Photographer Rob Jinks

Your Wedding Photography Timeline

By Rob Jinks

There is nothing better than looking back on photos full of stories, emotion, and memories from your wedding day. However, without a proper understanding of how photography interacts with your wedding timeline, you risk running behind in your schedule, leaving your guests unattended, and missing out on the photos you want most. Today I want to give you tips for planning your wedding timeline in a way that will maximize your photography and help get you the images you want most.

Plan more time than you think you need.

Many weddings have some aspect of their day take longer than expected. Plan extra time in your schedule and know that things might take a little longer than you thought. Plan extra time for travel, for hair and makeup, for extra portraits with the best light of the day. Give yourself buffers throughout the day to help you relax and not feel pressured.

I also suggest that my clients be done with any official photos 30-45 minutes before the ceremony. Downtime is important, your wedding isn’t all about photography and you need time to rest, enjoy the day, and be with your friends and family.

To first look or not?

An important question to ask is, should I have a first look or should we see each other for the first time at the ceremony? While I love the tradition of not seeing each other until the ceremony, there can be some big benefits to a first look. Seeing each other before allows you to capture images with each other, your bridal party, and family before the guests arrive, giving you more time to spend with your guests at cocktail hour. Just make sure you aren’t missing out on…

The best light of the day.

If your summer wedding is at 5:00 p. m., that means a first look would have to take place roughly between 2:00 and 3:00 p. m. Afternoon summer sun is high in the sky, casting deep shadows under the eyes and overall giving you unflattering light. Good photographers can work in any lighting condition to give you amazing images, but it can be helpful to plan some of your photography to happen during the best light of the day. Check when sunset will be on your wedding and try to schedule time during the hour or two before sunset, when the light is at a lower angle, to
capture portraits together.

If your photographer is up for it, leave a few minutes to capture a night portrait during the reception. Taking a few minutes to capture photos with starts or city lights can give you very unique images and will give you a few moments rest before going back to the party.

Coordinate with all vendors.

If you don’t have a wedding planner, simply send out a timeline to all of your vendors to get everyone on the same page. I typically send out my schedule to all the vendors after talking with my clients two to three months before the big day. My biggest priorities are to talk with your hair and makeup artist to confirm when you need to be ready for photos, and with the DJ or band to understand the flow of the reception.

Let it all go.

Know that no matter how much you plan, not everything will go exactly how you thought, and that is ok! Find someone else who can push the day forward, don’t try to be the coordinator. Forget about the details and let it happen. Soak in every moment and focus on being present with your friends, family, and your spouse-to-be!

I hope this helps you get started on your wedding day timeline! Should you have any further questions feel free to reach out to me via at or on Instagram at @robjinksphoto, or visit I am here to help!

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