Must-Have Wedding Photos Checklist for Your Big Day

Table of Contents

Professional wedding photographers are adept at capturing the unique moments and intricacies of your big day. Yet, to ensure your favourite shots make it to your album, it’s crucial to clearly communicate your must-have wedding photos. One of the top tips for wedding photography is to create a checklist and share it with your photographer. To assist you in this, we’ve designed a free, printable wedding photography checklist. This ensures you get the specific photos you envision and makes your photographer’s job smoother.

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Image by Horatio Photography

How Many Photos Do You Need for a Wedding?

Couples planning for their wedding may wonder how many photos they can expect to receive from their photographer. The answer depends on multiple factors, such as

the photographer’s experience,

the size of the event,

the length of the photo shoot,

the number of guests,

the availability of wedding photo props,

the number of photographers in the team,

and the activities that take place during the wedding.

On average, a wedding photographer should be able to produce roughly fifty to one hundred quality photos an hour. This works out to between 400 and 800 images in an 8-hour period.

The wedding photographer will take a large number of photos, typically ranging from 1,000 to 2,000. However, only a small portion of these photos will be provided as the final delivery. Generally, only 200 of them will be included. For example, to create a 20-page album with 40 sides, you need to take 80-120 good quality pictures.

Have a discussion with your photographer before the wedding day to determine what types of shots you want, and how many you need. Make sure the photographer understands your expectations for the day.

Must-Have Wedding Photos

Use this wedding photography checklist as a starting point and customise it as you wish. Create a personalised photo list to capture on your special day.

Think about who, what, and where you want to remember. Outline any key elements or people you want to get a shot of. Feel free to share your wedding photo ideas with your photographer. Ask them for the photos that will add an extra special touch to your wedding album.

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Image by Horatio Photography

Pre-wedding Shots

Getting Ready Photos

A photographer must take a variety of pre-wedding shots to capture the essence of the couple getting ready for their big day. A professional wedding photographer can capture the story of your day with a series of stunning pictures.

This includes photos of the bride and groom getting ready for the wedding and their first look. The photographer should capture the emotions and excitement of the couple before their wedding. They should also capture the special intimate moments that make each wedding unique.

Bride and Groom Portraits

Ensure you put in the necessary time to take stunning photos to proudly display in your home for the years to come. Your photographer should take many pictures of you as a couple in different locations and poses. Capturing the details of your outfits and accessories is essential.

The photographer should use both documentary photography and posing techniques to capture pictures of you. They should take these pictures when you look happy and in love. The goal is to create genuine and emotional photos. 

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Image by Horatio Photography

Capturing Your Wedding’s Settings

In wedding photography, capturing not only the couple and guests but also the venue and atmosphere is crucial. Another essential tip for wedding photography is to ask your photographer to focus on the venue, decorations, and details that contribute to your special day’s atmosphere. Request stunning shots of arrangements and details important to you, both pre ceremony and during the celebration.

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Image by Horatio Photography

Wedding Ceremony

The Bride and Groom at the Altar

The wedding ceremony is the highlight of the wedding day. Photographs taken during the ceremony will help to immortalise this special moment. This includes the bride and groom’s entrance, the exchange of vows and rings, the kiss, and the moment they proclaim their love to each other. These photographs will also capture the joy on the faces of family and friends, and the beauty of the ceremony venue.

Wedding Party and Family Photos

The wedding party and family photos taken before the recessional are a great way to capture the celebratory mood of the wedding. The wedding party and your family can take nice group photos to remember the special occasion. These group shots will be a permanent reminder of the special people who were there to celebrate your big day. Don’t forget to take photos of your beloved pets, if you have any.

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Image by Horatio Photography

Wedding Reception Photos

The Cocktail Hour

At the cocktail hour, your guests can socialise and enjoy their drinks while the photographer captures the special, unplanned moments of the day. These shots can show the candid moments and true emotions of your wedding. Not only are these photos more genuine, but they also bring a unique energy to your wedding album. You can also invite your wedding party and close family to take formal pictures with you. 

Newlyweds Arriving at the Venue

The couple arriving at the venue is a happy moment, filled with joy and excitement for the night ahead. Capturing the emotion of this moment in all its glory is one of the key items on the wedding photography checklist. A professional photographer must capture the joy on the faces of the newlyweds, and the excitement of their loved ones. 

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Image by Horatio Photography

Your First Dance

A special moment on your wedding day is when you and your partner have your first dance together. Capture this moment with a few photos of you and your partner, encircled in love and happiness. Don’t forget to take some photos of your parents dancing with each other, as well as you and your parents dancing together. 

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Image by Horatio Photography

Cake-Cutting Ceremony and Other Traditions

At weddings, the cake-cutting ceremony is a special event that marks the start of the newlyweds’ life together. This gesture symbolises the couple’s love and commitment.

