So you’re starting to plan out your wedding day, and it turns out there is A LOT that goes into a wedding. With the ceremony and reception, the time it takes to get ready, possibly a first look, and all the moments in between it may be tempting to skip out or limit your time for couples portraits. I’m here to tell you though that you should definitely make time for couples portraits on your wedding day, keep reading to find out more on why you should and how to do it.
Now you might be thinking, “Our photographer’s already going to be getting a ton of photos of us, why do we need couples portraits?” While that is true, I will be with you your entire wedding day documenting it, there are some important things to consider.
In most cases you’re only going to wear your wedding gear once, so you’ll want some photos in a more controlled environment where you’re able to show off just how good you both looked for your wedding day. On top of that, there are SO many emotions that you’ll be feeling throughout your wedding day. You’re going to want to document some of these moments you two are sharing so you can look back and remember how you felt throughout your day. This is especially true if you’re able to split your time for portraits throughout the day as your emotions change at different points in the day.
And lastly, in a lot of cases, your time for portraits is the only time that you get to spend alone together on your wedding day other than after the festivities are over. Portraits are a great way for you to slow down on your wedding day, spend some time with your soon-to-be spouse, and really take in this moment between the two of you.
As a general rule of thumb, I like my couples to have a minimum of 30 consecutive minutes on their wedding day for couples’ portraits. This gives you some time alone with your spouse and gives you the opportunity to warm up in front of the camera and really feel like yourselves for your photos. Other than those 30 minutes it’s fun to take 5-10 minutes here or there to sneak out of your wedding or reception, snap a few photos and enjoy a little alone time together.
If it takes you and your partner a bit to warm up in front of the camera, I suggest setting aside a little more time in your day for your photos. If you have a first look for your wedding day this can be a great time to get some couples portraits in and get warmed up in front of the camera. Then later on in the day, before your reception or maybe during it, you can sneak out and get some more portraits done now that you’re a little more warmed up for the camera!
As mentioned before with a first look, you can have a couple at different times throughout your wedding day since you’ll likely have some portraits done after your first look. This gives you a lot more flexibility timewise which is great, but first looks aren’t for everyone which I totally get! If you’re still on the fence about whether you should have a first look for your wedding or not, check out my blog here going over both options to get a better idea of which is best for you.
For a wedding day without a first look, you’ll most likely have your couple’s portraits done after the ceremony during one thirty-minute stretch. While it’s possible to have some other set times for yourselves to get some portraits in it is more difficult than if you have a first look since that basically has time for portraits built-in.
One other thing to consider when it comes to your couples portraits is the time of day that you should have them. There’s a lot of emotion and feeling that goes into your wedding day and that can be amplified by the different lighting you get throughout the day. These are the best times to have your couples portraits done on your wedding day and what the general vibe will be for those times.
For those that are planning to have a first look or a brunch wedding, “midday” photos are a great option for having some photos done. In general, I do try to avoid high noon for photos with my couples because of the placement of the sun. If you plan to have photos when the sun is a little higher in the sky, I suggest planning them anytime before 9 am or anytime after 3 pm. That way the sun doesn’t put harsh shadows all over your images.
If possible I try to help my couples plan the majority of their photos to happen about an hour before sunset. Obviously, as the seasons change, it can become hard to schedule photos around sunset as it happens during dinner time or even late in the evening, but even if my couples can sneak out for just a handful around this time, they are ALWAYS in love with the way the photos turn out.
Blue hour is that short period of time right after sunset before the glow is lost from the day. There is a soft blue tint to the sky and there is just enough light to still be out and about taking photos without flash. If you aren’t quite able to fit in photos in golden hour, blue hour is also a nice option for couples who want to sneak out for a handful of photos before the party really starts going.
I love sneaking out of a reception to get some after-dark portraits with my couples. You’re in full party mode at this point, and you should be you got freaking married. You’re probably a few drinks in as well so you’ll be nice and loose for your portraits. Portraits this late are a great way to capture you in that full celebration mode and often lead to some amazing photos. When the winter months come after dark photos are also an awesome option for couples who might not want to see each other before their afternoon ceremony.
More and more throughout the wedding industry couples are splitting up their portrait time throughout their wedding day, even if they don’t have a first look. They’re finding time after their ceremony, before their dinner starts, or sneaking in some after dark during their reception. All these little moments spread out throughout your day are a great way for you to take some time throughout your day and enjoy the moment as just the two of you. And not to mention you’ll have SO many great photo options by the time the day is over.
Not having your portraits done all at once gives you plenty of variety in the portraits from your wedding day. You’ll also go through a lot of different emotions for your wedding day, splitting your portraits throughout the day lets you capture all these feelings exactly as they were. Lastly, it gives your photographer a chance to get creative with your portraits and try new poses and ideas which can lead to some awesome photos!
Couples portraits are some of the best parts of a wedding day. Being the only time that you two get to spend on your own, they end up being super intimate moments for the two of you to spend some time soaking in your wedding day. If you’re looking for a photographer for your wedding day, fill out my inquiry form here and we can get to planning.
an illinois Boudoir and Wedding photographer based in bloomington, Il.
Available for travel throughout Chicago, Peoria, and the midwest!