What Does A Wedding Photographer Do?

what does a wedding photographer do

Ok, so you may be wondering how do I work on the big day. Here’s an informative post on ‘what does a wedding photographer do?’ if you purchase the full day wedding photography package.

Lets say that you start your bridal preparations at 1000, you then have your ceremony at 1400 and are seated for your meal at 1800 with your evening guests arriving at 2000. Pretty much that’s the main times that you as the bride or groom really think about from your perspective.

Think Like Your Photographer

So straight away we have a little problem. As I said, those times above are what most couples will concern themselves with on their big day, however.

To ensure your wedding day goes as smoothly as possible and as the photographer, we need more information.

This is why we give you access to our Time Planner document to complete at your leisure and then we confirm everything in our face to face or video call to ensure that those times are correct.

Really, even before your wedding day we start. Preparation is key for us.

Bridal Preparations

Bridal Prep Details of The Wedding Dress

So, the bride and her entourage have stayed the previous night at a local hotel, air b and b or the likes. The hairdresser and makeup artists arrived around 1000 to start getting everyone looking good, then we turn up at 1100.

From here we start pretty slowly and photograph the details, i.e. the dress, the shoes, veil, jewellery etc etc.

When done with those we then start to photograph the bridal party getting prepared.

Bridal Prep at Ardkinglas House, Argyll

This is when the Time Planner starts to come into effect. We will have reached out to your other suppliers and communicated with them regarding their times, especially if the bride is wanting team photo’s with her bridal team at this stage.

We cannot stress enough the importance of time keeping, it has happened so many times in the past that at the last minute someone else asks to have their hair or make-up done and this has a huge knock on effect.

Groom Preparations

Groom Preparation

Yes, if the groom is nearby or willing to get ready earlier then we capture the groom preparations also and go between the two. This will be discussed at initial contact.

This tends to be a lot less stressful as there usually not as many people around and in general the men are a bit more chilled out on the day.

This gives a good chance to get some detail shots of the rings at this stage before they go on the fingers.

Ring Details

From the preparations we start to make our way to the ceremony. At this point it depends on where the preparations are being done and where the ceremony is, let’s say they are separate locations.

When we shoot at venues that are an all in one solution, this makes things so much easier for us, as it only takes a few minutes to get from one place to the other.

However, when there are multi venues involved then travel time needs to be considered, again, our time planner will account for this. Time is critical.

The time is now 1315, it takes us 15 minutes to get to your ceremony venue, we leave at 1320.

car moving fast
Image courtesy of : Marc-Olivier Jodoin


We arrive at approximately 1335, we meet with the minister or celebrant to discuss what we can do in terms of movement and photography.

It’s now 1345. We get our gear setup, and get some images of the groom and groomsmen.

We spend about 5 minutes with the groom, our second shooter will be looking for a location to get images from a different angle and the best position to be in for their images.

We will take photo’s of the guests in the ceremony venue and arriving.

1355 – The main photographer will start to get ready for the bride’s arrival.

what does a wedding photographer do?

1400 – Ceremony…I know, the bride will be late lol but let’s just pretend. At this stage I go into hyperdrive. I am photographing everything at this stage, catching the full spectrum of emotions, I am darting from place to another, getting up high or down low, looking for different perspectives, constantly looking.

The second photographer will be very active also, capturing images from a different angle.

Ceremony is now done and we move onto signing the register

Signing the Register

bride and groom signing the register

Pretty straight forward here. I will have already talked with the minister / celebrant to discuss how they like the signing of the register to go. Some don’t mind me pausing the happy couple during the signing to get photo’s, others want me to wait until after then we re-enact the signing.

Leaving the Church / Venue

Again, we let this run naturally.

Group Shots

Let’s say it is now 1445. At initial contact we share with the couple another document that allows them to sort out their group photo’s.

We will call the groups according to this list.

For the sake of our hypothetical wedding, there are 10 group shots to be taken. Each group will take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes to sort out.

We have taken 15 minutes to get the groups done.

large wedding group photo

It is now 1500.

