List of Must-Have Wedding Photos

Your wedding day is filled with countless precious moments. Captured in photographs for posterity, they give you something to look back to down the road. They are filled with memories to cherish forever. They remind both you and your spouse about how your love grew through the years. They inspire your children and grandchildren to treasure relationships.

By Eivan’s Team

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This is why creating a wedding photo list should be part of your wedding planning checklist. You want to capture as many special moments as possible during your big day. But finding out which ones to take can be daunting. So, we’ve gathered a list of shots we think should be on your wedding shot list. Go over this list of must-have wedding photos and choose the ones you can adapt to your wedding theme.

Must-Have Photos in Your Wedding Photo Checklist

Engagement Shoot

Some couples forego the engagement shoot but we recommend you have one. This will be a great opportunity for you to be more comfortable with your photographer and in front of the cameras.

However, we’re not listing specific shots for your engagement shoot. You can unleash your creativity here and do whatever you want. Your goal should be to come up with a set of photos that would reflect your personality as a couple and exude the love you have for each other.

Pre-Ceremony Shots

Your wedding photographer should be able to arrive early to cover the preparations on the wedding day itself. They’d need to get detail shots before everyone gets busy getting preened and dressed.

At the Bridal Suite

The bridal suite is the busiest area during wedding day preps. You’d want your photographers to capture the excitement of your entourage as they help you become the most beautiful bride.

  • Bridal gown. Hang it on a padded hanger in the wardrobe, drape it over a chair or bedpost, spread it on the bed, or put it on a tailor’s dummy. Make sure you have a picture of your wedding dress before you put it on.
  • Bridal accessories. Get some closeup shots of your bridal shoes, garter, something borrowed, something blue, bouquet, and veil. If your veil has an elaborate design, ask your photographer to focus on the intricate details.
  • Bride, maid of honor, and bridesmaids getting dressed and applying makeup.
  • Maid of honor and bridesmaids doing the bride’s hair and makeup. Get some photos of your bridal party helping you get ready to capture their excitement too.
  • Bride with parents. It would be wonderful to have a picture of a touching moment with your parents. Have your mom help you put on your veil or button your wedding dress. Your dad can give you a sweet embrace or look lovingly at his little daughter all grown up.
  • Bride with all the women in the bridal party. Get several images of you and your entourage before, during, and after getting dressed and made up.
  • Bride with flower girls. If your flower girls are getting ready in the bridal suite too, take a few pictures of you helping each other.
  • Bridal portrait. This is a full-length shot of the bride resplendent in her wedding dress. Typical shots are the bride looking at herself in the mirror or peeking outside the window. Choose a style you’d be most comfortable in.
  • Bride on the way to the venue. Be it inside a limo, going in a spruced-up car, or walking down the stairs, get a shot of the bride on the move.

The Groom and His Men

Your groom must have his share of the limelight on your wedding day. It’s best if your photographer has a second photographer with his own team to cover everything that’s happening on the groom’s side. If he doesn’t, he might end up having to shuttle back and forth and miss some candid moments.

  • Groom getting ready with the groomsmen and Dad.
  • Groom’s parents. Have his mom fix his tie or his dad whisper some last-minute advice to him.
  • Groom with siblings, his best man, and with all the groomsmen.
  • Groomsmen putting on boutonnieres or bowties.
  • Groom on the way to the venue. Same as the bride, take some pics of the groom on his way to the wedding venue. A cute way to get some laughs is to take a picture of him hailing a cab. It would be a great contrast to your picture inside a limo.

First Look

Some couples prefer seeing each other the first time at the wedding ceremony. Others want to have a first look before they head off together to the wedding venue. Let your photographer know if you want to have first look photos and where you want to take them.

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Ceremony Venue

It would be nice to have photos of your ceremony site all set for the wedding before the guests arrive. Get some detail shots here as well.

  • A landscape shot of the entire venue.
  • Rows of seats.
  • Floral arrangements on the aisle.
  • Altar or canopy from the back before and during the ceremony.

The Ceremony

Undoubtedly, the wedding ceremony is the most important part of your big day. During this time, your wedding photographers must have a keen eye for priceless expressions of joy and love. They must also be quick to capture them on camera.

