wedding photographer taking photos of couple
Riley Beard Photography

Your wedding photographer has a big role to play on your big day—capturing the images that you'll treasure for a lifetime. And there are indeed a LOT of important moments to capture. A wedding photography checklist, like the one we're sharing below, will give you an idea of the types of wedding photos you can expect (though, because of time constraints—each photo takes several minutes to take—you probably won't receive every single image on this wedding photo list). 

Note that this wedding photography checklist is mostly for your own reference. If you've hired an experienced wedding photographer (and if not, find one in your area on WeddingWire!), they'll most likely have their own shot list that they refer to. You can feel free to talk to your photographer about the types of images they'll be taking on your wedding day and mention any photo setups that are particularly important to you (a shot with your favorite uncle, for example). But there's probably no need to give this wedding photo checklist to your photog. Trust their talent—they'll make sure you'll have plenty of gorgeous images for your wedding album!

Getting Ready

The pre-wedding prep is one of the most celebratory parts of the big day—make sure your photographer is there to capture the action! 

  • Wedding attire displayed on a clothes hanger
  • To-be-wed getting hair and makeup done with wedding party members (bride with bridal party and/or groom with groomsmen, for example)
  • Posed photos of to-be-wed and wedding party members in their getting-ready attire
  • Candid moments of to-be-wed and wedding party members getting dressed together
  • Mom and/or Dad helping to-be-wed get ready (Mom pinning veil onto bride, Dad helping groom pin on boutonniere, etc.)
  • To-be-weds with honor attendants (bride with maid of honor and groom with best man, for example)
  • Emotional moments of to-be-wed with parents (a "first look" with Mom and/or Dad, for example)
  • Emotional moments of to-be-wed with siblings 
  • To-be-weds traveling to the ceremony 
  • To-be-weds talking to (or crying with!) their parents and siblings right before the ceremony
  • Each to-be-wed right before walking down the aisle

Detail Shots

While most of this wedding photography checklist involves photos of people, don't forget about all of the decor and special items that make your event unique. Many of these photos can be taken before the wedding so your photographer can focus on the people during the main event.

  • Close ups of personal flowers, such as bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, flower girl basket, etc. 
  • Your ceremony and reception venue(s) decorated for your event, both exterior and interior, without people 
  • Ceremony decor, such as altar, aisle markers, signage, and more 
  • Wide and close-up shots of reception room and decor, including centerpieces, table settings, signage, guest book, favor table, etc. 
  • Wedding cake 
  • Food and drink, including signature cocktail, hors d'oeuvres, appetizers, entrees, and more. 
  • Wedding rings
  • Fashion accessories, such as veil, headpiece, shoes, jewelry, cufflinks, tie, garter, etc. 
  • Flat lay of stationery items, such as save-the-date, invitation, escort and place cards, ceremony programs, menu cards, and more (don't forget to bring extra copies for your photographer!)
  • Any special details, such as family heirlooms or nods to loved ones who have passed away

Wedding Ceremony

The wedding ceremony is the emotional high point of your big day—and yes, your photographer captures every meaningful moment.  

  • Guests arriving to ceremony and taking their seats
  • Close-up of to-be-wed waiting for partner's arrival
  • Wedding party processional 
  • To-be-wed processional
  • Couple at the altar
  • Wide shot of guests from couple's point of view
  • Wedding party and family members' reactions during emotional (or funny!) moments
  • Officiant performing ceremony
  • Close-up of couple's faces as they exchange vows
  • Close-ups of hands as wedding rings are exchanged 
  • The kiss
  • Recessional
  • Newlyweds immediately after the ceremony, celebrating with loved ones
  • Couple leaving ceremony site

Wedding Party Portraits

Your crew has been there for you throughout the wedding planning process, and it's time for their moment in the spotlight! Wedding party portraits, as well as family and couple portraits, may be taken at a few different times during the wedding day—most often, either before the wedding or during cocktail hour. Work with your wedding photographer to figure out the best time for these photo sessions to occur. 

  • Newlywed with their side of the wedding party (groom with groomsmen, for example)
  • Couple with each side of the wedding party separately
  • Newlywed with opposite side of wedding party (groom with bridesmaids, for example)
  • Newlywed with each wedding party member on their side
  • Couple with the children in the wedding party (flower girls and ring bearers, if applicable)
  • Couple with entire wedding party without children
  • Couple with entire wedding party including children

Family Photos

Family portraits are a major part of any wedding photography checklist. There are very few events when family members are able to gather together in one place, so it's essential to capture images of your loved ones. And because there are so many different photo configurations and groupings, having a wedding photo list is important here. 

  • Couple separately with their parents and/or stepparents
  • Couple together with each set of parents and/or stepparents separately
  • Couple together with all parents and/or stepparents
  • Couple with each parent and/or stepparent separately
  • Couple with siblings
  • Couple with immediate family members from both sides (parents and siblings)
  • Couple with grandparents
  • Couple with extended family members 
  • Generation photos (shots of the bride with her mother and grandmother, for instance)

Couple Portraits

Perhaps the most important part of this wedding photography checklist—the photos of you and your spouse! Whether you're going for sweet and candid shots or more artful and posed photos, your photographer will work with you to make sure you get those frame-worthy images. 

  • First look (taken before the ceremony)
  • Candid photos of couple together
  • Posed photos of couple together
  • Close up of couple's hands with rings
  • Couple walking side by side
  • Couple kissing

Wedding Reception

Party time! Your wedding photographer will be busy throughout your reception, focusing on the candid (and fun!) moments as you and your guests dine, dance, and celebrate your newlywed status. 

  • Guests mingling at cocktail hour 
  • Wedding party grand entrance
  • Married couple grand entrance
  • First dance
  • Couple at their table
  • Table photos of guests
  • Couple mingling with guests
  • Loved ones giving speeches and toasts
  • Couples' reactions to speeches and toasts
  • Parent and special dances
  • Wedding party and family members dancing
  • Guests dancing
  • Band and/or DJ performing
  • Cake cutting
  • Couple and/or guests enjoying any non-dancing entertainment (photo booth, etc.)
  • Bouquet and/or garter toss, if applicable
  • Last dance
  • Send-off 
  • Couple getting into their post-wedding transportation