ADVICE: Wedding day scheduling tips.

  • Padding the schedule (a lot) will help you feel less rushed and make your day more enjoyable.
  • Group portraits take time. Click here for more info on this. Plan on 60-80 minutes - just for the standard family and wedding party photos.
  • Daylight for group photos is VERY important. After sunset (varies depending on time of year, but it's early in late fall/winter) it will be dark - please schedule your day so we can take advantage of daylight (outside, from windows, etc.) - for portraits.
  • Schedule time just before sunset for a few extra portraits of you two. This will give you a few minutes away together, and the photos will be gorgeous.

On the fence about whether to see each other before the ceremony? Here are a couple reasons you might want to:

  • You will have more flexibility in your timeline - and photos tend to take less time, because there are fewer distractions (no pulling people from post-ceremony greetings or cocktail hour).
  • Everyone's hair, makeup and attire will all be fresh.
  • You can spend some intimate moments with your partner before all the festivities. This tends to help you both relax and enjoy yourselves more.
  • By getting group photos out of the way, you and families are free to enjoy the event without interruption - and you can go to cocktail hour!

“first look” sample photo schedule

  • Getting ready (1-2hrs)
  • First look + couples portraits (30mins)
  • Group (family + wedding party) photos (60mins)
  • Ceremony
  • Couple joins cocktail hour, greets guests (30-45mins)
  • Photographer shoots cocktail hour + details (30mins)
  • Guests seated for reception
  • Introduction, first dance, speeches, parent dances, cake cutting, dancing
  • Sunset photos with couple (15mins)

“no first look” sample photo schedule

  • Getting ready (1-2hrs)
  • Ceremony (Note: If you are having a fall/winter wedding, please schedule your ceremony so you have enough time to do both group photos and couple's portraits before sunset.)
  • Group (family + wedding party) photos (60mins)
  • Couple portraits (30 mins) during cocktails or at sunset
  • Guests seated for reception
  • Introduction, first dance, speeches, parent dances, cake cutting, dancing

Q. Why is it best to do group photos all at one time?

A. The thing that takes the most time with portraits is gathering everyone together. If we have to gather groups twice instead of once, it cuts into the schedule and takes time away from you enjoying your wedding. This means if you do a first look, we can do group portraits before the ceremony.  If you prefer not to see each other prior, we'll do group portraits immediately after the ceremony, before your couples portraits. More questions about group portraits? Click here.

Q. Do you need a comprehensive list of all the shots we want?

Nope - and you don't want one either! That said, about 3-4 months before your date, I will send you a questionnaire that covers all the things, including 1) your group portraits list, 2) sensitive family dynamics, and 3) sentimental items or unique elements that you are incorporating. Concerned I'll miss something? Read this post.


Done well, group photos require more light that most people realize. If it is daytime, there will be plenty of light for great group photos - the sun is a true force of nature. And even if there is bad weather, if it’s daytime during group shots, I will choose a space inside that has a good source of natural light.

But if the sun has set (or is setting) prior to group photos, here are some important things to know:

  1. They will be done with artificial light (flash, etc) - ideally inside.
  2. They will take longer than usual due to us having to set up lighting, test it, and then shoot enough photos to ensure we get at least a few shots without blinks.
  3. You will have a smaller selection of each grouping due to us not wanting everyone to stand longer than necessary for each photo.

Group photos can absolutely be done inside and after dark, but since people generally hire me for my natural light photography, I like to make sure my couples are informed about the technical reality before they solidify their schedule for the day.  Click here to find the sunset time on your wedding day