As creatures of habit, we develop very accurate internal clocks for the things we do every day. Whether it's your commute, how long to cook your favorite recipe, or how much extra time to allot when your friend tells you they're “almost ready”.
Your daily commute: 20 minutes
Your favorite pastime: 4 hours
Your creative hobby: 45 minutes
With such repetition, you can see how it's easy to estimate time for different activities when you've had lots of practice.
Many of us have very little experience planning a wedding, so we have to rely on our vendors to tell us how long their service will take. Your hair and makeup stylist may ask for a head count and a few simple questions. For the DJ, their schedule is going to revolve around how much time you've rented the venue.
When it comes to photography, however, there are so many variables to consider.
They are more complex than this, but in a nutshell, it all boils down to three main things:
No worries. A professional photographer should be willing to help you write your schedule, or willing to discuss it with your wedding planner. But if you want some general guidelines, here is what I suggest:
FIRST - Start with the one "set" time you know will not change. If your officiant has set the ceremony time, use that. If you're basing the entire schedule around something like a sunset, do a quick search to determine what that time is.
SECOND - Work backwards from your "set" time to determine when you need to start. Use the answers to the questions above to help you determine where more or less time is needed. If you're unsure, always assume you've calculated short and buffer in extra time.
THIRD - Go back to your set time, and work forward through the rest of the day to determine what time you'll be done. Again, keep in mind where you might need to be extra generous to avoid the stress of rushing.
And if that wasn't enough, I want to leave you with one more helpful tool. Use it to get a rough estimate of how much photography coverage you will need, based on the parts of the day that you know you definitely want covered.
|Details (shoes, dress, flowers, etc)||30 min||Photo with each bridesmaid||3 min/ea|
|Girls / Bride getting ready||30 min||Photo with each groomsman||2 min/ea|
|Guys / Groom getting ready||15 min||Posed group images||10-15 min|
|Moving between rooms (same location)||5 min||Fun & playful group images||15-30 min|
|Moving between locations||15-30 min||CEREMONY|
|Portraits of bride alone||15 min||Walking to ceremony (same location)||5-10 min|
|Portraits of groom alone||10 min||Getting bride only to/from car||5 min|
|BRIDE AND GROOM||Getting entire bridal party to/from car||10-15 min|
|Moving into "first look" position||10-15 min||Driving to ceremony location||15-30 min|
|First look moment||5-10 min||Lining up for processional||10 min|
|Posed / traditional images||20-30 min||Processional||5 min|
|Fun & candid-style images||30-60 min||Ceremony & Recessional||15-75 min|
|Loading/unloading into vehicle||5 min/stop||Post-ceremony congratulatory moments||5 min|
|Driving to next location||5-15 min||RECEPTION|
|Walking to each shooting spot||2-5 min||Grand entrances||15 min|
|Photos during each location stop||20-30 min||Special dances & toasts||30-45 min|
|Returning to ceremony venue||10 min||Scenery and decor photos||15-30 min|
|FORMAL / GROUP PORTRAITS||Bouquet/garter/other traditions||30-45 min|
|Gathering family for portraits||10 min||Wedding rings and other creative photos||30 min|
|Posing and shooting small group||3 min/group||Sneaking B&G away for sunset photos||20 min|
|Posing and shooting large group||6 min/group||Cake cutting||10 min|
|Buffer time if "sideline shooters" distract groups||10 min||Mingling and miscellaneous candids||45-60 min|
|Buffer time for missing guests||10 min||Dancing and miscellaneous revelry||60-75 min|
Keep in mind that these estimates are very general, and won't fit every wedding, but it's a starting point that I hope you'll find helpful.
Good luck in your wedding planning, and of course if I can assist in any way, please don't hesitate to CONTACT US.