A list of the top must-have wedding day photos to add to your shot list for the perfect album.
A stunning wedding album is one that documents the emotions, settings, and moments that combine to make your special day so unforgettable. While it should include those classic shots like the first kiss, the cake cutting, and the reception toasts, there’s so much more that goes into creating a beautiful album to really tell the story of what you were feeling and experiencing throughout the day.
If you’re needing a little inspiration about what are some of the must-have wedding day photos not to miss, here are 23 that should be at the top of your wedding photographer’s shot list.
1. Getting Ready Photos
Whether it’s close-up candids as you’re having your makeup done or creative, reflective shots as you admire yourself in a mirror, getting ready on your wedding day is filled with anticipation, so don’t let miss the opportunity to have it documented.
2. The Wedding Dress
It might have taken months of searching to find the perfect wedding dress or been on your radar for years before he even popped the question, so remember to capture a gorgeous shot of it hanging up within a naturally-lit window.
3. In Your Dress
When you step into your dress on your wedding day, this is the moment you are looking at your freshest and most radiant. So don’t miss the opportunity for a portrait session of just you, creating bridal magazine-worthy images you’ll treasure forever.
4. The Rings
A close-up softly focused details shot of your wedding rings together exemplifies the union about to take place. Delegate someone to get them from the best man (or ring bearer) and return them safely after your photographer has captured them.
5. Tender Moment With Your Mom
It might be your mom securing your necklace, helping with your earrings or just admiring how amazing you look, but a tender moment with this special woman in your life is a must-have wedding day photo.
6. Candids With Your Bridesmaids
They’re probably your best friends or sisters that you’ve been through countless ups and downs with. So don’t forget to capture candids of your bridesmaids helping you into your dress or exchanging gifts while getting ready together.
7. The Boys
Grooms may be less inclined to have each and every moment of their getting ready session documented, but a shot of them hanging out with their groomsmen is essential. Whether they’re walking through a hotel hallway together or toasting over beers, a casual shot of the boys will be a welcome addition to your wedding day album.
8. Ceremony Setting
You’ve probably carefully selected your wedding ceremony venue for its stunning setting or romantic ambiance, so make sure this is documented while you’re exchanging vows. It might be a low-angle shot looking down the aisle or captured from a higher vantage point, incorporating all of the different design elements you have selected.
9. Here Comes the Bride
Whether you’re stepping down the aisle alone or being escorted by your parents, that moment of “here comes the bride” is what your wedding guests are all waiting for – to see you looking absolutely radiant on this special day.
10. Ceremony Rituals
From a Jewish “breaking of the glass” to a lighting of the unity candle or a unique cultural wedding ritual, make sure you let your photographer know which wedding traditions you will be including in your ceremony so they are ready to capture them.
11. Couple Reactions
It might be the tears you can’t hold back as your partner reads their vows or the look of shock when the best man pretends to have forgotten the rings. Candid couple reactions throughout the ceremony are a strong addition to your wedding day album and will transport you back to that moment in an instant.
12. The Kiss!
It’s the immediate moment after you’re pronounced “husband and wife”, so make it a kiss that’s worthy of it. Even though your wedding photographer is being given the heads up when your officiant says “you may kiss the bride”, always linger just that little bit longer so they have time to capture it.
13. The Recessional
It’s your first steps as husband and wife while being congratulated by your friends, so make sure your recessional walk exudes the joy you are feeling by giving your photographer a spontaneous kiss or celebratory “arms in the air”.
14. Creative Bridal Party Portrait
A classic line of bridesmaids and groomsmen is probably going to be in your wedding album artillery, but we recommend getting a little more creative. Perhaps your bridal party wandering across the grassy lawns or toasting within an elegant lounge area – try and incorporate the distinct ambiance of your wedding venue to create shots that will make people look twice.
15. The Reception Room
Photographs of your gorgeous reception venue before the guests arrive enables all of the details and design features you have carefully selected to shine through. But make sure you give your photographer the time to capture them or hire a team of photographers if logistics make this tricky.
16. The Grand Entrance
Whether you’re dancing your way into the reception or being carried by your Prince Charming, make sure your wedding photographer is on hand when you make your grand entrance.
17. The Wedding Cake
A photo of your wedding cake is a long-established tradition and a must-have classic wedding shot. If you’ve customized your cake-toppers, make sure your photographer knows and can get a close-up of these as well.
18. Cake Cutting
Another classic shot is the cake cutting, which in many wedding day albums turns into a “cake smashing” as couples smear this sweet goodness over one another. Whether it’s just the two of you with a glass of champagne in hand or with some eager young eyes watching on, make sure this special moment is captured in a way that resonates with you.
19. Toasts And Speeches
They can be the catalyst for raucous laughter and emotional tears from those who are closest to you, so ensure your toasts and speeches are captured (preferably with your reactions incorporated into the shots).
20. The First Dance
One of the great wedding reception formalities is the first dance and photos of just the two of you on the dance floor will be treasured for a long time to come. Let your photographer know what you are planning (whether it be a classic slow dance or a choreographed hip hop routine) so they know exactly what to expect…particularly if there is going to be a dip!
21. Parental Dances
Wedding days can be incredibly emotional for parents and designating a dance with them highlights their importance to you. It’s a great opportunity to document the family story of your wedding day and capture the raw emotions of you and those of your loved ones watching on.
22. Dance Floor Action
Action shots of you and your wedding guests on the dance floor will probably be some of the most playful in your wedding album as you all let loose to celebrate. Hiring a wedding photographer who’s not afraid to get in amongst the action and can really capture the energy is essential if you want these!
23. Romantic Nighttime Escapes
Surrounded by twinkling fairy lights or beside beautifully illuminated fountains, romantic, nighttime couple portraits are a great way to end the night. It doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the party, but just slip out for 15 minutes to soak up this special moment with your love.
The shots that make it onto your must-have wedding day photo list are highly personal and what resonates with one couple might not with another. But having an idea of what you love (and what you don’t) prior to your special day will help your wedding photographer capture it in a way that’s meaningful to you.
May 22, 2020