Every time I am hired to shoot a wedding, I will create a timeline for the big day. As the photographer I have learned through trial and error how difficult it can be to think and change gears when things go wrong if I never had a plan A to begin with!
You might think having a timeline hinders spontaneity, however I would argue that having a clear plan frees my mind up so that I am able to focus on creativity instead of, “when are we going to get the family group shots that the bride vaguely mentioned she might want?” Knowing the full picture of what I will be doing at each stage of the wedding day helps me in making sure I have a well rounded photographic representation of the wedding day.
So where do you begin to create a time line?
I like to sit down with the bride and groom and ask them for a complete “bridal party list” citing everyones name and relationship to the couple. Next I ask questions such as, “Will you want a shot of the bride with every girl individually, with the bride, and all together, or will you want me to focus on group shots of the girls?” The reason for this is to get the bride to start thinking about how much time she will need based on how she answers the question. I also find out if she even wants these kind of shots at all. Sometimes she only wants candid shots.
The same thing is done for the grooms side. Next we figure out when and where everyone should be ready so that the photographs we decided upon can be taken. Many things are taken into consideration at this stage such as whether or not the bride and groom plan to see each other before the ceremony for photography. Timelines are especially crucial for those who do not want to see each other prior to the wedding.
After taking care of bridal party needs, we then talk about the family portraits. I get a list of the bride’s family and the groom’s family citing everyone pertinent to the photography including first names and relationship to the couple.
Finally, I ask for a list of every family shot they would like to have. Most of the time we do that part together.
All of these lists are used to create my timeline. I have found it best to include every single shots required in the timeline so that everything we discussed is compiled in that one document.
My timeline is my anchor. I have many happy brides in my portfolio because of our timelines.
Another benefit not to be overlooked is the time I spend with the bride and groom. We bond and get comfortable with each other. Thus, she feels more free to tell me what she does and does not want, and I feel comfortable enough to tell her that some things are not possible or maybe should be done a different way.
Timelines are wonderful too because everyone’s phone numbers are in the document, as well as addresses and directions to facilities.
This document is sent to the couple and they forward it to everyone they want to have in the photographs.
All of this planning is well worth it. Trust me.
About the Author:
Adeline Dickman, AA Imaging Lexington KY
Holding a BA in Fine-Art photography, I specialize in wedding and bridal photography influenced by the fine arts. With a unique blend of photojournalism and fashion photography, I take great pride in every single wedding I photograph.