FAQ: How long will the Wedding Photographs take on my Wedding Day?

“How long do the photographs normally take?” This is the question I get asked the most by wedding couples (sometimes accompanied by a worried look). I always answer their question by talking about the day as a whole rather than just the photography on its own. This approach helps people to understand that for everything to run smoothly, all aspects of the day are to be considered.

For you, I have narrowed these down to the key factors that will influence timing on the day as a whole:

One: It would be the opinion of many that a 2pm ceremony time is perfect as the day is not too long for your guests. Well what about you? Your day disappears rapidly as the Priest may give a longer that expected ceremony (normally 1 hour and ceremonies rarely start on time). It takes at at least a half hour to meet your guests as they come out of the church. Depending on the distance between the church and hotel, it may take a half hour or more to get to the reception venue. We are now at 4.30pm and you still need to allow time for the bulk of the photographs. The chances of mingling with your guests are fast diminishing to make the 5.30pm meal time. Where is the whole day going (a day you spent a year planning)? Remember that your guests have taken the day off to spend with you. Do yourself some justice and plan to have your ceremony at 1pm. An extra hour WILL make a huge difference for all invloved.

Two: Be on time for your ceremony. This may be a no-brainer but it doesn’t happen enough. Ten minutes may be okay but remember you will also need to allow time for some shots with your Dad/Mum before  you walk up the aisle. Some time to compose yourself is also important. This is not going to happen if you know you are late.

Three: A major time consumer is how many family photographs you decide to have. I always recommend no more than six formal groups (less would be even better). This frequently gets stretched to many more, and brides & grooms find themselves with a pain in their jaw and wondering when they will be able to mingle with their guests. Be strict, don’t get carried away with these shots. I know they are important but by keeping it simple at least you will have the family groups you really want and a chance to enjoy some drinks with your other guests.

Four: The weather. I would consider myself to be a very efficient kind of gal. No stone is left unturned in the lead up to ensure that we (myself and my assistant) know exactly how will get great shots no matter what the situation. We have a wet day and dry day plan but there is no denying that rain can slow down proceedings. Small things like having to place towels on the ground under dress trains will add minutes . Rain can be an inconvenience and cause disappointment but my mental attitude is to be prepared for anything to happen. And remember if you have booked a good (qualified & experienced) photographer, relax knowing that she/he will produce the goods no matter what the weather.

Five: Spontaneous or formal shots. I could make this very complicated but I have decided to keep it simple. Both spontaneous and formal shots need time. Approx 95% of my couples want both spontaneous and formal shots in their wedding albums. Spontaneous shots require the Photographer to wait, wait and wait some more for a moment to happen that is worthy of photographing. It is not simply a case of being snap happy. The one trade off however is that you are amongst family and friends as opposed to going overboard on the formal side of being photographed on your own. The more formal shots you have the more it will eat into the spontaneous opportunities.

If you have found this helpful, please add a comment. You can also ask any related questions and I will do my best to help you.



  1. Interesting. I’ve never shot an Irish wedding, but I assume it’s similar to some of the weddings here in the US. One thing you might try is creating a “wedding day schedule” for your B&G. I find that creating a schedule puts everyone (including me) at ease about how much time (and subsequently, money) will be required for wedding photography. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Thank you Austin for a great idea. Is it standard for your brides & grooms to meet before the ceremony on their wedding day? I have seen this happen at some American weddings (watched online). It never happens here but I think some of the most beautiful shots are created when they first see other in this way.

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