What is the best time for wedding portraits?
Although the 2020 wedding season is looking a little bit (or a lot) different than anticipated, couples still have many planning questions about their photography experience whether they are getting married this year or next. One of the first questions I get from a couple during our initial consult and sometimes in the planning stages is “what is the best time for our wedding portraits?”
In a perfect world, the majority of your portraits should take place about 1-2 hours prior to sundown during the golden hour. This includes wedding party photos as well. This time varies depending on the time of year you are holding your wedding, but a quick google search will give you your sundown. Now, not every wedding timeline allows for this much time as this can be smack dab in the middle of your dinner which isn’t ideal after you’ve been stuck in a tight dress for 8 hours!
If your wedding day is more traditional with an earlier afternoon ceremony, you definitely want to make sure dinner is a bit earlier for you so that you can sneak out at sunset – or at the very least – add coverage time and postpone your speeches and dance to get outside for a minimum of 15 minutes if you have an area suitable for photos near you. Upwards to an hour is great if you have a bit of lee-way timing and travel wise.
This is often a wonderful opportunity for the couple to “re-connect” after the rush and excitement of the day. My couples have always told me that they’ve really cherished that intimate, quiet time together. You won’t be as nervous and most of the crazy stuff has happened already and settled down.+
If your ceremony is on the later side, say 4 pm or onwards, plan to have a 1st look and family photos ahead of your ceremony so that you can take formals from 5pm-7pm and start dinner a bit later. This is my favourite type of timeline although it does necessitate some sort of snack or activity for your guests in between to hold them off until supper (depending on your location/unique wedding plans.).
Having photos later in the day ensures the sun isn’t at the apex in the sky (which can cause bright blown out skin and alien-like shadows under those falsies you’re desperately trying to keep on!) You’ll stay more comfortable through the process in the evening as well which in turn will make for an easier, relaxed, fun photo experience that you’ll remember fondly for years to come!