I 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 in your pocket and repeatedly pull it out and tick things off during the day! You give your wedding photo checklist to your photographer, so they know exactly what you’re hoping to see in your wedding photographs. That way, you’ll avoid a trap that many couples fall into 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.” And, to make things even easier, we’ve made a free checklist for you to download and print!
Of course, every good wedding photographer (we can recommend a whole bunch!) will have their own list of important moments to capture, 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 list, depending 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 laboured for hours over!
Of course you probably won’t want all of these, and many apply to you and your other half (you may be a same sex couple, or you might not have a wedding party for example). This list is really a template for you to expand upon and edit as you see fit!
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.
Wedding Day: Pre-Ceremony Wedding Photo Checklist
- Shot of wedding invitation
- Bride(s) and bridesmaids getting their hair and makeup done
- Dress hanging, jewellery laid out, shoes etc.
- Bouquets and buttonholes/corsages
- Bride(s) putting on dress/veil with help from mother of the bride or bridesmaids
- Bridal party having fun
- Close up of dress details
- Putting on jewellery
- Putting on shoes
- Close up of bride holding bouquet
- Mother and bride portrait
- Father and bride portrait
- Family shots
- Bride(s) spending moment alone
- 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
- Wedding ring shots
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.
- Couple alone for first look
- Bridal party reaction if couple enter together
The Trip to the Ceremony/Venue
- Bride(s) and father/mother
- Bride(s) and bridesmaids/flower girls
- Groom(s) and groomsmen/page boys
- Shot of the wedding car
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 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
- The recessional/couple walking back down the aisle
- Newlywed shot
- Confetti throwing
- Greeting guests outside venue
- Couple in the back seat of wedding car
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.
- Portraits of the couple alone
- Portraits of bride/groom on their own
- Couple with bridesmaids/groomsmen
- Couple with entire wedding party
- Bride(s) with bridesmaids/maid of honour
- Groom(s) and groomsmen/bestman
- Couple with any children in the wedding party
- Couple with each of each set of parents
- Couple with both sets of parents
- Couple with siblings
- Couple with close family members
- Shots with friends
- Shots of guests eating, drinking, and chatting
- Any specific groups of friends, eg. college pals, school mates, team mates
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, favours, centrepieces etc.
- Wedding cake detail shots
- Couple arriving
- Toasts and speeches
- Cutting the cake
- The first dance
- Bride(s) dancing with father/groom(s) dancing with mother
- Couple mingling with guests
- Guests dancing
- Musicians, singers, DJ
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
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