Wedding Photography Prep Guide

Thanks for booking your wedding photography with me! I'm so excited to capture moments from your big day! This guide will go over some things that will help you prepare for photos at your wedding. It goes through a typical wedding day timeline, while answering some common questions and letting you know what to expect from me. Contact me if you have any other questions!

My Style

My style is focused on candid, documentary photos with some posing mixed in. I provide direction when needed, but often will hang back and capture the day as it happens.

1. Details (15-30 minutes)

It helps to have any detail items you'd like photographed set aside for when I arrive. This may include things like a paper invitation, your bouquet, the rings, jewelry, shoes, heirloom pieces, etc. It's also good to have your dress hanging with any pins or stuffing removed, if possible. I will usually capture these detail photos when I first arrive, while hair & makeup is being finished.

2. Getting Ready (about an hour)

I'll take some documentary photos of everyone hanging out, and maybe some cute ones of the girls in their robes. Once the bridal party is ready to get dolled up, I'll capture candid shots of this happening. I may stage a few shots as well, such as having the groomsmen fixing the groom's tie. My second shooter, Melanie, will often be with the groomsmen getting ready while I'm with the bridesmaids.

3. First Look (about 15 minutes)

If you decide to have a first look with your partner, it's a good opportunity to have a few moments to relax and take a deep breath with them before the ceremony. It also gives you the chance to take many of your photos before the ceremony so you can get to your reception sooner. Many brides have also loved doing a first look with their father. Usually I will have the groom (or father) in place with his back turned to where the bride will enter. The bride will then walk up in her wedding dress and tap him on the shoulder, giving him the cue to turn around and see her.

4. Bridal Party Portraits (30-45 minutes)

After everyone is dressed and ready to go, I'll take the bridesmaids and groomsmen aside for bridal party portraits. These can be done before or after the ceremony, but I prefer to take them before if possible.
I'll take some posed and some of everyone having fun with each other. I'll take a portrait of the bride with each of her bridesmaids individually, and likewise with the groom and groomsmen. If you've had a first look, we will take some with the whole group together. If you're waiting to see each other at the ceremony, I'll take the bridesmaids and groomsmen aside separately and save the big group shots for after the ceremony.

5. Ceremony (15-45 minutes)

I will walk around documenting all aspects of the ceremony from different angles. I will make sure to capture key moments like the groom's reaction, the ring exchange, and the first kiss!

6. Family Formals (30-40 minutes)

After the ceremony, it's time for some photos with the family. I will send a questionnaire about a month before your wedding asking that you prepare a list of the groupings you want for family photos, along with first names. The list will make everything go much smoother! I will go down the list and call out the names for each grouping. 

Make sure your family members know in advance when and where to meet for family photos, so we don't have to go searching for anyone when it's time!

7. Couples Portraits (30-45 minutes)

After family formals, your family will usually head to the reception location for cocktail hour. I'll take the newly married couple aside for some beautiful couples photos! (If we already did some before the ceremony, we may skip this or only take a few more). We'll walk around to get a variety of backgrounds for the pictures. I like to use prompts to make this part of the day fun and enjoyable. I'll often have the couple walk and talk to each other, whisper something in the other's ear, dance, eskimo kiss, etc. I will provide posing directions as needed.

If possible, I like to schedule couples portraits just before sunset for gorgeous "golden hour" lighting!

8. Reception

Time to party! I'll document the reception as it happens, looking for creative angles and memorable moments. I'll be sure to capture key events like the grand entrance, toasts, first dance, and cake cutting, as well as detail shots of the location. I'll also get some fun dancing photos (if my coverage time allows for it)!

9. Special Exit

If you're having a grand exit from your reception, I'd be happy to capture this exciting moment! Different send-offs include sparklers, flower petals, bubbles, streamers, balloons, glow sticks, confetti poppers, etc. If you go with sparklers, be sure to get the longest & biggest ones you can find so they don't burn out before you even walk out!

Whatever type of exit you choose, be sure to take your time instead of sprinting through. This allows me enough time to capture a good shot. If it feels awkward to go through slowly, you can dance through! It's also great to stop part of the way down for a kiss, dip, or celebration. If you're loving the attention, it can be fun to go through twice!

You can also "stage" your exit earlier during the reception if you don't want to wait until the very end. This ensures that a lot of guests will still be there, you'll be less tired, and you may be able to shorten the amount of photography coverage you purchase.


10. Receiving Your Photos

I send a sneak peek with at least 10 images from your wedding within 4 days. It usually takes between 5-8 weeks to edit & deliver your full gallery of photos (summer months are busier). I don't place a limit on the amount of photos you receive. I take great care in going through and picking out the best moments and fine-tuning the look (colors & lighting).

Once finished, I will upload your photos to an online gallery on my website and send you the unique link. You can download the pictures in full quality, share them, and order prints and albums directly from the gallery. This is a screenshot of what an actual gallery looks like:


Thanks for taking the time to read through this guide! I hope it was helpful, and I can't wait for your special day! Contact me if you have any questions. Follow me on Instagram & Facebook to stay up to date with my sessions (@ashleyhomanphoto on both). See you soon!