Must-Take Wedding Pictures

Note: You may wish to print this page and take it with you on your special day after you add your own special pictures to the list.  

No doubt there are many wedding moments you don't want to miss. The best way to ensure your photographer captures the right moment is to provide a list of must-take pictures.  Seeing them written down will also let you know how long you'll have to smile. Remember that each picture set-up will take from one to two minutes.  Thus a 30 to 40 set pictures between the wedding and reception could keep your guests waiting for over an hour before you arrive.

While it is easy to forget, communication with your photographer is of utmost importance.  Photographers can only take good pictures if they are present when the activity is occurring.  Sending the photographer a copy of the invitation and giving them any material given to the guests is always helpful.  In addition, if you plan a quick get-a-way or other unusual activity you would like in pictures, tell your photographer in advance so they can be in position to catch all the action. Be aware that the photographer will not know uncle Harry from aunt Suzie so you need to designate someone from each family to help get the right people into the picture based on your list and If you have a wedding coordinator or florist, be sure to introduce them to the photographer.

Here's a list of pictures you may wish to include on your list -- be sure to add your own creative must-have pictures too!

GETTING READY

These are usually taken soon after the photographer arrives.  Be sure to tell the photographer where and when you will be ready then try to be on time.  If the bride and groom are not to see each other before the wedding, consider where the pictures will be taken and how long it will take the photographer to move from one location to another.  For the best pictures, the people should be at least 5 feet from the backdrop and the photographer needs about 12 feet in front of the people.  While outside pictures are great in the spring and fall you should be prepared to go inside if the weather is not cooperating.

     Wedding flowers and other decorations.

Bride's clothes hanging on the wardrobe, on the bedpost, or over a chair

Bridesmaids doing bride's hair and makeup

Bride and bridesmaids getting dressed, applying makeup

Mom helping bride with one last detail, such as veil

Full-length picture of bride in gown checking herself out in mirror

Detail of clothing, shoes, garter, something borrowed, something blue

Touching picture of bride with parent/s and/or stepparent/s

Touching picture of bride with sibling/s

Bride hugging honor attendant

Bride with bridesmaids

Bride with flower girl(s)

Bride with Ring Bearers

Bride with all the ladies

Groom getting ready with Dad and pals (tying the tie is a classic)

Touching picture of groom with parent/s and/or stepparent/s

Touching picture of groom with sibling/s

Groom with his arm affectionately around best man

Groom with all the groomsmen

Groom with ring bearers

Groomsmen putting on boutonnieres or bow ties

Intimate pictures of bride and groom chatting with/crying with/hugging parents and siblings pre-ceremony

Dad whispering last-minute advice to groom

Groom ready to go

Bride ready to go

Bride and groom separately making their way to the ceremony (in a limo backseat, hailing a cab, walking down the street/hall/stairs)


 

THE CEREMONY

These pictures will be taken during the ceremony.  Some churches and the desires of family members limit the photography during this time.  Since many weddings are taken in areas of low light, the photographer will be using a strong flash unit and during the quiet of the ceremony the sound of the camera operation will be noticed.  Many find the flash and sound to be inappropriate to the occasion, but most locations permit at least one time-lapse picture of the ceremony. Please insure that all parties (including the minister and church wedding guild, if applicable) agree on the use of photography and the use of flash then notify the photographer at the wedding. 

Guests streaming into the site

Ushers escorting guests to their seats

Ushers escorting moms to their seats (Christian wedding)

Close-up of groom's adorably nervous mug waiting for his other half

Bridesmaids and groomsmen walking down the aisle

Flower girl and/or ring bearer entering

Honor attendant walking down the aisle

Grandparents walking down the aisle (Jewish wedding)

Wedding party waiting at the altar

Groom walking down the aisle

Bride and Dad/escort/parents (Jewish wedding) walking down the aisle

Close-up of bride just before she makes her entrance

Bride and groom at the altar

Altar or canopy from the back during ceremony

Wide picture of audience during ceremony, from bride and groom's point of view

Faces of bride and groom as they exchange vows

Close-up of bride's and groom's hands as they exchange rings

The kiss

Bride and groom proceeding up the aisle, guests' smiling faces at their sides

Bride and groom outside ceremony site

Congratulation pictures: bride and groom hugging, laughing, and crying with good friends and family

Bride and groom leaving ceremony site

Bride and groom in limo backseat

BEFORE THE RECEPTION (during cocktail hour)

Note: You should take these before the ceremony if traditions permit since the photographer can not take these pictures and cover the start of the  cocktail event at the same time.

Bride and groom together

Bride with her happy, proud parents and/or stepparents

Bride with her entire immediate family

Groom with his happy, proud parents and/or stepparents

Groom with his entire immediate family

Bride and groom with all parents

Bride and groom with immediate family members from both sides

Bride and groom with groomsmen

Bride and groom with bridesmaids

Bride and groom with whole wedding party

THE RECEPTION

These pictures are mostly taken on-the-fly in a photojournalistic fashion and look spontaneous in the final print; however, the successful creation of may of these pictures depend on close cooperation between the people and the photographer. In general the action needs to be announced to the guest followed by a pause to heighten anticipation (and let the photographer get into position) then perform the action. 

Picture from outside reception site (to set the tone)

Reception details such as place cards, guest book, centerpieces, decorations, table settings, favors table, and champagne glasses

Bride and groom arriving (make it dramatic -- their faces through the dark limo windows, the two lovebirds atop a staircase or pushing through a curtain)

Receiving line moments

Bride and groom at head table

Parents' table

Guests' tables

Close-up of friends and family making toasts

Bride and groom sipping champagne

Bride's and groom's parents whispering to each other during dinner

Bride and groom talking to the guests

Bride and groom's first dance (maybe with a slow shutter speed so the movement blurs the image a little)

Parents dancing

Bride and Dad dancing

Groom and Mom dancing

Wedding party dancing

Grandparents dancing

Kids playing or dancing

Musicians or DJ doing their thing

Guests going nuts on the dance floor

Bride laughing with bridesmaids

Cake table

Bride and groom cutting the cake

Bride and groom feeding each other cake

Dessert table

Bouquet toss (perhaps a vertical picture from in front of the bride)

Tossing and catching of the garter

Bride and groom leaving, waving from getaway car's backseat

     Rear of car departing