How To Create A Wedding Photo Timeline

Dear Christa,    When you're talking with your brides, how do you make sure you have enough time for photos? Do you use their timeline or create your own and run it by them? I keep getting really confused communicating before the wedding on what happens when! Please help! 


Running out of time 

Dear Running out of Time,

I think many photographers can relate to your plight. We've all been there, sweating bullets as the guests take the escort cards before you have a chance to shoot them...STRESS CITY.  The day of timeline is crucial and something I start talking about from the very first consultation with each bride. You must start this conversation early to ensure you have enough time day-of, and aren't scrambling later. Manage your clients expectations for how long things take, educate them about the flow of the day and they will understand the importance of following your timeline.

zenith vineyard wedding photo christa taylor_0122

The first step to creating a schedule is to finalize their ceremony time. Once that is clear, you have a gauge for arrival and departure and can draft up a timeline based on the hours allotted in their contract.  For example, my most popular collections are 8-9 hours in length. For a classic 9 hour wedding with 5pm ceremony, it would look like this:

how to make a photo timeline for your wedding I email a rough draft of the photo timeline to the bride, right after her initial consultation. Later you will send this to the coordinator and ensure that everyone is on the same page. I keep a folder on my computer of all the wedding ceremony times (11:30am, 2pm, 4pm, 4:30pm, 5pm, 6pm, 6:30pm, 7pm) so I can review as needed.

Here's a sample 4pm Timeline:

how to create a wedding photo timeline


Any other questions about timelines- just leave a comment below :)


How To Build Wealth As A Small Business

Mt Tabor Engagment photos portland or These principles apply to all, and have been gleaned from my own father (who passed down the secret to gaining wealth) and the pages of many wise authors.

Whether you're a college student just getting off the ground or a seasoned veteran in your field, these principles will change your view on wealth and how to build it. These thoughts are things I wish someone had shared with me several years ago, so I'm taking the time to share them with you.

There are laws to building wealth- there really are. Simple, step-by-step, guaranteed process to building wealth. And anyone can do it.

You laugh.  Read on!

 1. Those who seek wealth will find it. 

We all assume that wealthy people are wealthy by sheer luck, or by the upbringing they had, or the wealth they had to start with. But that is simply not true.

If you seek to build a skill set, like playing the piano or becoming a photographer and throw yourself diligently into acquiring that skill- you will master it sooner or later. You will achieve what you have set to accomplish. So with wealth. If you want to be successful you must study how! If you don't seek wealth, it will not come.

This is why there are many highly skilled craftsmans or artists who remain at only "comfortable" or "subsisting" levels of income. They are greatly skilled but have not sought the skill of gaining wealth.

2. Set aside 10% off all your income. 

Put that 10% aside FIRST, before all other bills are paid. The reason being, your "necessities" will somehow always grow according to your income unless you protest to the contrary. At first, it might seem like a bit of a pinch, but if you set the goal in front of you (long term wealth and success) those little sacrifices are much easier to bear. Don't confuse necessities with desires.

3. Get your money working for you 

As your money starts slowly to accrue, put that money to work! Get your money invested in a safe, low-risk investment, such as the money market (i.e. Charles Scwaub investment portfolio) or entrusted to someone who is an expert in their field and can safely manage the money for you.

Do not take advice on your money from those inexperienced in such matters. A small return and a safe one is far more desirable than risk.

Do not spend this money until it has blossomed to the point where it becomes a continues stream of revenue into your pocket.

4. Start where you are at

Use your current skill set (i.e. photography) as the means towards your fattening purse. You don't have to start a new career path or get a new degree.  Whatever it is that you do, for every 10 dollars you earn- spend 9.  Gradually, your accounts will "miraculously" begin to flourish. And where money is, more money will gather ;)

5. Start with a Reachable Goal 

Your goal must be simple and definite. If it's too confusing, or beyond your training to accomplish you will be self-defeating. Start small, wealth starts in small sums.

6. Continue to Cultivate Your Skills

If you are a writer, learn to write the best you can. More persistence in your effort, more concentration upon your tasks, more interest and skill acquires- you will outstrip all your competitors. Constantly learn, adapt new skills, study- stand still and you will find yourself left behind.


Very simple process friends. But who will take on the challenge and stay faithful? Only those who really want it!

Why You Should Choose A Small Photography Studio

Log House gardens wedding salem or_0073 When you walk into a corporate restaurant like the Olive Garden, you are greeted with reliable service, standard unchanging menu and predictable dining. Now walk into a chef-owned restaurant. The menu is small, particularly curated, the service is personal and the entire experience is more hands-on, high touch.  The owner has so much more invested in you and your experience. You, personally are valuable.

This is similar to the difference between Big-box Studios and boutique photographers.

By "boutique" I mean, a small artisan based business over a high volume studio. Studios who choose 20 weddings a year vs 250. Larger studios tend to actually outsource their shooting to their staff of full-time photographers. Is this a problem? No. Nothing is wrong with this model from a business perspective, it is a natural progression for a thriving studio. They do bring several valuable things to the table: Security, Reliability, reputation. These are important to a bride.  You feel like you can "trust" them- they are a large company, fully- legit right? When the trusted recommendation of a confidante is lacking -we gravitate towards "safe" options. And big companies typically mean safe right?

Here are a few personal observations that I have encountered both in myself and others while working in the wedding industry in Portland.

1. Quality. While the Prices are roughly the same, the quality is not. Why? Because if your photographer is only a cog in the wheel of a larger company, the temptation is to not invest as much in bringing you the best photos possible. Their personal reputation isn't at stake, they're not building their own business. There just isn't as much drive to excel, plain and simple.

However, a large studio WILL produce quality product and safely capture all of the important moments of your day. They have shooting weddings down to a science, so there is little fear of "missing a moment", but my fear is that in the science of it all- they lose the art.

2. Know You Are Important The flip side of the "cog" mentality is that to a small business owner, you are incredibly important. They treat every client like gold because their very business relies on these brides. They aren't just earning a paycheck, they are investing their life and passion into your day. Emails get answered faster, they tend to over-communicate and really walk with you step-by-step up to your wedding day. Boutique studios often rely on word-of-mouth referrals  vs. google search engine ratings or bridal shows- this creates an incredible desire to make sure your day is perfect in every way.

Does this mean a large studio doesn't value you and your day? Of course not, they are good about communication and clearly professional- but sometimes, you're seen as a replaceable "client" more than a personal relationship.

3. Personal Investment. Speaking of relationship, when you're working with a personal small-business photographer you are building a personal relationship, a friendship really. That relationship will continue as you have your first child, capture your family portraits and your 10 year anniversary at the beach. They look at a wedding collection as more than just a punch-card for 8 hours of shooting, it's the springboard for many shoots in the future as well.

4. Get Your Wedding Published. Every bride puts in so much love, creativity and countless hours into making her day unique and personal. If you're a bride who wants to see the beautiful details of your wedding day published on the world of bridal blogs- then I would recommend you choose a private photographer. Large studios often don't have the time or motivation to see your wedding get published.


Now Granted, I'm not saying go with a newbie photographer who doesn't even have you sign a contract- eep! By no means. Simply consider well the photographer you choose and know the pros and cons of your choice. Do your research, figure out what style you love (yes there are many different styles of wedding photography) and find a photographer or larger studio that leaves you ecstatic with the results.

I'm glad to say, that there are large-scale studios that have found a balance and really strive to keep that "high-touch" mentality. I'm thankful for the studios who push-back and really emphasize personal relationships and supreme quality over the "commodity" mentality. Again, it all comes down to: Be an informed bride- do your research :)