sure You Have Enough Coverage
I offer wedding packages from 6-12 hours, as each wedding is different. Most of my wedding couples book 8-10 hours as standard.
However, what you do NOT want to do, is book a smaller 6 hour package when you really need a 12 hour package. This is a surefire way to guarantee disappointment. 8-10 hours typically covers getting ready through dancing.
Here’s a sample 8-hour wedding timeline:
2:30-3: Bridal details
3-3:30 Bridal prep
3:30-4 Groom getting ready
4-4:15 First look (I recommend ALL couples consider a first look!! Find out why here!)
4:15-4:45 Couple portraits
4:45-5:15 Bridal party portraits
5:15-6 Couple in hiding
5:30-5:50 Reception details
6:40-7:10 Family portraits
7:15-7:30 “just married” golden hour portraits!! (MY FAV!!)
Bonus tip — your couple portraits should alway occur during Golden Hour, the hour of prior to sunset.
7:30 Reception begins! Dinner/Toasts/Cake/Dancing
Approximate shooting times:
Details and prep: 90 mins
First look & couple portraits: 30-40 mins
Bridal party: 30-40 mins
Family formals: 30 mins
Extra portrait time: As much as you’ll give me!!
STRONGLY CONSIDER A First Look!!
A first look is a private moment where the couple sees each other before the wedding ceremony. Typically, this only involves the couple and the photo & video team. It usually lasts between 15-30 minutes.
I ALWAYS RECOMMEND MY COUPLES DO A FIRST LOOK.
Why? By doing a first look, you unlock a lot of benefits for your timeline.
It provides an opportunity for couple portraits prior to the ceremony.
This is ideal because oftentimes, couple portraits happen during cocktail hour. If we are able to get portraits done before the ceremony, we can get you to your cocktail hour faster, so you can get back to enjoying your wedding! This is especially helpful during winter weddings where it gets dark super early!
It gives you an intimate moment together. Your wedding day can be stressful — sharing an intimate moment together can be really centering. This is a time where you can share an intimate moment in PRIVATE — away from your family and guests.
You actually get to enjoy your cocktail hour. By doing a first look, we can get the bridal party and family photos done PRIOR to the ceremony, so that I only have to steal you away for ~20 minutes to do couple photos during sunset, instead of taking bridal party/family formals/couple portraits ALL during your cocktail hour. HUGE WIN.
Pro tip: A first look is especially helpful in Seattle. Why? THE RAIN. If we do a first look + couple photos early in the day, we have flexibility later in the day when it comes to couple portraits. If it’s raining after the ceremony, we can feel it out and go take portraits during a break in the rain.
Read more about why you should add a first look here!
Gather Details Before I Arrive
Before I arrive, make sure to gather the details that you want photographed! Here is a reminder of the details that I photograph at every wedding: dress, veil, rings, shoes, bouquet, earrings, full invitation suite. If there are any other special details, just let me know! For grooms, I like to photograph the details as well! This typically includes the shoes, tie, watch, cufflinks, boutonnière, cologne, rings, and anything else that’s special to you!
Brides: Consider a Long Veil!
If you’re looking for those gorgeous, swoopy veil shots, these can only be done with a long veil! A short veil can be a really pretty option, but the longer the better for photography!
Bring Things to Toss!
This is especially important during a grand exit — bringing items to toss adds a layer of dimension to your photos! Rice, bubbles, confetti, flower petals, etc. These are all excellent options!
Follow these tips to help guarantee a photography-friendly wedding day!!