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Essential Wedding Photography Shot List for Brides-to-Be

The more you start to plan, the easier it is to get lost in all the details of your wedding. To make sure you don’t miss out on a single wedding photo, we’ve created an essential shot list for you to discuss with your wedding photographer! This way, you’re both on the same page in terms of preferred shots on your wedding day.

Wedding Details

Time of day: Morning

Location: Bridal suite

Important shots: Rings, dress, shoes, bridal bouquet, boutonniere, love letters

Advice: Preparation is everything, so be sure to gather every item for your detail shots before your wedding photographer arrives. This includes sentimental items like your handwritten vows or that hanky handed down from your great-grandmother.

Getting Ready

Time of day: Morning

Location: Bridal suite

Important shots: Bride and groom prep

Advice: Make sure the bridal suite is clear of clutter! Your wedding photographer might move some things around to make the suite looks neat and tidy. If you want every aspect of “getting ready,” have your photographer come while your makeup artist and hairstylist are still there. Action shots of you and your girls lounging in match robes are something you’ll want to discuss with your photographer, too. Another priceless shot? Your groom and his groomsmen taking a good luck shot!

First Look

Time of day: Morning/early afternoon

Location: Somewhere beautiful inside or outside your wedding venue     

Important shots: You’ll want to capture both the bride and groom’s reaction and every moment of anticipation leading up to the big reveal - like her tapping his shoulder from behind.

Advice: This is where having an associate wedding photographer comes in handy! This way, one of the photographers captures the bride’s reaction while the other captures the groom’s.

Wedding Party

Time of day: Afternoon

Location: Venue lobby, outside the venue, nearby sights, gardens, city streets    

Important shots: Individual shots with the bride and each bridesmaid, individual shots with the groom and each groomsman, group shots

Advice: Don’t forget to have a little fun with your wedding party! Candid wedding photos make for the best wedding photos.

Immediate Family

Time of day: Mid-afternoon

Location: Venue lobby, outside the venue, ceremony location

Important shots: Group shots of both sides joined together as one family, individual shots with each side of the family

Advice: Give your family a general timeline of where they need to be and when so you don’t have to chase them down and waste precious photo time.

Bride and Groom Portraits

Time of day: Mid-afternoon

Location: Venue lobby, outside the venue, nearby sights, gardens, city streets

Important shots: Individual shots and shots as a couple

Advice: Show your love for each other - go for a big dip, hold hands, and kiss on the cheek. This is also a great time to sneak in some gorgeous bridal portraits, too!

Wedding Ceremony

Time of day: Mid-afternoon or early evening

Location: Ceremony site

Important shots: Ceremony decor and details, bride walking down the aisle, bride and groom exchanging vows, bride and groom sharing their first kiss

Advice: When you’re walking down the aisle, pretend the wedding photographer isn’t there - just focus on living in the moment! When you’re up on the altar, look directly at your partner, not the officiant.

Wedding Reception

Time of Day: Dusk or sundown

Location: Reception site

Important shots: Decor, grand entrances, first dance, cake cutting, dancing

Advice: This is where the good stuff happens! From your grand entrance to the reception decor, you won’t want to miss a thing. If you have more than one wedding photographer, have him or her sneak into the reception hall during cocktail hour to capture those important detail shots.

Night Session

Time of day: Evening, after dark

Location: Reception site. Bonus points if there’s a rooftop for an incredible view!

Important shots: Bride and groom portraits during golden hour and nightfall

Advice: Before the sun fully sets, head outside for a quick session during golden hour. Once the sun has finally set, sneak back outside for an intimate night session. There’s just something so magical about being photographed in the moonlight.

Grand Exit

Time of day: Night

Location: Outside venue site

Important shots: Exiting the reception as a married couple, sparkler sendoff,

Advice: Cue the theatrics! There’s nothing like a newlywed kiss beneath a sea of sparklers. Dream big and search for grand exit ideas for a memorable au revoir. Bubbles, sparklers, ribbon wands, or vintage car are just some ideas for an epic exit.

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