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How Do You Build a Photography Timeline | Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer

Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer

bubble exit from church of bride and groom in Pittsburgh

How Do You Build the Photography Timeline

If you are my bride (and I hope you are), we will be building your timeline within the last 4-6 weeks prior to your wedding day.  Of course, each wedding is totally different and so this might change from time to time, but I’ve found that over the last 5 years of wedding seasons, planning the photography portion of the day works best within that last month.  I know, you might be thinking we are down to the wire, but honestly, waiting until now will save time.  I like to be efficient and like to know all of the pieces of the puzzle.  By this time, you will have likely met with your venue to discuss reception details (cake cutting, dinner), and you likely met with and chatted with your DJ about the party portion of the evening.  You also likely have your times for your hair and makeup.  Now it’s time to plan plan plan.   I’m going to make the rest of this pretty short and sweet, as I have some in detail blog posts coming your way that will touch on each part of the day.  For now, however, let’s talk about how we get that timeline started.


Your ceremony.  This is THE big moment of the day.  I mean, this IS the reason you are planning the day in the first place – am I right?!  So I take this time and then work backwards to start the timeline.  I like to put the bulk of the planning and the bulk of the photography at the beginning of the day as this is the time where you benefit the most when it comes to your photography.  I always say to my brides – would you rather have 200 additional photos of your guests dancing or 200 more photos of you and your beautiful details?  It’s kind of a no brainer there.

Working backwards, we will determine the bridal and groom prep times.  This generally will take place anywhere from 2-4 hours prior to your ceremony time.  Venue, travel, a first look, location changes, etc., all play a part in this timeframe.  I will always stop photography atleast 30 minutes prior to your ceremony.  I like my couples to have time to relax, take a breather, and enjoy the moments leading up to the ceremony.  This is a good time for me to take photos of the reception details (if everything is in the same space), guests arriving, and other candid shots of things going on.

We can now work from the beginning of the day, the ceremony, and finish up with portraits before we get the party started at the reception.  Want to talk portraits?  Well, I have a doozy of a blog post coming up on that one.  Portraits deserve an entire post of their own.

detail photos for the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel wedding.detail photos for the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel wedding.Pittsburgh bridal suite at detail photos for the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel wedding.Shoe detail detail photos for the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel wedding.


Your DJ will plan out the evening with you here.  After all, this IS their part of the day.  I’m going to get real with you here.  I’ve attended and worked quite a few weddings where the reception events get pushed back, and pushed back, and …. pushed back.  Okay, you know where I’m going with this.  Before you know it, the bride and groom isn’t having their first dance until after 9pm.  The best time for your reception events?  Right at the intro.  If your DJ and venue allows for the timing of the events, I plan for the intro, first dance, cake cutting and then you guys can sit an relax.  Toward the end of dinner, have your parent dances and any other event that you want.  Your guests will be fed, relaxed, and then you can get the party started to book-end your gallery – que the music …. got this feelin’ in my body …. Can’t stop the feelin’!   Oh come on, you know you love some Justin Timberlake.

Treesdale Country Club wedding reception detail photos.


In later posts, I’ll be breaking down the day, along with some sample timelines.  The main ingredient in my timelines is super simple …. A BUFFER.  If travel between venues is 10 minutes, I block 30 for the travel.  You never know.  Bridal prep might be super quick if you don’t have a ton of accessories to photograph … I still work atleast 60 minutes in there.  Someone might show up late, hair and makeup might run behind.  You just never know.  But with a buffer, your chances of being late are slim.  I live for being on time.  Stick with me and I’ll have you everywhere you need to be …. Early.

I hope you found this helpful!  Want to know more?  Have other questions?  Comment below or email me at and let’s chat!!

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