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How long to allow for photos

Customers often ask me how much time to allow for photos, so I wanted to give you a bit of a guide. By the way, do also check out my advice on making a group photos list here.

Here’s the simple answer: plan to go in to dinner about an hour and a half after the end of the ceremony (plus travel time). This time is not all for photos but it means you can chat, have drinks and still get the shots without feeling rushed. If you’re working with a professional coordinator, they’ve probably suggested this anyway. For more detail, read on.

It’s hard to say exactly how long we need for photos because it depends on things like whether everyone’s arrived, how cooperative they’re feeling and how much space we’ve got. And while I can give you an idea of time, we won’t know exactly which time during the drinks hour we’ll use. Don’t plan it down to the minute because it just won’t work out like that. What we’ll do is let you mingle for a bit, then when you’re ready we’ll say ok let’s go, and get part of the list done.

For the big groups (everyone, extended families, friends) I’d estimate about 10 minutes total. For small groups it can be as little as 2 minutes each. But this depends on people being available and ready. If some of them have got lost, checked in to their rooms or gone for a walk it’s anyone’s guess. So to help the photos go smoothly I’d recommend briefing your VIPs in advance.

Let your bridal party know they’ll be needed at a certain point for photos. When the time comes they should stay near and be ready to step in and out. Mums want me to get everyone else ready first and come back for them. Dads wander off after every single photo. If we do it like that it will take all day! I’ll be as efficient as possible and we’ll let each of them off as they’re done. Do think about this if people have jobs to do during the reception like moving flowers or setting up.

For just the two of you I’d say we can get something done in 5 minutes if we have to. 10-15 minutes is great. 20 is a luxury, but I don’t want to keep you from your guests that long. It can also be nice to get back out again later on for some sunset or night time shots if you can.

Allow time for group photographs

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