How much time should we allow for portraits? | Tips for Brides

There are so many resources out on the web today with helpful tips and timelines and checklists.  But no one ever admits that these brides are usually first time brides!  As a bride, it's tough to start the planning process let alone create an entire itinerary for a 16 hour day.  Yes, you read that right, 16 hours!  It's a long day and most people don't realize that it goes in flash and so many beautiful moments happen in the blink of an eye.  

This is probably the most asked question I get during a client meeting.  

The answer: at least two hours.  

Sounds like a big chunk of time out of your day?  Keep reading to see why you need those two hours on your wedding day.


During your day anything can happen.  Anything from arriving late to not having your makeup and hair done at the set time.  Or maybe you simply needed to eat breakfast, shifting the timeline back 30 minutes.  In which case, I'm completely all for it.  I rather have a fed bride rather than a hungry bride and 30 minutes less to photographer her.  Anyway, as you can see, there are so many unforeseen things that can happen during the day and having those two hours in reality turns into one and half hours or *gasp* one hour.  

A real story: I once had a bride get to her portraits an hour late.  Rather than sitting around and waiting, I was able to move the itinerary around and photograph the groomsmen first and some family portraits.  This way, I was able to move that hour to after the ceremony and create some great photos for my clients.  If I didn't have a buffer, we may not have gotten so many images from the wedding.  

Having a buffer to allow for amazing photos of you and your hunny is indispensable. As photographers, having that wiggle room helps us to really take our time in framing, posing, and letting us roam the location for great light and unique spots.  If we're running behind, then I need to work quickly on my top 3-5 spots and bang out the photos and create something amazing.  And get you to the church on time!  If we're ahead of time, then I know I can experiment more and create something that's different, unique, and maybe toy around with ideas that otherwise we wouldn't have the chance.  


Your day is full to the brim.  Full of wonderful moments, family, friends, and everything inbetween.  What your day doesn't have a lot of is ALONE TIME with your hunny.  Most brides don't realize this until the day of.  Between getting ready with your girls to the infinite line of hugs after the ceremony, your day is filled with people.  And while this is the whole point of a wedding - sharing with friends and family- you have to share the day with your hunny too.  

It doesn't matter if you're doing the portraits before the ceremony or after, having this alone time is so important for the two of you because it'll be the only time you'll have truly alone.  

Seems selfish?  NO WAY!  Having your guests there to celebrate with you is important, however, being able to relish in your love together for a moment, all alone, while taking some crazy beautiful photos sets the day apart.  When you look back on those photos you'll remember being alone.  You'll remember how it felt when that photo was taken, all the excitement and love toward one another.  Photo after photo will make you want to go back to those two hours when you kissed with tender love.  Just the two of you.


Needless to say, having enough time for just the two of not only makes you feel more excited, it also lets the photographer take their time.  I love to take my time creating something unique and timeless for my clients.  To take all the love they have for each other and make it tangible through photos.  Which also allows for more photos of the two of you.  Gone are the days of your grandmother's wedding portrait - standing together holding hands facing the camera and smiling.  

Having this amount of time lets us explore, go places, experiment, and have fun!  And who doesn't want to have fun on their wedding day? 

More time = more photos.  More ways to remember and relive your wedding day over and over again.  

Now, don't worry, I usually take care of the itinerary for my clients since it's probably the last thing they want to worry about.  I make sure that everything runs smoothly and we can get the amazing photographs that my clients want.  Don't let anyone talk you into having less time for your photos.  It's important not only for alone time, but for having a buffer, and creating more great photos of the two of you!  

After all, your flowers won't last and your dress will go into storage.  What is left are your photographs making your wedding unforgettable.

Did you like these tips?  Share them with a friend or comment your tips below in the comments section, I'd love to hear your thoughts!  

Happy Saturday!