The Complete Wedding Photography Shoot List

Wedding Photographers have their own style, method, and general way of doing things. That being said, if you are about to get married and discussing photography with the individual you have chosen to capture your special moments—you are absolutely allowed to have input! Photographers like to know what people are hoping to get out of wedding photos, so don’t keep them in the dark if you have some ideas worth sharing. This post is made for couples-to-be and photographers alike. We’ve assembled what we feel is a complete wedding shoot list: the moments, details, and environment that you do not want to miss capturing!

These photos can really be broken into four categories: (1) Getting ready, (2) The “First Look,” (3) Wedding Party Photos, and (4) Important moments throughout the day. There are several photos to be captured in each of these categories, but this is helpful to conceptualize in terms of the flow and schedule of a wedding day. Looking at these four categories can also help you to prioritize what is the most important in each part for you as a photographer and/or couple. There are some things you just do not want to risk missing!

Getting Ready!

There are a lot of opportunities for awesome photography before the wedding begins. Here are just some of the different images you can capture as people get ready for the big day:

 

  • Bride’s bouquet

  • Bridesmaid’s details

  • Wedding dress on a hanger

  • Wedding invitation

  • Engagement ring and wedding bands

  • Bride’s jewelry

  • Bride getting makeup done

  • Putting on the dress

  • Putting on the bride’s veil

  • Groom tying his tie  

  • Leaving for the ceremony

  • Bridal party having champagne/breakfast

The first look is an important moment in a wedding! Remember that BEFORE the first look you can get pictures of the bride and groom alone, with their family and bridal party as well. Here are some ideas of photos you can capture BEFORE and during the first look.

Before the Bride and Groom See Each Other

 

 

Bride Alone (Once She is Ready):

  • Alone

  • With parents

  • Bride with dad

  • Bride with mom

  • Immediate family

  • Siblings

  • Female generational shot: Bride, mom, sister(s), grandmother

  • With mom and mother-in-law

  • With mother-in-law

  • With bridesmaids

  • With maid of honor

  • Flower girl

Groom Alone (Once He is Ready):

  • Alone

  • With parents

  • Groom with dad

  • Groom with mom

  • Immediate family

  • Siblings

  • Male generational shot: Groom, father, brother(s), grandfather

  • With dad and father-in-law

  • With father-in-law

  • With groomsmen

  • With best man

  • Ring bearer

The First Look:

  • Before wedding couple see each other

  • The first moment (expressions on both individuals)

  • Embracing and going together to wedding

  • Some couples decide to have their first look at the ceremony, so you may capture during ceremony photos

Other Shots to Capture:

  • Architecture & Environment

  • Limos/Transportation to Venue

Wedding Party Photos

Once the bride and groom see each other, you can get group photos of everyone together! Some couples prefer to do this after the ceremony, while others want to take care of capturing these moments in the morning before hand!

 

  • Wedding Couple

  • Couple with bride’s immediate family

  • Couple with bride’s parents

  • Couple with groom’s immediate family   

  • Couple with groom’s parents

  • Couple with both sets of parents

  • Couple with both immediate families

  • Couple with all siblings

  • Couple with all grandparents

  • Couple with extended families

  • Bride, groom, maid of honor, best man

  • Bride, groom, flower girl, ring bearer

  • Bride with groomsmen

  • Groom with bridesmaids

  • Couple and full wedding party

Important Moments

Now that we have gone through a lot of the posed wedding shots, as well as pre-ceremony and pre-reception shots, let’s go through some of the important moments that you absolutely do not want to miss out on having photos of!

 

  • Environmental shots at ceremony and reception

  • Wedding party and parents walking down the aisle  

  • Bride walking down the aisle

  • Groom’s face as he waits/sees her

  • The vows

  • Exchange of rings

  • The first kiss

  • The recessional

  • Signing of marriage certificate

  • Details of tables such as seating-card display, center pieces, etc   

  • Couple’s reception entrance

  • The first dance

  • Father/daughter dance

  • Mother/son dance

  • The toasts

  • The cake cutting

  • Bouquet and garter toss

  • Dancing and reception festivities

  • Couple’s departure

The Takeaway

There are so many important moments to capture on a wedding day. We hope this list (with some of our favorite photo examples) helps you–either as a photographer, or as a wedding couple–create your own wedding shoot list, and add whatever you feel are important moments we missed! Remember that there are certain things that may change for individual weddings, for example, the photography groups and wedding preparations in a same-sex couple’s wedding, or perhaps in the case of a couple not wanting to see each other before the ceremony. If you are a photographer, be flexible and do your best to listen to the needs of the client! If you are preparing to get married, make sure you communicate what is most-important to your photographer!

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