Wedding Photography Shot List – A Complete Checklist

Bride and groom wedding photography of them kissing in front of their wedding venue at Como Park Conservatory in Saint Paul Minnesota

Wedding photography is an incredibly important aspect of any wedding day, as it allows couples to look back on one of the most special and memorable days of their lives. The wedding day is a complex and intricate event full of many different details that need to be carefully captured in order to create a complete record. When we first started doing photography, we created this wedding photography shot checklist to help us ensure we do not miss a single shot.

A wedding photography shot checklist is a great tool to help ensure that you don’t miss out on any important photos on your big day. By having a list of the must-have shots, you can ensure that your photographer captures all of the memories you want to remember.

Wedding photography detail shot checklist

Capturing wedding details is such an important part of the day. These little details are truly what make a wedding unique and personal. You won’t want to miss out on capturing these parts of the wedding day. Here are the things you will want to ensure you capture:

  • The dress and Veil
  • Bridesmaid dresses
  • The rings
  • Jewelry and shoes
  • Something borrowed, new, and blue
  • Invites and save the dates
  • Flowers and boutonni√®res
  • Bowtie or necktie
  • Cufflinks
  • Cologne or perfume
  • Bridal party gifts
  • Flat lay photos – take a look at our wedding flat lay checklist!

Bride getting ready shot checklist

Each wedding is so different when it comes to how people prepare and get ready. When planning your day, consider getting ready in a place with a lot of natural light (which is great for makeup artists) and also has a lot of space for you and your girls. Ask your venue if the space is heated or has air conditioning – you want to make sure you are comfortable. Also, if there is a fridge or place to store food that is a huge bonus! Here are the general things you will want captured for the bride getting ready:

  • Bride getting makeup and hair done
  • Candids in the bridal suite interracting with eachother
  • Bride with bridesmaids in robes
  • Champagne pop
  • Bride reading letter from groom
  • Bride putting on dress and shoes
  • Bride reveal to bridesmaids
  • Bride individual shots before first look

Groom getting ready shot checklist

Unlike the bride and bridesmaids, the guys don’t take as long to get ready *Typically* which may leave some extra time for something fun. Some guys might go out to brunch for a bit or maybe play a round of golf. Depending on the logistics, the photographer may or may not be able to join for some of that but overall, the getting ready for the guys is a lot more simple. Here are the general things that you will want captured when it comes to groom getting ready photos:

  • Groom putting on attire
  • Groom putting on shoes
  • Candids with groomsmen
  • Groom reading letter from bride
  • Groom individual shots before heading to first look

Full wedding party shot checklist

  • Individual shots with bride and bridesmaids
  • Individual shots with groom and groomsmen
  • Bride with all her bridesmaids
  • Bridesmaids serious photo
  • Bridesmaids funny photos
  • Groom with all his groomsmen
  • Groomsmen serious photo
  • Groomsmen funny photos
  • Full bridal party photo
  • Full bridal party cheering
  • Full bridal party tunnel with cheering
  • Full bridal party

Family photo shot checklist

Family photos are always going to look different depending on the family structure and dynamics. So, this is just a general list for including immediate family plus grandparents. Things can get a lot more complex when cousins and kids are involved and so make sure you work with your photographer on ensuring the timeline has enough time slotted for the photos you wish to have captured for family photos. You can see that even with just immediate family and grandparents, the list can get long pretty fast! We usually recommend prioritizing the “family photos” that are most likely to make it on a holiday card or be printed and framed. Remember too that your photographer will be walking around with a camera the whole day, so you can always take photos with your extended family or guests at the reception or cocktail hour.

  • Bride and groom with bride’s immediate family
  • Bride and groom with bride’s siblings
  • Bride with bride’s siblings
  • Bride individual with siblings
  • Bride with parents
  • Bride individual with each parent
  • Bride and groom with brides grandparents
  • Bride and groom with each set of grandparents on bride’s side
  • Bride individual with each grandparent
  • Bride and groom with groom’s immediate family
  • Bride and groom with groom’s siblings
  • Groom with groom’s siblings
  • Groom individual with siblings
  • Groom with parents
  • Groom individual with each parent
  • Bride and groom with groom’s grandparents
  • Bride and groom with each set of grandparents on groom’s side
  • Groom individual with each grandparent

Ceremony shot checklist

Depending on the type of ceremony you are having, there may be other elements added to your wedding photography shot checklist Be sure to communicate with your photographer which moments are going to be key for them to capture. Here is a general list of what one can usually expect to see.

  • Ceremony space before guests arrive
  • Procession walking down the aisle
  • Groom standing at altar
  • Bride walking down aisle
  • Hugs with parents once the bride has walked down the aisle
  • Guest reactions
  • Exchanging vows
  • Exchanging rings
  • The kiss
  • Walking down the aisle cheering
  • Signed marriage certificate (immediately after ceremony)

Cocktail Hour Photos to Capture

Cocktail hour looks very different from one wedding to another. Some venues are flipping the ceremony space into the reception space during this time. Sometimes, guests go straight to the reception from the ceremony. Knowing ahead of time the logistics and communicating that with your photographer will be important. If you want to get a shot of the reception space fully decorated (with candles lit) before the guests start moving in you will want to ensure that your coordinator blocks off the space until the photographer is done with those photos. In recent years, a first look with the bride and groom getting to see the fully set up reception space has become more popular as well. Get creative, work with your venue, and have a solid plan in place to ensure things are ready to go. Here are the photos that are typically taken during cocktail hour:

  • Photo of the reception space before people find their seats
  • Place cards and decorative tables
  • Small details
  • The cake and the dessert table
  • Place settings
  • Table decor
  • Head table
  • Candids and group shots with guests
  • Bartender serving guests
  • Couple popping champagne with wedding party

Reception shot checklist

  • The grand entrance
  • Speeches
  • Candids and reactions to speeches
  • Bride and groom kissing at their table
  • The cake cutting
  • The first dance
  • Golden hour photos (typically couples sneak away for 20 minutes during or before the reception to do this) and this is where the best couple photos are taken
  • Dance party candids
  • Late night snacks
  • Bouquet and garter toss
  • Sparkler or confetti sendoff
  • Getaway car

Final thoughts about your wedding photography shot list

These are just a few examples of the many important moments that should be captured on your big day. By having a wedding photography shot checklist prepared, you can be sure that your photographer won’t miss a beat and that you’ll have beautiful photos to cherish for a lifetime.

More wedding planning resources

About Luke and Halle – The wedding photographers behind the camera

We are a husband and wife photography and videography team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We have shot over 100 weddings and have a ton of experience when it comes to capturing wedding days. We know what it’s like to be on the other side of planning a wedding and so that’s where we are able to jump in and support our couples. We do so much more than just take beautiful photos. If you are looking for someone who is fun, adventurous, and will serve you well on your wedding day, we would love to connect!

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