Wedding Photography Checklist: The Ultimate Guide

It simply can’t be a wedding without wedding photography. This special milestone in your lives was meant to be captured and memorialized in photos to look back on and enjoy for years to come. 

As you plan out your wedding day, it’ll also be helpful to prepare a wedding photography checklist by thinking of all the different photos you’d like before the day ends. Let’s dive in!

Wedding Photography Checklist

Before The Wedding

There are plenty of photoshoots to have prior to your wedding day. Now would be a great time to start planning those out.

  • Engagement photoshoot
  • Photos of pre-wedding events: Bridal shower, engagement party, bachelor party, and bachelorette party

For example, you can plan an engagement photoshoot where you and your significant other head to the great outdoors and show off the engagement ring in a picturesque location such as in a wooded area, a flower field, or amid the mountains. 

Aside from your engagement photoshoot, you may also have other celebratory events leading up to the big day such as an engagement party, a bridal shower, and bachelor and bachelorette parties. If you’re looking forward to having these special events captured on film, you should plan out the photos you might wish to take for each of these occasions.

Pre-Ceremony Photography Checklist

Now flash forward to your wedding day. The big day has arrived, but there’s still a few hours before the actual ceremony takes place. Even before the wedding, there are plenty of opportunities for really unique and stunning photographs. 

Take the time to brainstorm and create a cohesive list of all the unique shots you’re looking forward to having before your ceremony:

  • Bride & groom each getting ready with their bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Pictures of wedding day attire on its own: dresses, suits, jewelry, shoes, and veils
  • Shots of customized wedding decor: invitations, programs, and signs
  • Images of important wedding day symbols: wedding rings, bridal bouquet, floral arrangements, written vows, religious symbols, or anything else of importance

Such photos may include candids and posed shots of the brides and bridesmaids getting ready behind the scenes with their hair and makeup. A similar photo of the pre-wedding preparations can be taken of the groom and his groomsmen.

Be sure to try for shots of either group performing pre-ceremony toasts. Candid photos of the bride and bridesmaids putting on jewelry or posing with their bouquets will also be lovely images. Then, of course, the bride and groom’s first look at each other is another iconic moment that will be special to capture.

Aside from focusing on the bride and groom, it may also be great to focus on the wedding details that make your day special and personalized. After all, you spent so much time and energy planning your celebration, you might as well have plenty of images to perfectly capture your beautifully planned ceremony.

These shots may include a photo of the wedding invitation, the ceremony program, and any signs you may have had customized. 

When it comes to the attire, don’t forget to capture images of the wedding dress on its hanger as well as the bridesmaids’ dresses hanging all together. This can be especially a fun shot if you have customized hangers. Then a shot of the shoes, jewelry, tiara, and wedding veil can also become fan-favorite images.

Lastly, be sure to request any photographs of the decor and wedding day symbols, including a stand-alone shot of the rings together, images of all the floral arrangements and bridal bouquets, a written copy of the vows, and any other picturesque decorations or symbols you find important.

Ceremony Photo Checklist 

Now as the ceremony begins, you’ll want to be sure to capture the pivotal moments everyone has been waiting for. Here are some key instances you’ll want to add to your list:

  • Photos of guests outside and entering the church or ceremony site
  • Pictures of the location’s exterior and interior
  • Shots of the guests, wedding party, family members, the Groom, and the Bride all walking down the aisle
  • Candid images of the bride and groom exchanging vows and rings
  • The first kiss
  • Images of the recessional as the bride & groom walk out of the ceremony as newlyweds

The place in which your ceremony takes place will forever hold a special place in your heart. You’ll want to capture the essence of this location so you can look back at the images and instantly be transported to this special, romantic moment in your lives.

Thus, getting an ample number of photos of the venue from the outside and from within will be important. Don’t forget to get images of the aisle with any decorations you may have set up including an aisle runner, floral arrangements, lanterns, signs, or any other details.

While this day is all about you and your partner, years from your wedding day you’ll also be glad to have captured images of all your beloved guests who attended your special day. Be sure to get photos of your guests watching the ceremony, of your wedding party walking down the aisle, of your family members supporting you, and of course of the flower girl and ring bearer performing their important roles.

Now as we get to the main event of the ceremony, the important moments to capture include the emotional reactions of exchanging vows, the symbolic moment of exchanging wedding rings, and the pivotal first kiss that seals it all as the couple celebrates as official newlyweds.

Post Ceremony Wedding Photography Checklist

Once the ceremony is complete and before everyone heads over to the reception, you’ll want to plan out some time for a series of group photos to celebrate the momentous occasion. The wedding photography checklist for after the ceremony may include:

  • Images of just the newlyweds
  • Family group shots
  • Wedding party group shots
  • Informal, silly, or candid group photos

Now is the time to coordinate a series of group shots. Start out with just the newlyweds, celebrating their milestone. Add immediate family of both sides to the photos and feel free to keep trying different variations whether that be just the parents, just the grandparents, just the siblings, then a mix of each.

After you’re happy with all the variations of family photos you got, it’s time to take some coordinating photos with your wedding party. Take some with just the bridesmaids, just the groomsmen, everyone together, then with the flower girl and ring bearer, too.

If you have any other group requests you wish to make, feel free to add those, too. Perhaps you’re looking forward to a few goofy or informal group photos as well. Remember, after the wedding ceremony is typically the best time to capture these group photos as once the reception begins, it may be difficult to coordinate with everyone all at once.

Reception Photo Checklist

After you capture all your group photos, it’s time to celebrate at the wedding reception. Here are some wedding day photos you may want to capture at your reception:

  • Photos of the reception venue: Exterior and interior shots, shots of the decor, table settings, centerpieces, floral arrangements, dinner menu, wedding favors, wedding signs, or other fun details
  • Images of the food, dessert table, and wedding cake
  • Photos to capture the toasts and wedding speeches
  • Shots of guests dancing, including the first dance, the father-daughter dance, and the mother-son dance

A lot of the wedding planning process can go into the reception. As you took the time to select a fitting wedding theme, color scheme, floral arrangements, and decor, you should also take the time to capture all these gorgeous details on camera to enjoy later.

These shots may include overall images of the exterior and interior of your venue as well as close-up images of the decor and details, including wedding table decorations, flowers, and other decor pieces. 

You’ll also want to take plenty of images with your wedding hashtag on display at your venue whether that be on a neon sign, photo prop, the wedding favors, or other objects. Capturing images with your wedding hashtag written out will look quite fitting when you go to post your wedding day memories online to share with your friends and family.

Aside from the reception itself and your decor, you’ll want to take images of the delicious food you had whether that be appetizers, dinner, desserts, and of course the gorgeous wedding cake.

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure memorable moments planned for the reception get captured, including wedding toasts and speeches, any planned or candid dancing, any games you choose to play, as well as fun or silly traditions like the bouquet toss.

Capture Your Moment!

We hope that this list has helped you think of all the important moments, details, candid photos, and group pictures you and your partner want for your wedding day. 

Just live in the moment and let your wedding day photographer handle the rest. By staying organized and having a wedding photography checklist ahead of time, you’ll get remarkable wedding day photos to share, enjoy, and remember for years to come!


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