  • Guests arriving at the wedding venue
  • Ushers escorting the guests to their seats
  • Groom waiting for the bride. Catch expressions and gestures that show his emotions.
  • Each member of the entourage as they walk down the aisle during the processional.
  • Wedding party waiting at the altar.
  • Bride getting ready for her grand entrance.
  • Bride walking down the aisle.
  • Groom meeting the bride at the end of the aisle.
  • Lots of pictures of the bride and groom at the altar throughout the ceremony.
  • Wide shot of the wedding guests taken from the couple’s point of view.
  • Wide shot of the entire venue from the back.
  • Wedding traditions such as lighting the unity candle, breaking the glass, and jumping the broom.
  • Exchange of vows. Close up photos of the bride and the groom and several shots of the couple looking at each other tenderly.
  • Exchange of rings. Close up of your hands as you exchange rings, several shots of the two of you looking at each other, and a few shots of you showing the rings on your fingers to the crowd. Don’t forget a few shots of your ring bearer.
  • I do. You’d want amazing photos of this very moment. Make sure you get a professional wedding photographer who can make images speak emotions.
  • First kiss. You might need to ask your officiant beforehand to step out of the frame for a bit so your photographer can get a great shot of your first kiss.
  • Guests. When you’re at the altar, you won’t be able to see the reactions of your guests. So, have a second photographer take lots of pictures of your guests throughout the ceremony too.
  • Before the recessional. Some couples take pictures with the wedding party, immediate family, and closest friends before leaving the wedding venue. You can do this before the recessional or during cocktail hour.
  • Recessional. No wedding photo album is complete without a picture of the newlyweds being showered with confetti. There’s bound to be lots of hugging, laughing, and crying right after this so ask your photographer to watch out for candid moments.

During Cocktail Hour

After your wedding ceremony, hold a cocktail hour for your guests to mingle with each other while waiting to welcome you at the reception. Take this time to sneak away with your main photographer for some creative shots. You can also have your wedding party and immediate family members with you and take the usual group photos. Your second photographer can cover the cocktail hour and take pictures of your guests as they sip their cocktails and chat.

Reception Venue

Before guests arrive at the reception venue, there should already be a photographer onsite. This would enable them to take more detailed photos of the venue and other wedding elements.

  • Venue sans guests. Ask your photographer to take pictures of the venue and the wedding decorations before it fills up with guests.
  • Table setting. You’ve most likely spent hours designing your table setting so it deserves a spot on the list. Have a set of photos with the place cards, centerpieces, champagne glasses, and an aerial shot of the tables.
  • Wedding cake. Get a shot of the wedding cake before you cut it. Taking this picture before guests arrive gives your photographer more space and time to take awesome pics of the whole cake and its details.

The Reception

Some wedding photographers won’t stay the entire time during the reception especially if your contract has specific terms for the number of service hours they will provide. This shouldn’t be a problem as long as they are able to capture the reception program and part of the wedding celebration.

  • Newlyweds arriving at the venue. Make your entrance dramatic. Talk with your photographer beforehand to decide the best entrance possible based on the venue layout.
  • Toasts. Close up of friends and family making toasts is standard but also have some shots of the guests listening to the guests and clinking their glasses.
  • First dance. Your first dance as a couple deserves a page on the wedding album. Add to this a few photos of you dancing with your parents and your parents dancing with each other.
  • Wedding traditions. Depending on your culture, you might have several wedding traditions performed during the reception. Cake cutting, garter toss, and bouquet toss are quite common. These could also include money dance, chair lifting, hora dance, and others.
  • Kids playing or dancing. Kids are adorable whatever they do. If you have kids in your entourage or allowed guests to bring their kids, have the photographers take pictures of them too.
  • Musicians or DJ. Whether you hired a live wedding band or a DJ, get photos of them in action and the lively dance floor filled with happy guests.
  • Guests enjoying the party. Let your photographer have free rein capturing guests having the time of their lives during the party. Have pictures of them dancing, chatting with each other, sipping wine, and enjoying the party.
  • Last kiss. If your photographer can stay until the very end of the reception, get one last smooch captures before ending your big day. Get some pics of you and your spouse waving from your getaway car.

Wedding Photography That Matches Your Vision

Professional wedding photographers have their own templates for wedding shots. However, they will still be open to creative photo ideas from their clients. If you don’t want to regret not having certain pictures of specific moments on your wedding day, it’s always best to have your own shot list. Give this to your photographer to have them included in their template.

The quality of your wedding photographs will depend on the style of your photographer. So, it’s important that you choose the one who can work with the vision you have for your wedding day.

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