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  • Lyla Joe


A common question from couples is about the time their photographer will start and arrive. There is no specific time and each photographer will be different, and it will also depend on if you are having the photographer there while you are getting ready.

This varies from couple to couple. Some want full-on first thing in the morning, just got up, bacon baps in PJ photos, some prefer to be full camera ready with hair/make-up done with just a few photos of “finishing touches”. Unless you’re fully comfortable with having a camera around sans make-up then maybe think carefully about having a photographer there too early.

I have quite often arrived at 9 or 10am as requested to be told that they are “not ready”, that was kind of the point! A good compromise is around 90 mins before the ceremony if you are in situ and add on travelling time plus 30 mins if you are not at the venue.

My typical morning before a wedding…my wife is a florist so on a wedding morning she is always up super early, like 5am and will wake me up with a strong black coffee at 7am, after shower I will have some porridge, and put my suit and tie on. I’ll already have packed my kit bag the day before so I don’t check it again as I know it’s all fine. Drive to the venue for about 30 mins before my scheduled start time, often with some 1980’s/90’s punk music to get me going!

The time-line for the day will have been discussed with the bride and groom. Start time for photography will vary and is usually dependant on the time the ceremony is due to begin.

I like to arrive at least an hour before we start shooting the bride and groom’s preparations. This will give me time to get the perfect shot of the dress, bouquets, rings, shoes and the other details of the day. When the couple’s preparations start, the room fills up and, very soon, becomes very untidy!

Having another hour photographing preparation is ideal. The lead photographer will be with the bride and the second shooter with the groom. Guys will be dressed under the hour but there are still great moments happening at this time between the groom and his family and friends. The lead photographer will be getting close ups of hairstyling and makeup as well as the candid moments between bride and bridesmaids. Generally, the champagne corks have popped and these are some of the most emotional and fun times of the day, so we don’t want to cut it short.

Right after prep is the best time for separate portraits of the bride and groom. Her makeup and hair are immaculate and his tie is still straight, so we can get some perfect portraits. Window lighting usually creates a unique look which can be difficult to beat throughout the rest of the day. This is also the time to be ready for those awesome ‘first-look’ moments – bridesmaids/bride’s dress; father of the bride/bride and, if the situation allows, groom/bride.

If the bride is travelling by car to the ceremony, then one of the photographers will drive ahead to photograph the bride’s arrival and the other will shoot those all-important bridal car moments with father and daughter side-by-side. At one wedding we photographed, the bride and groom travelled from the church to their reception venue by air and I was given the challenge of racing a helicopter across Oxfordshire countryside to photograph their arrival! I admit I had to stage the final results.

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