For Photographers: Photographing Portraits in a Hurry!

Last week’s blog post for my Bride’s was all about leaving enough time throughout their wedding day for us photographers to take all of their portraits. But what happens when the couple don’t have 2 hours of time set aside for their portraits? It happens! We’ve been there many times and we’ve still been able to work, in a hurry, and give our clients the photos of their dreams. Today I’m breaking down what we do to make that happen smoothly!

1. Have a PLAN!

I’ve had days where I’ve only had the entire cocktail hour to photograph Family Portraits, the ENTIRE Bridal Party, the Bride & Groom’s Portraits AND their reception details. ONE hour for all of that!? That sounds impossible and overwhelming, doesn’t it? Overwhelming yes but definitely not impossible. I am 10x more prepared on days like that than any other wedding day because I know I only have that one hour to get it ALL done. Immediately when the Ceremony is over, I do NOT dilly-dally! lol I am drill sergeant Tina. The first thing I do is always grab the ENTIRE Bridal Party. Why Bridal Party first? Because they JUST walked back down the aisle, right behind the Bride and Groom. They are all there already! I take several group portraits of them. Unfortunately, because I am SO tight I can’t mix it up that much or do too many fun poses because I’ve got more portraits to take! Once I do that, I tell all the non-family members to go off to cocktail hour and I tell the family members in the Bridal Party to STAY put. Why? Because Family Portraits are next!

When I see that we only have 15 minutes to take their Family Portraits I always tell my Bride & Groom to tell their family the game plan AHEAD of time. I suggest they also have someone to gather all the family we need for photos for them so we can get everyone’s family photos done all at once. I also take the portraits of just the Bride and her parents (and Jose does the same of the Groom & his parents) BEFORE the ceremony so that’s already done! Everything can’t always be perfect and sometimes things don’t go as planned! Uncle Bob runs off to the bar to get a drink or Grandma is too hot and wants to go inside to air-conditioning… and that’s okay. I just assure my couples that we will get those photos during the Reception later on – and we do! I immediately put it in my phone and make sure we don’t leave until we get the remaining photos!

2. Have a Second Photographer!

When you have a short amount of time for portraits, it becomes even more necessary for you to have a second photographer with you on a wedding day. Why? Because why I am photographing the Bridal Party and Family for 25 minutes, that is 25 whole minutes that Jose can run into cocktail hour and the reception space and capture those details! He can grab the photos of all the food, the guests mingling, the reception room EMPTY, the centerpieces and cake with no guests around and then it’s DONE! And then when he’s done and he can join me for portraits. Another reason why a second photographer is so crucial is because there will be MORE portraits of just the two of them with a second photographer. This is true for most wedding days but when there is only 25 minutes for ALL of their portraits, it’s even more important a second photographer is there!

3. Shoot smaller Bridal Party photos BEFORE the ceremony

You may have thought “HOW does she photograph the Bridal Party photos only in 10 minutes??” And it’s because we always always ALWAYS photograph the smaller Bridal Party portraits BEFORE the ceremony. Whether they are getting ready in the same location or in separate ones, we always take the smaller Bridal Party pictures ahead of time. That means I photograph just the Bride & her Bridesmaids ahead of time and Jose will photograph the Groom & his groomsmen ahead of time. And like I said, we make sure to take photos of them both with their own parents ahead of time too so later on, we can focus on the bigger family portraits. Another reason why having a second photographer is crucial.

4. Keep track of your time!

One KEY thing I do is immediately set a timer after the ceremony. I only give myself 25 minutes for Bridal Party AND Family Portraits together, which is easy. I snap my camera super fast most of the time and can get MULTIPLE shots very quickly. I then do the same thing and set a timer for Bride & Groom Portraits. I set it this time for 25 minutes. That means even if things run a little past schedule in some way, I still have at least 10 minutes when we’re done to drink some water and very quickly shoot the reception space, the centerpieces and the cake myself! And if I happen to miss anything, while guests are eating their first course or dinner, I take the time to photograph any reception details I may have missed before (like champagne flutes or the card box)

5. Use EVERY opportunity to photograph your couple!

Meghan & Brandon’s wedding day at the Molly Pitcher Inn is the best example of this timeline on a wedding day (which is why I’m using all of their photos in this blog post!) Their ceremony was at 6:30pm, they didn’t do a first look and while we did shoot their individual Bridal parties ahead of time, after the ceremony we had to do ALL the rest! On top of that, the sun was setting while we were photographing it all! It made things even more challenging. And yet, we not only got a ton of photos for them but they are some of my favorites from all of last years weddings! Why? Because I made sure to take advantage of every. single. MOMENT with them. That meant when we walked down to the dock or towards the end of the dock, I was STILL photographing them. And those are some of my favorite photos EVER because they’re just naturally captured, walking together hand in hand. Don’t take advantage of a single second and just constantly shoot your couple because the photos of THEM are what truly matter on a wedding day.

And that’s how we get it done! My gosh, I’m out of breath just WRITING all of that! lol But we’ve shot over 80 weddings and now have our own little system that helps us tremendously on crazy wedding days and we hope some of this information will help you too 😉

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