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50 ‘Must Have’ Wedding Photography Shots

Image by Bill DAgostino

Wedding Image by Bill D'Agostino

On the few occasions that I’ve been asked to photograph weddings by friends I always found it helpful to create a list of shots that I wanted to take on the day. I found that setting out a list with the couple of not only ‘WHERE’ they wanted shots but also some of the different combinations of WHO they wanted IN the shots was helpful.

There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of the day and realizing that no one took a picture of Aunt Mildred or that you only got shots of one set of parents with the bride and groom and not the other side of the family!

Earlier in the week Brian Delia from The New Jersey Wedding Photographer sent me a list of 50 ‘must have shots’ for weddings (although many of them are actually multiple shots so taking them all will leave you with potentially hundreds).

While I highly recommend adjusting and customizing it for the couple whose wedding you are photographing (if this is all you took you could end up with a somewhat cliched album) it certainly makes a worthwhile starting point for the type of shots you might want to capture on the day.

Here are the ‘must have’ shots:

Wedding Photography Shot List

  1. Prep Shots – Bride & Groom
  2. The Dress – Hanging or Draped
  3. The North Window Shot – Bride facing out northern most window
  4. Bride walking down stairs
  5. Bride looking out (window or door)
  6. Maid of Honor & Brides Mom – Zipping Dress
  7. Bride Applying Make Up
  8. Groom Fixing Hair
  9. Grooms Father & Best Man – Attaching Boutonnière to grooms lapel
  10. Groom Checking the Time
  11. Groom with Grooms Men & Fathers
  12. Bride with Bridesmaids & Mothers
  13. Bride with Mother & Father (also grandparents)
  14. Groom with Mother & Father (also grandparents)
  15. Bride Limo – Groom Limo
  16. Bride & Groom – Exiting Limo (Bride being helped out)
  17. Groom waiting at altar
  18. Church Wide Shot (with & without guests)
  19. Bride walking down aisle ( Side Profile & Front )
  20. Father giving away bride
  21. Groom over the shoulder shot of bride ( & Vis Versa)
  22. Holding hands – Bride and Groom
  23. Bride & Groom Kiss
  24. Bride & Groom Leaving Church ( Receiving Line)
  25. Bride & Groom – Inside Limo Shot
  26. Reception/Banquet Hall Outside shot
  27. Food Shots (Cocktail Hour, Drinks, etc.)
  28. Shot of each table full of guests
  29. Shots of Bride & Groom with & without family
  30. Bride and Groom Portraits
  31. Bride & Groom with Bridesmaids & Groomsmen
  32. Bride and Groom Hand & Ring Portraits
  33. First Dance
  34. Bride & Father Dance
  35. Groom & Mother Dance
  36. Bouquet Toss
  37. Guarder Belt Toss
  38. Cake Cutting, Bride and Groom Feeding each other
  39. Misc. Guests Dancing
  40. Bride & Groom Eating
  41. Best Man & Maid of Honor Toast/Speeches
  42. Bride & Groom Toast/Speeches
  43. Centerpieces & Flower/Decorations
  44. Guestbook Signatures
  45. Small Children Dancing with Bride & Groom
  46. Bride & Groom’s Parents Dancing (Plus Grandparents)
  47. Venetian Hour Photos (Coffee, Ice Cream, Etc)
  48. Bride & Groom giving away wedding favors
  49. Groom Giving Coat to Bride
  50. Bride & Groom “Just Married” Vehicle – Driving Away

What other ‘must have’ wedding shots would you add to the list? I’m sure between us we could add another 50 or so!

PS: one shot that Brian definitely missed from the list was ‘Bride Swimming in Her Dress at the Beach’ (note: this is actually a dangerous practice. The weight of water on such a big dress has been known to lead to drownings. Please be careful).

Image by Mike Baird

Image by Mike Baird

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Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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