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Why should I consider a day-after portrait session?

Posted in Resources by Justin Hankins

Day-after portrait session at Cape Hatteras in the Outer Banks of North Carolina - OBX

Have you ever seen photos of a wedding couple in a uniquely beautiful location (like standing on top of a mountain), and wondered, “How the hell did they have time to climb a frickin’ mountain on their wedding day??” Well most likely, they didn’t! They probably took those photos during a pre- or post-wedding portrait session. If you’ve got the time, a post-wedding, day-after portrait session offers a lot of advantages.

What’s a Day-After Photo Session?

As the name implies, it’s when you pick a day after your wedding, get dressed back up in your wedding attire, and head out for pictures of the two of you in a location where you have complete control over the experience. For destination weddings, this is usually the following day. But some couples elect to do them weeks/months following the wedding day. Sometimes even before the wedding!

There are a few reasons why these sessions are advantageous:

1. Scheduling ease

As you begin scheduling your wedding day, you’ll soon discover there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for everything. Let’s say you’re getting married in a church downtown, but want to include pictures on a family farm out in the country. If you try to do them on the same day (and plenty people do!), you’ll probably have to schedule a long (expensive) cocktail hour and/or make your guests sit around, twiddling their thumbs. Additionally, cramming so much into one day makes your wedding day feel like a photo shoot, not the special experience you probably want.


“Yo, Bride! I’m really happy for you. And I’mma let you finish your day. But let’s pause everything for several hours in order to hike up a mountain across town for some totes epic wedding photos, bro.”


Scheduling a post-wedding portrait session allows you to scale back your day-of ambition and keep things simple. Then, when you’ve got the luxury of time on your side, you can pursue something a little more adventurous.

Vista de la Luz Wedding - Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres Wedding Photos

W&M’s Isla Mujeres wedding at Vista de La Luz near Cancun, Mexico was beautiful enough by itself, but we also incorporated the cliffs of Isla Mujeres into their collection of photos the following day.

2. Weather Insurance

Even if you’ve selected the location of your dreams for your wedding day celebration, the weather plays an unpredictable role in how it looks. By electing to schedule a day-after session, you wrestle back some control over the elements and have the luxury of utilizing your preferred location on your own terms.

Norfolk Botanical Garden Rotunda - Hurricane Wedding
Norfolk Botanical Garden Rotunda - Hurricane Wedding Day-After Session

T&J’s Norfolk Botanical Garden wedding was completely rained out by Hurricane Sandy, so we reconvened a few weeks later to take additional portraits during the autumn foliage.

3. Wedding Gown Peace of Mind

Even the most relaxed bride is still reasonably concerned about making sure her wedding gown doesn’t get dirty. So how do you keep your gown clean if you’re going off-road for your portraits? A day-after session is one approach, as it totally eliminates the worry about getting your dress dirty before/on the wedding day (and translates into happier looking photos 🙂 ).

Moreover, if you’ve selected a location off the beaten path that requires a lot of hiking, doing it on another day allows you to carry the gown and put it on once you arrive, rather than, say, scaling a mountain in your Louboutins.

Neon Graveyard Wedding Photos - Las Vegas
Neon Graveyard Wedding Photos - Las Vegas
Neon Graveyard Wedding Photos - Las Vegas

N&A’s Flamingo wedding in Las Vegas was traditional and classy. The following day, we met for some Neon Graveyard wedding photos in a setting that was more unforgiving with the dust and risks.

I’m a photographer who loves the opportunity to play, so I’m obviously biased toward exploring opportunities to take exciting, new, unique photos. But I never want your wedding day to feel like a photo shoot and, understandably, not too many couples wish to sacrifice their time with family and friends in order to take pictures all day.

The day-after session is one compromise to help you take photos that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, with the additional bonus of insulating you from weather concerns and keeping your wedding attire fresh.

Congratulations on your engagement!

Hi, there! My name is Justin Hankins, and I’d like to photograph the happiest day of your life. I have a reputation for taking incredible care of couples just like you, and can’t wait to surprise and delight you!

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