Essential Wedding Photography Shot List

The day you formally declare your love for your beloved partner is an unbelievably momentous day. You must have put an incredible amount of time, effort, and energy into planning your wedding. Your big day will be filled with a lot of memorable occasions, and there will be so many heartwarming moments that you will regret missing. Be it the snap of bridal accessories that you labored for months over, the innate happiness of the “I do” moment, or the farewell moment that makes everyone’s hearts stir. Every single moment of your wedding is precious and should be captured because, at the end of the day, your wedding pictures are the one thing that will last a lifetime. 

The photo of you holding hands with your partner brings back fond memories. However, is your photographer aware of all the crucial shots you most certainly want to be taken by them? Even though the photography pros you hire for your fab day have an idea of the must-have wedding shots, it is best to have your own wedding photo checklist to ensure that you don’t miss anything that matters the most. Moreover, if you have specifics in mind, it’s important to convey them to your photographer. We have compiled a list of essential wedding photography shots for your reference to help you create your own. Scroll down to see some of the must-have shots, and use this as a general outline to make your own checklist and share it with your photographer.

Snapshots of the Details

Are you unsure of where to start? Start with the finer details, right from the shot of the invitation suite to the wedding look essentials. The accessories you choose for your wedding day are special, and you spend a lot of time and effort selecting them, so be sure you get a good picture of them. Some key detail shots to consider include:

  • Wedding invitation suite
  • Passing keepsakes like jewellery from parents or grandparents
  • Accessories like wedding shoes, the veil, hair accessories, jewellery, cufflinks, boutonnières, corsages, etc
  • Handwritten letters or gifts
  • Shots of wedding rings
  • The bride and groom’s wedding dresses
  • The close-up shots of the bridal bouquet

The Beauty of Getting-Ready Moments

groom getting ready photoshoot

The excitement in the wedding morning is something you should never leave out. Whether it’s photos of your girls all dolled up for your wedding or candid wedding photography of you sipping mimosas with them, the memories of the hours before your wedding are inestimably precious! The “getting-ready” shots are a perfect way to capture all the excitement and fun of your wedding day morning. So, you shouldn’t miss these shots:

  • The wedding morning excitement 
  • An insta-worthy shot of the bride and her friends jumping on the bed 
  • Bridesmaids in matching robes
  • The champagne shot
  • Bridal hair and makeup shots
  • A photo of the bride being lovingly zipped up by her mom
  • Some breathtaking shots of the veil (including a through-the-veil shot too)
  • Full-length shot of the bride/groom in wedding outfit
  • Reading the letter from the about-to-be spouse
  • The frivolous moments of the bride/groom with the maid of honour/best man
  • The portraits of mother and bride/groom
  • The portraits of the father and bride/groom
  • Emotional shots of the bride/groom hugging her/his parents
  • Snaps of the groom getting suited up
  • Shots of buttonhole flower pinned on the groom by the father and vice versa
  • Funny groom and groomsmen moments

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Never Miss the Pre-ceremony Shots

pre wedding photography

You’re probably familiar with the adorable newer wedding day tradition of the “first look”—the bride and groom sneaking away to see each other for the first time on their wedding day and sharing that special, intimate moment together. This is absolutely optional; if you have the patience to wait until the “walk down the aisle” moment to see each other for the first time, then you can compromise on this ultimate shot of that sparkle in your partner’s eyes. But, if you do decide to see your soon-to-be husband on the wedding morning, do not forget to send a word to your photographer about documenting that magical moment. In addition, don’t forget to capture the moments of getting to the venue and walking to the ceremony. The pre-wedding photography shots include but are not limited to:

  • Snaps of the bride and groom stepping out of the house and getting into their limousines or cars for the ceremony (separately)
  • Bride surrounded by the flower girls
  • Photos of the groom with the ring bearer/wedding attendants
  • Shots of the wedding car
  • The groom’s reaction as he sees the bride (first look)
  • The bride and groom’s reactions when they see each other for the first time
  • Couple alone portraits after the first look

The Mandatory Ceremony Shots

Nobody wants to miss out on the heart-tugging moments of the vow exchange, which marks the beginning of a blissful marriage.  It is, in fact, the most memorable moment in one’s life that embraces the soulful, emotional moments with happy smiles, hearty laughs, quivering lips, and teary eyes, all at the same time. Most of the ceremony shots will be brimming with a mixed-platter of emotions. Here is a list of the inevitable wedding photography shots that will help you capture all your treasured memories and emotions.

  • Landscape shots of the ceremony site decor before the guests arrive (including the interior and exterior details of the venue, floral embellishments, and other decor elements)
  • Shots of guests entering the wedding venue
  • The arrival of the bride and bridal party
  • Bride/groom stepping out of the car
  • The groom’s entry with groomsmen
  • The bride walking down the aisle holding hands with her father, mother, or both
  • The groom’s expression while seeing his bride’s grand entrance
  • Giving away the bride moment (the bride leaves her father’s or parents’ hands and joins her groom)
  • Exchanging the vows amidst the loved ones
  • The happy faces of the couple while exchanging the rings
  • Close-up ring shots
  • The signing of the wedding register
  • Readings, candle lighting, and other ceremonial moments
  • First married kiss (keep the officiant out of the shot)
  • Photographs of both sets of parents watching their children’s wedding
  • The elated and dreamy “just married” moments of the couple
  • Shots of the traditional wedding recessional (the newlywed couple and wedding party exit down the aisle)

The Magical Post-ceremony and Reception Shots

post ceremony reception photography

Congratulations! You’re happily married! Now is the time to get some exclusive shots with your friends and families from both sides. Also, make sure to capture the celebratory reception moments. The elaborate decorations, fun moments, belly laughs, hearty giggles, dance moves, toasts, and speeches are all soul-stirring moments in the reception.

  • Newlyweds with the officiant
  • Breathtaking couple portraits (close-up and wide shots)
  • Individual and group portraits with both sets of parents
  • Couple with the wedding party
  • Candid shots of the bride having fun with flower girls
  • Portraits of the couple with their immediate family
  • Snaps of the bride or groom with their grandparents
  • Photographs of the couple flashing their wedding bands
  • Shots of the decorated reception venue before the guests arrive (exterior and interior details)
  • The couple’s first appearance together as husband and wife (the grand wedding reception entrance)
  • Candid shots of guests mingling during the cocktail hours
  • Detailed shots of the reception, including the wedding tablescape, place cards, floral adornments, wedding guest books, centrepieces, champagne glasses, other decor details, etc
  • Shots of the wedding cake
  • Moments of the couple cutting the cake and feeding each other
  • Snapshots of family and friends eating, drinking, and chatting
  • Shots of toasts and speeches and the couple’s reaction to them
  • The tossing of the bouquet/garter
  • Silhouette of the first dance as a married couple
  • The graceful reception exit of newlyweds

Keep in mind that the wedding photography shot list mentioned above is merely a guideline. Every wedding is special and unique, which means it outstretches differently than you anticipated. But that makes your big day extraordinary. Use this article as a guide to craft your list of must-have wedding photography shots.