In this blog series, we’re revealing our three-step system for how to make a wedding day timeline for photography. In the first post (this one!) we’ll show you how to get your wedding photography timeline to start on the right track. In the second post, we’ll show you how to get your wedding day timeline to stay on time. In the third post, we’ll show you how to get your wedding photography timeline back on time when things get off track. In case you’re new to this How to Make a Wedding Photography Timeline series, here are links to all three posts for your convenience:
“I didn’t have enough time.”
“I didn’t know what to do.”
“I couldn’t get all the shots I needed.”
“I don’t feel like I delivered my best work.”
“I never want that to happen again.”
Has this ever happened to you?
Early in our career, it happened to us.
And like so many photographers who email us, we never wanted it to happen ever again, either. Because it felt helpless. Out of control. And scary. We were so excited to shoot the wedding, but on the big day, the timeline went awry. It was over before it even began.
From then on, we vowed: never. again.
So we developed a three-step system for making sure our wedding day timelines start on time, stay on time and give us wiggle room in case they get off track.
So instead of being the people above, we could be the people below:
“I had just the right amount of time.”
“I knew exactly what to do… and so did everyone else.”
“I got all the shots I needed, and then some.”
“I felt like I delivered the highest-quality, fullest gallery of my career.”
“I can’t wait to do that again!”
If that sounds too good to be true, it isn’t! And we can help YOU do the same.
If building a wedding day timeline was a military strategy, we’d title it Operation: Strike Fast. Strike First. Because in our experience, the person to recommend a timeline first usually gets most of what they want, because the venue coordinator, wedding planner and bride are working you, not the other way around. Earlier in our career, when we waited for someone else to make a first draft of the timeline, it wasn’t always photographer-friendly. Not because the person making the timeline didn’t care about photos. They did.
They just didn’t know (realistically)…
1. How much time we needed for each part of the day.
2. The order we needed everything to happen for a good flow.
3. How the light would affect everything from the first look to the ceremony to the sunset portaits… and more.
So when we let someone else plan the day first, we were left in the awkward position of trying to deconstruct a wedding planner’s (or bride’s) timeline, which took a lot of work… and explaining. Because once the bones of a timeline has been established, it’s harder to change it in people’s minds than it would’ve been just to suggest an alternative from the start — ESPECIALLY if the ceremony time is set in stone and invitations have already been printed!
Thus, Operation: Strike Fast. Strike First. was born. Every time we secure a wedding, instead of waiting for a wedding planner to send us a timeline or asking the bride what time she wanted her ceremony to start, we sent a custom “recommended” wedding day timeline at booking “for a smooth wedding day and the best possible light.”
And everything changed.
Since our timeline is first, ours brides and/or the planners use ours as the foundation for theirs. At most of our weddings, other than a few minor tweaks, not only do we get as much time as we need to shoot well, we also get it in the order that helps us maximize every minute.
Now we’re able to deliver our best possible work to our brides (and the creative teams!) while providing a comfortable, organized, streamlined wedding day experience for everyone involved.
It’s a win for everyone!
So, if you haven’t had enough time at your weddings, try sending a custom wedding day timeline as soon as you book your bride. Even if you don’t get everything you want, you’ll get most of what you want… and a lot more than you’d get if you waited until later in the process for someone else to go first.
In the next post in the How to Make a Wedding Photography Timeline series (click here), we’ll show you Step 2 in our three-step system for how to make a wedding timeline for the best photos. It’ll show you our trick for making sure the wedding day stays on time.
Lastly, if you need help building your wedding photography timelines, or want access to the 10 wedding day timelines we use at every wedding we shoot — and cover almost every situation, from first look to no first look to Catholic mass and more — you can get them for just $29 by clicking here! They’re guaranteed to help you create professional timelines faster than ever before, impress wedding planners with timelines they’ll love, too, and know exactly how we organize each section of the wedding day (and why) for the smoothest, most stress-free wedding days.
We’re professional photographers who help people take better photos! Join us for a free online training and we’ll show you some of our favorite photography secrets that anyone can use!
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