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This post is part of the series, The Ultimate Guide To Being A Wedding Photographer — advice for running a successful wedding photography biz. Click here to view a list of all the posts in this series.
Today I’m sharing one of my biggest secrets when it comes to wedding photography — the Timeline.
As a wedding photographer, the timeline can make or break you. And the biggest mistake I see other photographers making, is leaving the timeline up to your clients.
Like I said… big mistake.
In yesterday’s post about engagement sessions, I mentioned how YOU the photographer need to be in charge and maintain control of timing. Your clients are just that… clients. They need your professional direction and guidance to get the best photos possible.
And I’m going to tell you how to accomplish that.
When I was a full time wedding photographer, I included a planning meeting in all of my clients’ experiences. We would meet for coffee (or via skype) 4-6 weeks before the big day. I’m going to go into more detail about the planning meeting in another post, but one important thing we took care of was creating the wedding timeline.
One of the first questions to ask, before designing the timeline, is whether or not your clients want a first look. I’m a huge fan of first looks — you just get better photos that way. But not everyone wants to do it. So, because it will drastically change the timeline, you need to know if this wedding is with or without a first look.
Today I’m going to share a sample timeline for a wedding WITH a first look.
12:30 pm | Photographers Arrive | Bride Getting Ready | Detail Shots
1:15 pm | Bride Getting Into Dress
1:30 pm | First Look
1:45 pm | Bride & Groom Portraits
2:15 pm | Wedding Party Photos
3:00 pm | Family Portraits
3:30 pm | Quiet Time Pre-Ceremony
4:00 pm | Ceremony Begins
4:30 pm | Newlywed Portraits
6:00 pm | Reception Entrance
6:15 pm | Dinner
8:30 pm | Photographers Leave
You can adjust this timeline according to the number of hours your client books (**hint, hint: for less time, knock down your reception coverage, you’ll lose some photos of guests dancing… and nobody seems to miss those…). You will also want to adjust for sunset portraits — if possible!
Tomorrow I’m actually taking a break from this series to share an important guest post for getting your website legal and ready for the GDPR. But I’ll be back the next day to share part 2 — a wedding timeline without the first look!