Your photographer should capture other traditional reception activities such as the bouquet toss and garter toss. Additionally, they should also capture this moment. To create a lasting memory, have your photographer stay until the last moments. Ask them to take a last kiss or a photo of you and your partner leaving in your wedding vehicle.


Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and it’s essential to capture as many memories as possible. Most photo pros maintain a standard wedding photography shot list that includes all the basic pictures you’ll want to capture. A good tip for wedding photography is to make a checklist. This way, you won’t forget to take pictures with important people at the wedding.

Give your photographer a list of your must-have wedding photos. This way, you can relax and enjoy your day without worrying about capturing the moments you want.

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Image by Horatio Photography

Checklist: Must-Have Photos for Your Wedding Day 

Pre-wedding Shots

Getting Ready

  • Wedding dress/suits hanging
  • uncheckedWedding rings and jewellery laid out
  • uncheckedBouquets, cufflinks, boutonnieres
  • uncheckedWedding shoes
  • uncheckedBride getting her hair and makeup done
  • uncheckedBridesmaids getting their makeup done
  • uncheckedBridal party helping the bride get dressed
  • uncheckedBride putting her jewellery on
  • uncheckedWedding party having fun while getting ready 
  • uncheckedGroom getting ready
  • uncheckedMother and bride/groom portraits
  • uncheckedFather and bride/groom portraits
  • uncheckedClose-up of wedding dress details
  • uncheckedGroom’s outfit details
  • uncheckedBride/groom ready to go
  • uncheckedCouple’s first look

Bride and Groom Portraits

  • Couple together for a portrait
  • uncheckedCouple looking at each other
  • uncheckedCouple hugging or kissing
  • uncheckedCouple holding hands

Capturing Your Wedding’s Settings

  • Exterior shot of the ceremony/reception venue
  • uncheckedInterior decorations (flowers, table settings, guest book, place cards, centrepieces, etc.)
  • uncheckedExterior details
  • uncheckedReception room before the guests’ arrival
  • uncheckedCeremony site before the guests’ arrival
  • uncheckedInvitations
  • uncheckedProgram, stationeries and special signs
  • uncheckedFavours

Wedding Ceremony

The Bride and Groom at the Altar

  • Guests entering the ceremony venue
  • uncheckedBridal party entrance
  • uncheckedUshers leading the guests to their places
  • uncheckedGroom waiting for the bride 
  • uncheckedWedding party waiting at the altar
  • uncheckedBride before her grand entrance
  • uncheckedBride walking down the aisle
  • uncheckedWedding party coming down the aisle
  • uncheckedFlower girl, the page boy and the ring bearer walking down the aisle
  • uncheckedGroom meeting the bride at the end of the aisle
  • uncheckedBride and groom at the altar
  • uncheckedWedding guests from the couple’s view
  • uncheckedExchange of vows
  • uncheckedExchanging the rings
  • uncheckedClose-up of the rings
  • uncheckedThe first kiss as a married couple
  • uncheckedSigning the marriage certificate
  • uncheckedWitnesses signing the register 
  • uncheckedCouple walking back up the aisle
  • uncheckedCouple leaving the ceremony site
  • uncheckedShots of sparkles outside the venue

Family and Wedding Party

  • Couple with each set of parents
  • uncheckedCouple with both sets of parents
  • uncheckedCouple with siblings
  • uncheckedCouple with both immediate families
  • uncheckedBride and bridesmaids/flower girl/maid of honour
  • uncheckedGroom and groomsmen/ring bearer/best man
  • uncheckedCouple with the entire wedding party
  • uncheckedCouple with children of the family
  • uncheckedCouple with their pet

Wedding Reception

The Cocktail Hour

  • Guests arriving at the wedding venue
  • uncheckedGuests sipping their drinks and mingling

Newlyweds arriving at the venue

  • Couple arriving at the reception site
  • uncheckedCouple at head table
  • uncheckedParents’ table
  • uncheckedGuests’ tables
  • uncheckedCouple’s parents talking to each other during dinner
  • uncheckedCouple chatting up with the guests/couple mingling with guests
  • uncheckedSpeeches
  • uncheckedGuests and the couple during the speeches
  • uncheckedFriends and family making toasts
  • uncheckedDetail shot of food

Your First Dance

  • Couple’s first dance
  • uncheckedParents/grandparents dancing
  • uncheckedBride and parents dancing
  • uncheckedGroom and parents dancing
  • uncheckedWedding party dancing
  • uncheckedKids playing or dancing
  • uncheckedMusicians, singers, DJs
  • uncheckedGuests enjoying the party
  • uncheckedCouple laughing with guests on dance floor
  • uncheckedCouple and all their guests

Cake-Cutting Ceremony and Other Traditions

  • Wedding cake or dessert table detail shots
  • uncheckedCouple cutting the cake
  • uncheckedCouple feeding each other cake
  • uncheckedLast kiss
  • uncheckedCouple leaving reception
  • uncheckedCouple waving from their car

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