Wedding Photo Checklist: Your Must-Have Photos

We know what you’re thinking – “Do I really need a wedding photo checklist?” The answer is a resounding yes, but you don’t need to stash it in your pocket and repeatedly pull it out and tick things off during the day! Exactly what you’re hoping to see in your wedding photographs, and you can get busy enjoying your day safe in the knowledge that it’s all being taken care of by a professional. Where, six months after the wedding, they find themselves thinking, “I wish I had a picture of me and my Aunty Mary/pal Jen/Grandad etc.” To make things even easier, we’ve made a free checklist for you to download and print!

Photo by Hillary Muelleck

Of course, every good wedding photographer (we can recommend a whole bunch!) will have their own list of important moments to capture as everybody has different styles, but it’s still a good idea to create your own, particularly if there are key elements or people you want to get a shot of. Talk to your photographer about whether or not they take a shot listdepending on their style, some prefer to capture on the fly, while others may have their own template.

We’ve put together a handy list of our own to use as a starting point, but it’s worth having a think about any extra shots that you might like to add, too. For example, you might want a group portrait with your college pals, a photograph of the amazing signage that your bridesmaid made, a snapshot of the mischief going on in the DIY photobooth, or a picture of the table plan that you labored for hours over !

Of course you probably won’t want all of these depending on how you’ve planned the day and who you have invited, and many apply to you and your other half. This list is really a template for you to expand upon and edit as you see fit! We’re just covering all the bases.

Before the Big Day

  • Engagement Shoot/Love Shoot – this is a great opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera and get to know your photographer.

Sarah Russ Photography

Wedding Day: Pre-Ceremony Wedding Photo Checklist

Getting Ready

  • Shot of wedding invitation
  • Bride(s) and bridesmaids/man getting their hair and makeup done
  • Dress hanging, jewelry laid out, shoes etc.
  • Bouquets and buttonholes/corsages
  • Flatlay of flowers, stationery, accessories, ring and shoes
  • Bride(s) putting on dress/veil with help from mother of the bride or bridesmaids
  • Bridal party having fun or sharing a toast
  • Close up of dress details
  • Putting on jewelry
  • Putting on shoes
  • Close up of bride holding bouquet
  • Mother and bride portrait
  • Father and bride portrait
  • Family shots
  • Bride(s) spending a moment alone in full look
  • Bridal party walking down stairs/leaving the house
  • Bride and father in wedding car/walking to ceremony
  • Groom(s) and groomsmen getting ready
  • Groom(s) spending moment alone
  • Groom’s party having a pint
  • Wedding ring shots

Photo by Martina California via One Fab Day

First Look

Of course this is entirely optional, but many couples choose to see each other before the ceremony as a way of spending a few quiet moments together and/or banishing any nerves, and so, they ask their wedding photographer to capture the moment. Check out our post on First Look Photos for the full lowdown. But the first look shot isn’t just for couples. We’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve cried looking at first-look photos in our Real Weddings between the bride and her father, grandparents and her children. It’s a beautiful way to capture their emotional reaction.

  • Couple alone for first look
  • Bridal party reaction if couple enter together
  • Father of the bride
  • Grandfather/parents of the bride
  • Prank first look (groomsman dressed as bride)
  • Children of the bride first look
  • Mother of the groom first look

The Trip to the Ceremony/Venue

  • Bride(s) and father/mother
  • Bride(s) and bridesmaids/man/flower girls/page boys
  • Groom(s) and groomsmen/page boys
  • Shot of the wedding car or other transport
Interior ceremonial ceremony room chairs guests roses wedding

Photo by Studio Brown via One Fab Day

Wedding Day: Wedding Ceremony Photo Checklist

Some churches prefer not to have photos during the ceremony, particularly within the mass, so check with your celebrant in advance to see what their policy is.

  • Shots of empty venue/church, including altar, flowers, interior and exterior details
  • Groom and groomsmen waiting inside venue/church
  • Guests outside and inside church
  • Ushers handing out program
  • Bride(s) arriving in wedding car
  • Bride(s) stepping out of car
  • Bride(s) and bridesmaids at back of venue/church
  • Bridal party entrance
  • Bride(s) walking up the aisle
  • Groom’s reaction
  • Father/mother/relative giving bride away
  • Exchanging of vows
  • Lighting of unity candle
  • Ring bearer
  • Exchanging of the rings
  • Participants such as readers, the officiant, musicians etc.
  • The first kiss as a married couple, and the moment after
  • Signing the register
  • View of guests from the front
  • The recessional/couple walking back down the aisle
  • The recessional/couple walking back down the aisle from balcony
  • Newlywed shot
  • Confetti throwing
  • Greeting guests outside venue
  • Couple in the back seat of wedding car

Photo by Conor Brennan Photography via One Fab Day

Wedding Day: Post-Ceremony Wedding Photo Checklist

Most couples set aside time after the ceremony for their wedding portraits, although it’s becoming more and more popular for couples who have a First Look to take them before the ceremony. Either way, your portrait session will probably take between 40 minutes and two hours, depending on the location and the shots you require. Talk to your photographer if time is a priority for you. Make sure to prepare a list of all the people you want in the portraits, as well as the specific combinations you require. It’s also a good idea to ask a close friend outside of the bridal party to work with the photographer on rounding people up.

Couple Shots

  • Portraits of the couple alone
  • Portraits of bride (s)/groom (s) on their own

Bridal Party

  • Couple with bridesmaids/groomsmen
  • Couple with entire wedding party
  • Bride(s) with bridesmaids/maid of honor
  • Groom(s) and groomsmen/best man
  • Couple with any children in the wedding party
  • Couple with any pets at wedding

Photo by Susie Kelly Photography via One Fab Day

Family

  • Couple with each of each set of parents
  • Couple with both sets of parents
  • Couple with siblings
  • Couple with their children
  • Couple with close family members

Informal shots

  • Shots with friends
  • Shots of guests eating, drinking, and chatting
  • Any specific groups of friends, eg. college pals, school mates, team mates

Photo by Jonathan Ryder Photography via One Fab Day

Wedding Day: Wedding Reception Photo Checklist

If someone has made something for your reception – like a friend who baked the cake or an aunt who stitched the bunting – it’s a nice idea to add that to the list to you can give them a photo of their handy work!

  • The reception space set up, before room fills up
  • Details and room decor shots, including table settings, place cards, favorites, centrepieces etc.
  • Wedding cake detail shots
  • Couple arriving
  • Toasts and speeches
  • Entertainment (magicians, dancers etc)
  • Cutting the cake
  • The first dance
  • Bride(s) dancing with father/groom(s) dancing with mother
  • Couple mingling with guests
  • Guests dancing
  • Musicians, singers, wedding band and DJ
  • Throwing the bouquet
  • Taking off the garter

Photo by This Modern Love via One Fab Day

Of course, getting the wedding photographs of your dreams also requires you to find a wedding photographer whose work and style you adore, so it’s important to devote time and effort to finding the right person for the job! Our list of recommended wedding photographers is a great place to start, and we’ve also got loads of tips on how to choose your wedding photographer in this helpful post.

Your free wedding photo checklist printable:

Wedding Photo Checklist

Featured image credit: Anete Lusina via Fstoppers

Love wedding checklists? You’ll find loads of them right here!

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