The Ultimate Wedding Photography Planning ChecklistNeed help? We’re here for you with our professional advice ;)

We have been wedding professionals for decades, and in those years have honed the perfect list of advice for making your wedding photography experience the best and smoothest it can be. Nothing makes us happier than knowing that we can help set you up for the most successful and stress-free day as possible. Trust us, we’ve got you and will be there on your entire journey to becoming a #wifeyforlifey. Keep reading for the best tips and tricks on planning for your wedding photography:

Bride's getting ready wedding photography planning tips Bridal portraits wedding photography planning tips

  1. Schedule 

We can’t stress this enough. Having a proper schedule sets the entire tone for your wedding. We love having an understanding and balance of the wants and needs of your big day and photography expectations.

The timing for photography needs to be juuuust right and fit in with the rest of your day’s schedule flawlessly.

Here’s how much time we usually suggest allocating for each section:

  • 1 hour for the Groom Getting Ready 
  • 1.5 hours for the Bride Getting Ready 
  • 1 hour for Bride and Groom Creative 
  • 45 min for Bridal Party Photos
  • 45 min to 1 hour for family photos (depending on how many people there are) 
  • 15 min – 30 min to photograph reception decor 
  • 15 min to photograph sunset photos with the bride and groom

Of course, each wedding day is different and unique. But these general time slots allow for the right amount of time needed for us to photograph each important moment as thoroughly as possible. We’ve basically got it down to a science!

TIP: Give yourself some wiggle room when scheduling! Sometimes your wedding can be unpredictable, be prepared and try to plan for the unexpected 😉

Family photos wedding photography planning tips

  1. Travel 

Travel might be the biggest thing that couples tend to let slip their minds when planning their photography and wedding day schedule as a whole. But we’re here to tell you that it is SUPER important to time your travel out, especially if your ceremony and reception are in separate locations.

We encourage all of our couples to maximize the time allowed for shooting instead of favouring travelling. This is definitely a quality over quantity type of situation. Try to choose photography locations that are close to one another and are easily accessible. The last thing you want to do is venture on a 20-minute hike up the escarpment for a location when you only have your cocktail hour to take pictures!

TIP: Look at galleries of other weddings that have happened at your venue(s) for ideas.

Bride and groom portraits wedding photography planning tips

  1. Permits 

Don’t forget to research, plan, schedule, and purchase photography permits! Some of the most popular wedding photography locations do indeed require a permit. If you’re making your marriage legal, be sure to make your wedding pictures legal too!

Did you know that some locations even require you to book permits 1+ year in advance due to popularity? Make it a goal to decide on your photography locations as early as possible and secure those permits! Your wedding photographer can help you suggest cool locations that can work as alternatives if purchasing a permit isn’t possible for you. We always encourage couples to choose a location that is meaningful to them. This way you might not need a permit and it’s one less headache 🙂

TIP: Popular Toronto locations that need permits are Casa Loma, UofT, Botanical Gardens, and any City of Toronto parks

Ceremony wedding photography planning tips

  1. Keep It Clean!

You’re going to be super busy on your wedding day, we totally get that! And in that wedding whirlwind, you may find your smaller/enclosed locations can get a little cluttered. The biggest culprit of this will be your getting ready location. It may be worth your while to appoint one or more of your bridal party members to be on tidy/clean up patrol while pictures are being taken. We can help too! We are dedicated to making each shot as perfect as possible, and sometimes that means moving/removing items from the frame. We pride ourselves on a clean polished photography style here at MANGO, and we take these extra steps to be absolutely sure you and we are both totally happy with the final product. Marie Kondo will be proud.

TIP:  A great motto for this is “if something doesn’t add to the story, it takes away from the picture”

Bride and groom wedding photos ceremony wedding photography planning tips

  1. Family Photo List/Schedule 

One of the greatest parts of weddings is being able to see, reconnect, and celebrate with your families. But as that guest list climbs, so can the number of family combinations you’ll want to get photographed.

Having a detailed list of who, when, and where for your family photographs will literally save you. There can be a lot of people to wrangle, and it can be a little overwhelming to organize. But we know you will be super thankful that you did it. Just another bit of planning that will go a very long way and help your day go off without a hitch. Be sure to talk to your parents or heads of your families before too.

TIP: If taking family photos right after the ceremony, get your officiant to announce the time and location each side of the family is needed at. Also, consider sending out specific picture times to your family members ahead of the wedding.

Bridal party wedding photography planning tips

  1. Back-up Locations

Sometimes there will be rain on your wedding day parade. But there’s no reason to be worried. If any component of your wedding day is planned for the outdoors, you NEED to plan for a weather backup location.

A lot of venues these days will have on-site weather permitting locations for a low cost, or no cost at all. It’s definitely better to be prepared than to be scrambling for a dry photography spot at the last minute. You can also ask your photographer for local, indoor photography ideas. With years of experience, we know exactly what will work in a pinch. And lastly, I have to say though, some of my favourite wedding pictures have been captured outdoors during a little drizzle 😉

TIP: You may need to get another permit for indoor portions at an outdoor location you already have a permit for.

Wedding party wedding photography planning tips

  1. High Heels on High Terrain

Have you ever been at a wedding and gotten that sinking feeling? Not in your heart or stomach, but on your feet! Think about your photography locations and the season you are getting married in. Having your first look in a farm field in April? Those April showers may bring May flowers, but they won’t give you any help when it comes to walking in high heels.

Plan to bring heel stoppers if your wedding photography will be happening in a golf course, field, forest, or any other grassy area. They help to stay balanced and not sink into the grass while taking photographs.

TIP: Buy in bulk! Your bridal party, friends, and family members who will be in your pictures will thank you.

Wedding decor photography

  1. Let go and have fun! 

Nothing sounds less fun than scheduling fun, we know! But it works! Don’t forget to let go and have fun. It’s your wedding day!! You’re supposed to have fun, enjoy yourself, and above all else, GET MARRIED! As long as that happens, you have done your job correctly 😉

Happy planning! Reception wedding photography planning tips King Edward Hotel wedding photos