How To Draft Your Perfect Photo Timeline

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing and speaking at the Simply Foxhall Workshop hosted by Simply Catering.  My short talk was about creating a wedding day photo timeline.  If you are newer to the wedding industry or if you are a bride trying to envision how your big day will unfold, this may be a good read for you.

If you are a bride, hopefully your photographer or wedding planner will help you draft your timeline, but sometimes it's nice to think ahead - especially if you're a detailed person like me.

Details to think about:

How long do you have your photographer?

The standard is about 8 hours.  Some photographers may have packages that are more or less depending on your budget - especially if you value their quality of photography, but maybe can't spend the money on a full day of coverage.  It's all about making decisions based on what aspects of your day are most important to you.

Are you doing a first look?

This will definitely affect when you take photos during the day.  There are pros and cons to both.  

Pros - You're able to get to your reception quicker, you are first priority and get your couple portraits done first right after your hair and make up is finished, and you can get most of your photos done before the ceremony.

Cons - It goes against tradition if you want to see each other for the first time walking down the aisle.  You may have to start getting ready earlier in the day.

What time is your ceremony?

There's an old wives tale that says you should get married when the minute hand is ascending aka at the half hour or later for good luck, but most millennials that I've talked to had never heard of this and most people wisely base it off of sunset time.  Keep in mind that if you are getting married at 5:30pm and the sun sets at 6:00pm all of your photos afterwards will either be in the dark or inside.

How long is your ceremony?

A typical ceremony length is about 30 minutes.  If it is a traditional religious ceremony such as Greek Orthodox, your ceremony may last much longer.

What time is sunset?

This is an easy thing to google, but to give you an idea:

In April the sun sets about 8pm.  In June it sets around 8:30pm and in October it sets around 7pm.

Do you have travel between your venues?

How many family portraits/ combinations are you taking? How many in your bridal party? 

All these factors contribute to how long photos may last.  I suggest leaving a little cushion just in case.

You should be tucked away about about an hour before your ceremony as out of town guests tend to arrive early and you should be hidden.  This also gives you a chance to eat something, drink some water, and gives your photographer time to get detail shots of your venue or any other details there may not have been time for previously.

My Example Timeline

As we've talked about, a timeline can vary based on many different factors, but below is an example timeline based on 8 hours of photography coverage in October with a first look and no travel between venues.

1:30pm - getting ready, details shots, and putting dress on

2:15pm - First Look and Couple Portraits

3:00pm - Bride; Bride with each Bridesmaid; and Bridesmaids group

3:30pm - Groom; Groom with each Groomsman; and Groomsmen group

4:00pm - Full Bridal Party

4:30pm - Tucked Away

5:30pm- Ceremony

6:00pm - Family Portraits

6:30pm - additional couple portraits during golden hour

6:45pm - announced into reception


9:30pm - Grand Exit

I hope this helps as you draft your perfect photo timeline!

Happy Planning!


How To: Be a Stellar Second Shooter | Part II

Have gear like a photographer - the most geeky post I will ever write

The Basics:

DSLR (Digital single-lens reflex) camera + a lens

Really.  At minimum, those are the only two pieces of equipment that you need to start second shooting.  

Icing on the cake? A prime lens and a flash.

To prove my point, I'll be vulnerable and post a few photos from one of the first weddings I ever second shot with Chloe Giancola Photography - using a Nikon D3000, 35mm f/1.8 lens, and a SB600 flash at the reception.


So, let’s cover some of what that is, your options and how expensive these thing tend to be.

Camera Bodies:

The most popular camera bodies are going to be Nikon, Canon, and Sony has recently started making some really great cameras and is becoming a contender in the DSLR game.

Don’t stress too much about which one you need to get.  Mostly it’s preference, but once you choose, stick with it because all your lenses will be interchangeable.  I personally shoot Nikon, but I think mostly that has to do with the fact that that’s what my dad and grandfather had.  It's genetic. :)

I'll be using Nikon for my example because that is what I am the most familiar with.

Entry Level NIkon DSLR - D3200 - D5500 ($450-$800) - Great cameras for learning without spending a fortune.

Prosumer Level Nikon DSLR - D90, D7000-7200, D300S (~$1200)

Professional Level Nikon DSLR - D600 - D4S (~$1400+) - These are "full frame" camera bodies which allow for higher quality in all areas of the image.


kit lens - The lens that usually comes with a camera body. It’s very versatile because of the ability to zoom, but not the most ideal for portraits because the aperture is usually f/3.5 or 4 ($200-500)

prime lens - usually a 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm lens with a aperture of f/2 or less.  My workhorse kind of lens.  It’s ideal for portraits or if you want the blurry background known as “bokeh”. ($200-1600)

telephoto zoom lens - for really close up zoom.  good for a large ceremony space. (~$400-2000)

macro lens - (Nikon calls it micro) allows you to get really close to an object.  Great for getting those ring shots. ($250-1000)

wide angle lens - ex. 24mm - great for large bridal parties or small rooms so that you can pack more into a photo.  Too wide and it becomes a fisheye.  ($250-1700)

As you can tell, lenses come in wide varieties of sizes and prices depending on your needs.


flash attachment - more powerful than the flash that’s built into your camera.  Used if the reception or ceremony space is dimly lit.

off camera flash - the flash is not attached to your camera, but on a stand (usually multiple flashes) set up around the room and controlled by a remote.  Great for allowing more light on your subject so that there aren’t crazy shadows, but you have to be careful not to point your camera at the flash otherwise your image will be blown out.  

"But I don’t have the money for all that equipment.  What do I do?"

Renting is an option if you’re not ready to buy or you want to try something out before you make the big purchase.

A couple options:

PPR in Atlanta also rents equipment.

Buying equipment used is also an option to save some money.  

photo by Chloe Giancola Photography

photo by Chloe Giancola Photography

Memory Cards & Shooting

Learn how to shoot in manual and shoot in RAW.  RAW images allow for better editing capabilities because all the different levels can be manipulated if necessary.  Think of it like a 3D image as compared to a flat image.  JPEG pre-applies colors and is less desirable for editing.  JPEG is better if you are going to shoot and share immediately.  

Memory Cards - some photographers may ask you to shoot on your cards or they may have you shoot on their cards and just have you turn them over when the event is finished.  If you want to keep your photos for your portfolio, I would suggest bringing your computer along so that you can upload them immediately after the event in case you have to give the cards back.  Or, if your camera has dual memory card slots consider making a copy on the second as you shoot. 

I hope now you're ready to pack your camera bag and go shoot some amazing photos no matter what equipment you have! 

Part 3 comin' at ya soon! 

Happy Shooting,