The Comprehensive Wedding Day Shot List

You’ve hired a professional photographer and have every last detail planned to perfection. On a day as important as your wedding day, there’s a lot of different things going on at any given time. There are a lot of people involved (bridesmaids, maid of honor, groomsmen, best man, parents, guests, vendors…) and you’ll be expected to arrive at different places at certain times. Your wedding photographer is an experienced professional who will know when and how to get the “must-have” photos and will most likely be working from his own standard shot list, whether it’s written down or stored mentally. Make sure you touch base with your photographer ahead of time regarding any special photos that you want. If possible, ask him for a copy of his shot list so you can fill in the blanks. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of wedding day photos that many couples will want. These pictures showcase fond memories and emotions on the most special day of your life, so make sure you get the ones that are most important to you.

Getting Ready

  • Wedding dress on a hanger

must have wedding photos

Photo Credit: Catherine Hall Studios

  • Bride applying makeup
  • Bride getting her hair done
  • Bridal party or mother helping bride into her dress

essential wedding day photos

Photo Credit: Annie Steele

  • Putting on the veil
  • Candid shots of the bridal party getting ready
  • Full length mirror shot of the bride in her dress
  • Bridesmaids’ reactions to the bride in her dress

bridesmaid reactions must have wedding photos

Photo Credit: Bridal Guide

  • Groom tying his tie and putting on his shoes
  • Groom pinning boutonniere onto his father
  • Father pinning boutonniere on the groom

Posed Photos

  • Bride by herself
  • Bride with her bridesmaids

bride and bridesmaids

Photo Credit: True Photography Weddings

  • Bride with her family
  • Groom with his groomsmen
  • Groom and his family
  • Bride and groom with bride’s family
  • Bride and groom with groom’s family
  • Bride and groom with both sets of parents
  • Bride and groom with bridesmaids
  • Bride and groom with groomsmen
  • Bride and groom with flower girl and ring bearer

bride groom ring bearer flower girl

Photo Credit: Chris Moncus Photography

  • Bride and groom with the maid of honor and best man
  • Bride and groom with whole wedding party
  • Bride and groom in many different poses

must have wedding pictures

Photo Credit: Ashfall Mixed Media

romantic wedding photo

Photo Credit: Ashlee Raubach Photography

wedding day photos

Photo Credit: Browne Photography

The Ceremony

  • Shots of the exterior and interior of the venue
  • Groom walking down the aisle with mother

groom walking mother down the aisle

Photo Credit: Anna & Spencer Photography

  • Close-up of groom while waiting for his bride
  • Bridal party walking down the aisle
  • Grandparents walking down the aisle
  • Ring bearer and flower girl walking down the aisle

ring bearer flower girl wedding photos

Photo Credit: Leah Haydock Photography

  • Bride and her escort waiting to walk down the aisle
  • Close-up of bride waiting to make her entrance
  • Bride and her escort walking down the aisle
  • Bride’s escort giving her away
  • Bride and groom at the altar, exchanging vows

bride groom exchanging vows

Photo Credit: Samantha Cook Photography

  • Parents watching the ceremony
  • Wide shot of the couple from the guests’ point of view
  • Wide shot of the guests from the couple’s point of view
  • Bride and groom exiting the ceremony

wedding photos list

Photo Credit: The Studio B Photography

Reception Pictures

wedding photo check list

Photo Credit: Peachwik

  • Close-ups of friends and family making toasts
  • Bride and groom visiting guests
  • The first dance

first dance wedding day photos

Photo Credit: Jay Moore Photography

  • Father-daughter dance and mother-son dance
  • Guests dancing and mingling
  • Bouquet toss

bouquet toss

Photo Credit: Lena Hervey Bay Celebrant

  • Garter toss
  • Newlywed’s getaway vehicle
  • The grand exit

grand exit wedding reception

Photo Credit: Southern Weddings

Detail Shots

bridal bouquet

Photo Credit: Hudson Nichols Photography

table settings detail shots

Photo Credit: Jared Wilson Photography

  • The cake or dessert table
  • Champagne glasses and bar or custom alcohol menu
  • Special decorations
  • Hors d’oeuvres and specialty drinks

signature cocktails wedding photo

Photo Credit: Kevin Barre Photography

Once in a Lifetime Moments

  • Father’s first look of the bride in her gown

father first look bride

Photo Credit: Mikkel Paige Photography

  • Groom’s first look of the bride in her gown
  • Cutting the cake
  • Groom’s reaction as she walks down the aisle

grooms reaction to bride

Photo Credit: Rowell Photography

  • Close-up of hands as rings are exchanged
  • The first kiss

wedding first kiss

Photo Credit: Ian Bogan Studios

There is an unlimited number of wedding day photos, both posed and candid, that can be taken. As you scroll through this list, think about which ones you absolutely must have. A bride’s must have shot list will vary, so it’s important to communicate with your photographer which photos are the most important to you. For example, you can ask your photographer to take formal and candid shots of you with your maid of honor, or ask him to document the centerpiece that you made by hand. This list is a great place to start, but it’s not a definitive list by any means. Every wedding is unique – feel free to add poses and shots that you know you’ll want. Just be sure to tell your photographer ahead of time!

For the printable version of the “Comprehensive Wedding Day Shot List”, download the PDF here.

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Article Name
The Comprehensive Wedding Day Shot List
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Don't miss the important moments with this comprehensive wedding day shot list. Work with your photographer to make sure your memories are captured!
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2 Responses

  1. Jay Farrell says:

    If I were given a list like that, I’d want to stab myself in the eye with a plastic spork or something….I get the premise of shot lists, but the scales can quickly tip from organized to micro managing. It should be instinct and common sense to an experienced wedding photographer to get key elements of the day. No matter what lists are composed, you cannot make a wedding day flow exactly how you envision it, or create emotions in other people. From the perspective of a photojournalist style wedding photographer, more is lost with a list like that because the focus will be on the list.

  2. Just discovered your website and blog – great work.

    Will be back again! Irwin

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