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3 Tips On Managing Time Constraints In A Wedding Photography Timeline | Ask SLR Lounge

We are excited to bring you our new series, Ask SLR Lounge, where you ask the questions and we answer them on Facebook Live. This is an open forum for you, our community, to ask us anything you want.

Our next question comes from Dmitri and he wants to know:

How do you manage wedding photography timelines and avoid time constraints on the day of?

Weddings are a balancing act between vendor schedules, wedding programs, and unforeseen complications throughout the day. It can become quite hectic, and it is our job as photographers to somehow find time in all of this hub-bub to capture every precious moment.

Watch the Facebook Live video for the answer here:

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1. Prepping Before the Wedding

Here at Lin and Jirsa we have devised a straightforward workflow to prepare for any timeline issues prior to the day of the wedding. Once the clients have booked with our company, the studio management team sends them a sample timeline showing them ideally how much time we require to get the shots we need. You can download this sample timeline located under the exercise files button on the right, simply click the small ‘cloud’ icon, then right-click the link and save to your computer.

wedding-photography-timeline

Clients will then send in a draft of their timeline for us to review and make recommendations. Using the sample timeline as a guideline, we cushion their timeline to appropriate enough time for wedding prep, family formals, and couples session. Once the timelines have been finalized, our photographers thoroughly read them over and schedule a talk-through with the clients to ensure the day will run smoothly.

2. Setting up a Timeline Talk Through

timeline-talkthrough

All talk-throughs are usually scheduled 1-2 weeks before the wedding. Our main concern will be to verify final locations and coverage times in order to avoid any possible miscommunication or last minute changes. We will go through the timeline with clients hour by hour to plan for any unforeseeable problems and address any concerns we do see. In the first course of our Wedding Workshop series,

In the first course of our Wedding Workshop series, Communication & Planning, we take you behind-the-scenes with Dane & Jessica during their wedding timeline talk-through and show you exactly how to circumvent issues in a timeline.

During the talk-through, we ask the couple what is most important to them to identify where their priorities are. That way, if we are running behind on the day of, we will know which areas to reduce from. It’s all about communication, and we make sure to let our clients and their event coordinators know that due to time constraints, changes will have to be made. Our job is to remain calm and guide the couple forward without stressing them out.

makeup-prep-wedding-photography

Based on our ideal timeline, we ask for an hour each for couple sessions, bridal party portraits, and family formals. However, we understand that, realistically, that won’t be the case. This extra time is the buffer that we plan ahead for because 90% of weddings will run late. The main time-consuming culprit is hair & makeup. Brides and wedding coordinators underestimate the amount of time wedding prep takes and therefore the entire day slowly gets pushed back. This eventually will cut into our time of capturing all those amazing detail shots (rings, jewelry, outfits, etc).

If things are running late, who do you think gets shorted for time? Photography is the one activity of the day that can be replaced or cut down – the ceremony and reception cannot shift in schedule and therefore we take the hit.

3. Make The Most of your Time on The Wedding Day

Wedding-Photography-Marriott-Dana-Point-CA

We will always location scout the day of the wedding to make the best use of our time with our couple. An extremely helpful app called Sunseeker maps out the location of the sun throughout the day allowing us to coordinate which locations will give us the best light. Based on the time changes, we will have to make adjustments according to where the sun is located.

[REWIND: 10 ESSENTIAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR A FLAWLESS SHOOT]

long-exposure-nighttime-photography

For something like the couple sessions, we will never have more that 90 minutes throughout the day, and the post-ceremony session is usually a lot shorter. We have a policy where we never pull the couple out for more than 5 minutes during their reception for a nighttime sneak away shot. We know that our clients are eager to rejoin the party, so scouting ahead and using Sunseeker allows us to prep and avoid wasting time.

nighttime-couples-photography

Tailoring expectations is the key to having a successful shoot, not only to produce consistently amazing imagery, but to ensure that your clients are satisfied from start to finish with your service. Take the extra steps in communication and planning prior to the wedding day to make sure your client’s needs are 100% fulfilled.

For more photography business tips & tricks, be sure to check out Wedding Workshop Part 1 | Communication, Planning, and Happy Clients where you’ll gain access to exclusive communication tactics, email templates, and so much more! This workshop is just one of many comprehensive education tools included in the SLR Lounge Premium Subscription membership.

2 Comments

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  1. Paul Wynn

    As photographers, making best use of available time during the hectic wedding day and delivering outstanding imagery, is probably our most difficult challenge. In my experience, on the day we become the couples de facto co-ordinator, so it is vital to have a workable timing plan.

    I always start with the important elements of the day, then build a photography plan around those in short sessions. I agree with the 5 minute policy during the reception, get things set up and have the couple for the shortist time needed. This helps to get the imagery you want and ensures the couple are still engaged with their guests, afterall they want to enjoy the party themselves.

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    • Shivani Reddy

      Well said, Paul! Often times photographers fail to put the clients needs ahead of theirs because they may want to “do anything for the shot”. If you really narrow it down, photographers and coordinators are alongside the couple throughout the day and therefore having a calming presence and sense of understanding goes a long way.

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