Creating a Photo Wedding Timeline

What’s the difference between a wedding day
that flows perfectly and a wedding day that’s stressed and hurried? The timeline. In today’s video, I’m going to be chatting
about how we as photographers can help coordinate the photo timeline to make the wedding day
the best experience possible. Hey, I’m Jamie, and thanks so much for being
here today. Today, I’m going to chat about how our role
as a photographer, requires us to be a bit of a coordinator, as well as a photographer
in order to provide the best experience to our clients, and therefore, to get the most
word of mouth referrals from our experience on the wedding day. By saying that we need to be a bit of a coordinator
on the wedding day, in no way do I want to devalue the amazing role that wedding planners
and day-of coordinators have in a wedding day. It’s a totally different role than us. However, there are times during the day where
the coordinator has so many details to think about, and she can’t be right beside us during
the portrait time, making sure we’re getting back on time, so we are responsible for a
certain part of the flow of the wedding day, and that’s what I’m going to chat about today. Every wedding timeline includes the same building
blocks. You have the getting ready photos, the portraits,
wedding party, and bride and groom ceremony, family photos, reception, reception detail
shots. All of those elements are the same. The only thing that changes is whether or
not the couple has a first look, and that will move the portraits to before the ceremony. It also changes if there’s some cultural traditions
or different parts of the wedding day that aren’t standard, that are inserted into different
parts of the timeline. I’m going to show you two examples of a timeline. Every single wedding day is unique. Every weekend, we’re photographing at different
venues. For some of you, even in different cities
or states or provinces or countries. Ceremonies all begin at different times. Receptions start at different times. Sometimes, brides get ready in their home,
or at a hotel, or at the venue. It’s impossible to create a one size fits
all timeline, but my hope is that by providing a few example timelines, and talking through
a few different scenarios, you’ll start to see how the pieces of the wedding timeline
come together. This first scenario is the photographer’s
dream. Meaning, all events are taking place at the
same venue, the ceremony, reception, maybe even the bride’s getting ready photos. As you can see, at 1:30, we’re starting the
getting ready photos. That leaves about a full hour of time before
we move on to the ceremony. I want to be out of that getting ready room
around 2:30 so that we can be photographing guests arriving for the ceremony and ceremony
details. After, we have family photos, which are about
a half hour in length, and then following the family photos, we have wedding party photos,
onto bride and groom photos. This again is not counting for any travel
time to a portrait location. This is simply all the photos on the venue
grounds, so I ask for about an hour and a half of photos for the wedding party and bride
and groom combined, and I order them this way so at the wedding party, we can get those
photos out of the way, and they’re free to go into the cocktail hour or whatever is going
on pre-reception, and that way, it’s just me, my second shooter, and the bride and groom
for those photos. We started small with the previous timeline,
and now I’m going to show an example of how wedding timelines can get a bit more complicated. Majority of the factors can complicate a timeline
if you will, based on the country you’re photographing in, or the cultural traditions of your clients. The timeline I showed you on the screen is
an actual timeline from one of my weddings. I live in Vancouver, and a lot of my clients
are Chinese, so I have a lot of experience photographing these weddings and the traditions
involved. There is no way that fitting in two tea ceremonies
at different venues. A ceremony and reception would fit into eight
hours of coverage. Instead, most of my coverage for Chinese couples
are 10 to 14-hour days, so my hope is that by just giving you the building blocks to
put together a timeline that you can make one that works for your clients. These aren’t necessarily for you to exactly
copy because they won’t always fit, although you’re welcome to do that if it works for
you. It’s important to keep communication open
throughout the process with your couples from the first email I get from clients, and make
sure they understand how many hours will be required on their wedding day to capture the
details that they need, and I walk them through how the wedding day timeline works, because
I have a lot of experience in wedding timelines, and they likely don’t, and that’s okay. That’s the expertise that I’m bringing. After that first meeting, or phone call, or
email, I also send a ‘Client booking magazine’, I like to call it, and that’s a simple magazine
about the process of working with me. It goes through each part of the wedding day,
from getting ready photos, to wedding party portraits for example, and lets them know
what they need to know and how long each element of the day will take. After all of this talk about wedding timelines,
why does this even matter? It matters because the more organized we can
become on the wedding day, the more we can set our couples at ease, the wedding parties
at ease, and the families at ease, and the more that causes people to think, “Wow, she’s
really good at her job and knows exactly what’s going on, and is making sure that this day
flows smoothly, it’s stress-free, and we get the photos that we needed to get.” The better you get at crafting wedding timelines
and sticking to them, the better your client experience will be, and the easier and easier
it will become to book new clients based on word of mouth referrals. If you wish you had somebody to take you by
the hand and show you more of these out of the box ways to market your photography business,
you would be a great fit for my new course, Book New Brides. Book New Brides is an eight-module video course
that leads you through how to craft the perfect client experience, how to improve your online
presence, and how to drive referral traffic to your business so you could find new clients. If you’d like to find out more, head to,
and you can enroll today, but don’t wait because enrollment is only open for about another
week or so. I hope to see you inside the course.


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