July 27, 2021 | Guides

How to Maximise Your Time With Your Guests and Still Get Beautiful Wedding Portraits

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The IPPVA asked wedding photographer, Tara Aherne, how she plans her shoots in order to maximise the use of light in various locations throughout the day.

Tara is a wedding and family portrait photographer based in Dublin and operating all over Ireland. She takes natural, vibrant images in a discreet and friendly manner. Tara takes a limited amount of bookings a year, ensuring a personal service to each of her clients.


Tara’s Advice

Moments in time

Your wedding photos should tell the story of your wedding day – all the fun, the precious moments, and the people you have chosen to share it with.

Wedding portraits are wonderful to have, but they shouldn’t take away from time spent enjoying the day with your family and friends. With a bit of planning and flexibility, you can maximise your time with your guests and still get beautiful portraits!

Here are a few tips on how to make the most of underused pockets of time for photographs on a wedding day.

First look

A ‘first look’ is when a couple sees each other before their wedding ceremony and takes their portraits. This is especially suited to winter weddings when the couple is getting ready at the wedding venue. It is not just a practical solution to winter’s early sunset times, but it can also offer an intimate and emotional oasis of time on an otherwise bustling day.

bride on a stairs
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
groom with his back turned to the brise before he first sees her
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
bride embraces father outside of the church
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer

Skipping the receiving line

We’re all familiar with the Irish tradition of wedding guests queuing up to congratulate the couple after a church ceremony. But if you have 100+ guests, this typically takes upwards of 30 minutes. While this may not be a problem on a long summer’s day, it is best avoided if you are trying to race back to the wedding venue to get some photos before the light disappears.

An easy way to speed things up is for the couple to exit the church into the middle of the churchyard, instead of standing in the church doorway. This allows people to mill around you, avoiding the queues and makes it easier to slip away when you want to leave.

Another tactic that also presents a great photo opportunity is to stand aside while your bridal party ushers your guests outside while distributing confetti. You can then stage a fun confetti run straight to your car.

Bride afer ceremony with guests outside of church
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
Bride and groom going through the receiving line
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer

Photographs with the bridal party on arrival at the venue

Have your bridal party follow you straight back to the venue after the ceremony, and take your photographs with them as soon as you arrive before checking into rooms etc. Once you have everyone together, the bridal party photographs don’t take long, and then everyone is free to relax and enjoy the drinks reception.

Bridal party in the woods
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
Bridal Party at gates
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
Bridal party with two groomsmen
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer

Limiting family portraits

Family portraits are important and are invariably photos that become more precious with time. But they are best kept to the immediate family when possible, so that time isn’t wasted trying to find a stray uncle or cousin.

Larger groupings of the extended family can be taken informally during the drinks reception or before the dancing kicks in, with a family member responsible for rounding everyone up. In this way, the wedding couple can simply jump into the photo when everyone else is ready. This works really well for groups of friends too.

small group of women at a wedding reception
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
large group of wedding guests in three rows, at a wedding reception
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer

Portraits at dinner call

It takes about 30 minutes for the venue to seat your guests for dinner before you are asked to make your entrance, this is a great opportunity to grab some portraits together.

It is important to communicate to the wedding coordinator at the venue that you will be taking photos at this time, and ensure you’re ready and available as soon as they want to call you into dinner.

Bride and groom portrait on a theater stage
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
groom embracing his bride from behind
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
Bride and groom walking through a field
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
groom holding the face of his bride
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
bride and groom sitting on a bench taking a selfie
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer

Summer sunsets

Take advantage of long summer evenings to capture some romantic sunset images. Let your photographer know in advance this is something you would like to do, and they can grab you after the meal or between courses when the light is good.

Bride and groom embracing in front of a sunset
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer

Nighttime portraits

Even on the winter evenings, your photographer should be able to capture beautiful portraits using the available light or their own lighting equipment.

By planning with your photographer to utilise different pockets of time for photos throughout the wedding day, you can have a gallery of images that tell the story of your unique day.

Brind and groom at the top of a stairs
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
Bride and groom running through courtyard at night
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
bride and groom at the bottom of the stairs holding each other
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
Bride and groom at night under sparklers with guests
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
bride and groom kissing in front of wedding cake
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
Bride and groom jumping on a bed
Tara Aherne — IPPVA Wedding Photographer
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Find out more about Tara Aherne

Member profile

https://www.taraaherne.com

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