PAUSE – At the early stages of contact and the face to face or video call we will have discussed when and where the couple want to go for their private shoot. Our full day package offers two sessions. Not all couples want the two but we do recommend it. Our bride and groom want the two and their venue is a 10 minute drive away. We recommended that they do this shoot straight after the group shots due to the weather and light conditions. Sometimes on the day this can be moved or even merged with the second shoot.

Private Shoot 1

We arrive at the venue chosen by the couple at 1520. From here we capture some stunning images of them at a venue that meant a lot to them, this lasted 30 minutes.

Reception Venue

We head back to the reception venue, which is in a different location from the ceremony and we arrive back at 1600

We photograph the happy couple making their entrance to the reception venue, time is now 1615.

wedding reception venue

From here we are photographing guests congratulating the bride and groom.

1635 – Cutting the Cake

1650 and it is decided to do the speeches at 1700.


wedding speeches

Speeches last about 45 minutes. We go into hyperdrive again here as we are buzzing about capturing everyone’s emotions and reactions.


1800 – We take a well earned break, possibly change my shirt as I will have been sweating like mad and stink by now lol. We actually like to get away from it all until after the meal and go sit in our car or in a separate room.

Pre Reception

1930 – This is usually the time other guests ask for images or the bride and groom ask for photo’s with other guests.


2000 – Evening guests start to arrive – We capture images of their arrival and congratulating the bride and groom.

First Dance

first dance

2100 – Hyperdrive again. We are buzzing about getting as many images as we can during this short window.

2110 – Possible second dance aka Bride and Father of the Bride, Groom and Groom’s mother etc.

2120 – 2300 We capture the evening party, guests, band / DJ etc

Second Private Shoot

wedding couple private shoot

This shoot is very dependant on sunset time and weather. We like to get this shoot done at a time when we can get the beautiful colours of sunset, or it may be a night shoot under the milky way or stars. It could also be something that I have noticed and thought, I can get a wow image there.

End of Shift

2300 – we start to pack up. Guests see us pack up and ask for a photo!

2330 – We congratulate the bride and groom, wish them the best for the future and then head home

Next Day

We back up all our cards to our back up hard drive.

Sometimes this is all we do the next day as we are usually pretty drained. We don’t like to edit the photo’s when we are bot mentally sharp.

Post Editing

The Cull – The way we edit we usually do two or three culls to keep only the images we deem good enough for editing. This is pretty time consuming as on the second or third run we are looking at the finer details, position of the eyes, nose etc. Usually takes a day. Day 1

photo editing

Editing – This can take 2 or 3 days, sometimes we take a day off from editing as we can get brain fog staring at the screen all day. Days 2,3 or 4.

All images edited – Another backup is done. 1 hour. Day 4

Images uploaded to the online gallery. Usually takes 2 hours minimum to upload and get the web page ready. Day 5.

Bride and Groom choose their images for the printed album. Day 6.

Images uploaded to printed album provider and inserted into the selected album. This can take anywhere from 2 – 4 hours. Day 6 or 7

Printed album takes 5 days minimum to produce, USB Stick and printed album delivered to the newly weds.


So, there you have it. This should pretty much answer the question ‘what does a wedding photographer do?’

It is a long process for the wedding photographer, at Argyll Wedding Photography we like to get the ball rolling as early as we can. This allows for us to get a full understanding of everything and also allows for any changes to the big days plans at the last minute, it happens…a lot and we are extremely versatile and adaptable, however if we can plan for it this just makes it so much easier for everyone.

We can’t emphasise it enough but time keeping is critical which is why we are keen to get the time planner complete as soon as possible and confirm everything with the bride and groom before the big day.


Fast car image courtesy of Mar Olivier Jodoin

Author: James Collett

Natural, Unobtrusive and Documentary Wedding Photographer who likes to shoot in a relaxed and light hearted atmosphere with over 10 years experience in Wedding Photography. I learned photography whilst serving in the Armed Forces and continued photography in the landscape genre winning a few awards along the way before moving into Wedding Photography.