There are so many layers to think about when you plan your wedding day. Bringing them all together requires lots of focus on timing. If you want to make the absolute most of your wedding photography, allowing the right amount of time for photos in all parts of the day is essential.

The getting ready.

I like to arrive early to ease into the day without having to rush to get the camera out. This way I can meet everyone, chat over a coffee and everyone gets used to having me around so they can feel more at ease and your photos will look more natural. I often spend more time with the bride than I do with the groom. Hair, makeup and dresses tend to be more fiddly and time-consuming than suits.If you have opted for a second photographer then he/she will spend more time with the groom.

The Ceremony.

Be sure to factor in a few extra things when planning your ceremony. One is that you might be five or ten minutes late to start the ceremony. To save time, group and family photos are best done straight after the ceremony while all your guests are together. Family photos can be done in as quickly as 15 minutes but the key to this is preparation. Know beforehand exactly which groups you want to be photographed. Make a list and give that list to a guest who can help organise everyone. Once the formalities are out of the way everyone can relax.

The Portraits.

There’s no rulebook to plan your wedding day, just guides to help make the most of it. When it comes to portraits it’s always best to chat to your photographer to come up with a plan together. I shoot anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour and a half when capturing portraits, depending on how many locations you want to travel to.

Photography is all about capturing light, the better the light the more beautiful the images. The best time for portraits is in the ‘golden hour’, the sun is starting to set and the light becomes softer, warmer in colour and gives an incredible glow that is a photographer dream to work with. If your reception falls in this hour before sunset I recommend taking 10 minutes out of the reception right on sunset to get portraits. Sunset portraits create a stunning set of photos to add to your wedding collection.

How to plan your wedding in different seasons.

Winter weddings are always beautiful and the light in winter takes on a softer, more magical appearance. Remember to plan your wedding in winter means shorter daylight hours and an earlier sunset. Plan an earlier ceremony to leave time for your photographer to capture your portraits.

Summer weddings mean brighter sun during the middle of the day. It’s a great idea to have your ceremony later in the evening when the light isn’t so bright. Ceremonies in bright midday sun also cause people to be squinting throughout your ceremony and portraits, so the later the better.

Extra tips.

Don’t forget to consider traffic when planning your day. Be prepared and plan ahead by factoring in traffic times and any major events that might also be happening on your day that will congest traffic. The usual traffic jams can take time away from your portraits. Remember to plan your travels to try and avoid this, especially on a Friday night!

The key for how to plan your wedding is to be prepared and allow time for your photographer to create magic without being under time pressure. Remember this is all a guide and be sure to chat with your photographer to figure out a plan that is going to work best for you.