Every Photo to Add to Your Shot List

Every Photo to Add to Your Shot List


Share this list with your photographer to make sure you capture every special moment on your big day.

<p>Photo by <a href=&quot;https://normanandblake.com/&quot;>Norman &amp; Blake</a></p>

From exchanging vows with your partner to hitting the dance floor with your friends and family, your wedding is made up of so many special moments you’ll never want to forget. Once your big day comes to an end, looking at your wedding photos will transport you back to that celebration and help keep the memories alive. That’s why creating a shot list with the moments and details you want to document during your nuptials is an important part of the wedding planning process.

Although most photographers have a standard shot list that’ll they use to guide their coverage of the day, they’ll always ask their couples to weigh in and share any must-have snaps. To help you create your own, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of pictures every couple should have in their photo album, so you cover your bases and feel more prepared. That being said, it’s important to use this as a general outline rather than following it to a T. Since wedding photographers are experts who know how to keep an eye out for meaningful moments, trust that they’ll get the best shots—even if they’re not on paper. “If the photographer has to stop to look at a detailed shot list during each section of the day, a lot of moments could be missed and the wedding photos can look contrived and staged,” photographer Caroline Lima shares.

  • Caroline Lima is the owner and lead photographer of Caroline Lima Photography. She’s based in San Antonio, Texas and has 12 years of experience shooting weddings.

  • Minh Cao is a Philadelphia-based wedding photographer and the owner of Du Soleil Photographie, which she launched in 2015.

This checklist is also an extensive one, so work with your photographer before your nuptials to choose the ones you’ll want to prioritize. You can also add must-have details that reflect your unique celebration, whether it’s a sentimental message stitched inside of your wedding dress or a godparent officiating your ceremony. “Communicating this will prepare your photographer to capture whatever emotions—foreseen and unforeseen—that emanate from what is most special,” Minh Cao of Du Soleil Photographie says.

Ahead, the ultimate wedding photography checklist; review it with your soon-to-be spouse, then talk it over with your photographer as a starting point. If you do, you’ll end up with an album of wedding photos you absolutely love.

Related:The 30 Wedding Photos You Need to Take

Detail Shots

The little details represent your relationship and give your wedding character, so make sure that you get them on camera. From your stationery suite to your wedding shoes, here is every detail to account for.

  • The engagement ring

  • The wedding rings

  • The ring box

  • The invitation suite flat lay, including save-the-dates, invitations, and envelopes

  • The wedding vow booklets

  • Programs

  • Welcome bags if you have them

  • Shots of the venue

  • The room where you’re getting ready

  • The bride’s wedding dress suspended from a hanger

  • Any jewelry, like earrings, bracelets, or necklaces

  • The bride’s wedding shoes

  • The bride’s perfume

  • Hair accessories, if applicable

  • The bridal bouquet

  • The groom’s suit or tuxedo

  • The pocket square

  • The tie or bow tie

  • The boutonnière

  • Cufflinks

  • The groom’s shoes

  • The groom’s cologne

  • Flower girl baskets

  • Corsages

  • Any other sentimental items, such as an heirloom or a bouquet charm

Getting-Ready Photos

Capture your pre-ceremony excitement and all of the important people who helped you prepare for the moment you say “I do” with these getting-ready shots.

  • The bride getting her hair and makeup done

  • The bridesmaids getting their hair and makeup done

  • A shot of the bride and bridesmaids in their getting-ready attire, whether they’re drinking champagne or just having fun

  • The bride getting dressed with the mother of the bride, maid of honor, or another wedding party member providing assistance

  • A full-length shot of the bride in her wedding dress

  • Any bridal party or parent first look photos

  • Emotional shots of the bride with siblings, friends, or parents

  • The bride with her wedding party

  • The grooming process

  • The groom adding finishing touches, such as putting on his tie or cufflinks or buttoning up his shirt

  • The groom’s mother attaching a boutonniere

  • The groom getting ready while his groomsmen assist

  • A full-length shot of the groom in his wedding attire

  • A group shot of the groom and groomsmen in their wedding attire

  • Touching moments between the groom and his parents, siblings, or best man

First Look Photos

Although a first look isn’t a requirement, here is every photo you’ll want to capture if you decide to debut your outfits to one another before the ceremony. “The first look with the couple is all about their reactions to each other, so photographs that capture the emotional response is key,” Cao reveals.

  • The groom waiting for the bride

  • The bride walking toward the groom

  • The moment the grand reveal happens

  • The couple’s reactions

  • The couple hugging or kissing after the first look

  • The couple looking at each other

  • The couple holding hands

  • The couple walking next to each other

Ceremony Shots

The ceremony is where the magic happens: the moment the couple is pronounced newlyweds. “The ceremony is the culmination of the day, and the photographs should reflect the intensity of that,” Cao says. Here’s what to add to your checklist.

  • The ceremony setup without the guests on site

  • A close-up shot of the altar

  • A close-up shot of the arrangements that line the aisle

  • Any other unique floral arrangement or decorations

  • Guests entering the site

  • The guests seated

  • The couple’s parents walking down the aisle

  • The groom walking down the aisle

  • The wedding party walking down the aisle

  • The flower girl and ring bearer walking down the aisle

  • The bride walking down the aisle

  • The groom’s reaction to the bride

  • The father of the bride giving his daughter away

  • The couple standing at the altar in front of their officiant

  • A wide shot of the audience during the ceremony

  • Loved ones sharing any special readings

  • The couple exchanging wedding vows

  • The couple exchanging rings

  • The first kiss as a married couple

  • The moment after the couple kisses

  • The recessional

  • The audience’s reactions to ceremony moments

  • The couple leaving the ceremony site

Portraits and Group Shots

After you’ve said “I do” and your guests have headed to cocktail hour, it’s time to take photos as a newly-married couple and with your wedding party and family members. If you’re having a first look, you’ll be able to take these photos before the ceremony, which means you can be at cocktail hour, too!

  • The couple posing together

  • The couple hugging or kissing one another

  • The couple looking at each other

  • The couple walking, holding hands

  • The couple looking out at the sunset or the view

  • The bride with her parents

  • The bride with immediate family

  • The groom with his parents

  • The groom with immediate family

  • The couple with both sets of parents

  • The couple with immediate family from both sides

  • The bride with her bridesmaids

  • The bride with her maid of honor

  • The groom with his groomsmen

  • The groom with his best man

  • The couple with their entire wedding party

Reception Photos

After the ceremony and group photos are over, you can finally let loose and celebrate! Have your photographer capture every decoration and candid moment from your reception. 

  • The exterior of your reception venue

  • The seating chart/escort card display

  • The guest book

  • The bar

  • The lounge area if included

  • A wide shot of the reception space

  • The head table

  • The guest tables

  • The sweetheart table if applicable

  • Close-up shots of decorations on the tables, such as table numbers and centerpieces

  • The place settings

  • The cake and any other desserts

  • The couple making their reception entrance

  • The first dance

  • The couple sitting at the head table

  • A close-up shot of the food

  • The couple and their guests eating dinner

  • Friends and family making toasts and delivering speeches

  • The couple listening to speeches and toasts

  • The couple chatting with their guests

  • The father-daughter dance

  • The mother-son dance

  • The cake cutting

  • Outfit changes

  • The live band or DJ

  • Guests on the dance floor

  • The couple dancing with their guests

  • The bride and groom dancing with each other

  • The couple exiting the reception

  • The couple’s vehicle leaving

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