One of the biggest days in your life deserves to be immortalized, and there’s no better way to do that than through photos that capture the utter joy, hope, and love of everyone around you. That said, photography on your actual wedding day isn’t an easy feat.
Every little detail, from yourself, your partner, and your friends and family to your wedding bands, décor, and dress—all of these need to be highlighted. Not to mention the many, many spontaneous and unplanned moments where most of your memories from this day will spring from.
However, these aren’t the only things your photographer will be thinking about. There’s lighting, composition, and being practically invisible while doing all of these things. It’s a lot to take in, but they know what they’re doing. So while you can have your own wedding list, don’t hesitate to let your photographer have their creative freedom.
Still, it would be nice for you to have a general understanding of wedding photography so you can learn their language and communicate with them well. Below, we’ve put together a simple photo list of the must-capture details and moments of the day that will truly change your life for the better.
A great way to start your wedding album is with a picture of your invitation suite. While most photographers shoot the invites on the day of the wedding, some will opt to do it afterward in their studio. For these photos, let your photographer know what your expectations are. You can tell them to add a few extra details and embellishments, such as florals, your and your partner’s accessories, or vignettes from the wedding day.
The Wedding Favors
Details, details, details! It most certainly took you a lot of time and effort (and money!) to choose your wedding favors, so don’t forget to ask your photographer to take a few photos of them. This is especially important if your welcome bag or favors are unique and customized.
The Venue and Décor
The wedding venue is often where most of the planning comes to fruition. The tables, place settings, floral arrangements, and all of your other ideas are shown here for guests to enjoy. The photographer will typically sneak into your venue to get a great shot of the setup before visitors see it (and, let’s face it, mess it up by having fun). However, make sure you’ve let them know about this, especially if the details are important to you.
As exciting as it is to dig into your cake, don’t forget to ask your photographer to take photos of it first! It’s going to be hard not to fall into temptation, but it’ll even be harder to preserve this treat. So before everyone gets a piece, take a group photo! And, of course, take pictures of the moment you and your partner cut the cake to remember it.
Trust us, you’re not going to recall every bite you’ve had on your wedding day. So, if food is a big part of your wedding and you share a love for it with your partner, don’t forget to take photos of all the delectable food served! Include appetizers, entrées, and desserts.
The Wedding Look
The Bridal Bouquet
Bouquets are a beautiful part of your wedding look, but they’re not forever. So don’t forget to immortalize yours with a few photos. Consider having your bouquet photographed while holding it or allowing your photographer to take several images of it in various settings.
Along with your dress, you’ve spent a lot of time lovingly hand-picking your wedding day accessories, so make sure to capture that! Get a shot of everything, from your something old, new, borrowed, and blue to your wedding shoes.
It wouldn’t be the perfect wedding without the perfect wedding dress. So ask your photographer to take a photo of it hanging up before you put it on. Bonus points if they’re able to catch someone admiring it!
Details! If you’re rocking a veil or any other kind of headdress, ask your photographer to take a few pics of it from every angle.
From mood boards to shopping to transporting it safely—all of your time and effort have led up to this moment. So, naturally, you’ll want to document the big reveal! Invite your photographer to your bridal suite once ready and prepped to wear your outfit. Ask them to take a few snaps as your mother or maid-of-honor zips you in.
The Bridal Portrait
It’s your time to shine and show off your stunning wedding look! Your bridal portrait is just you and your dress in all your glory. Your photographer might set up a scene where you’re looking at yourself in the mirror or peeking outside a window. It’s up to you to choose what you’re most comfortable with.
The Partner’s Portrait
It’s your partner’s turn to play model! Don’t forget to tell them how gorgeous they look so that they’ll have a boost of confidence before they hop in front of the camera.
The First Look
It’s up to you whether you want a first look or not. Some opt for one, while others prefer to hold off until the aisle moment. If you choose to meet your partner before the wedding, make sure you record everything on film! Trust us, you’ll treasure the photos of their reaction forever!
Sneak away with your photographer for private shots after you and your partner exchange vows. It’s an excellent time to spend alone with your partner and a great opportunity to get some beautiful photos.
The Wedding Party
Looking for the perfect gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen? Try including prints of their individual portraits in their thank you cards! Also, don’t forget their group photos for your wedding album. You can go for an editorial approach or something more casual and candid, like a walking shot.
The Friends & Family
From you and your partner’s parents and siblings to your lifelong friend group, photos of the most important people in your life are a must! Ask your photographer to take as many candid photos as posed ones. You’ll want to see everyone’s smiles, tears, laughter, and every kind of emotion in your wedding album.
The Unforgettable Moments
The Walk Down The Aisle
One of the wedding moments you’ll keep coming back to is your walk down that aisle. So ask your photographer to take breathtaking photos while you’re walking in the arms of your mum, dad, or both.
The First Kiss
You’ve finally said your “I do’s,” and now it’s time for the big moment—your first kiss as spouses. Ask your officiant to step out of the picture so it’s just you and your partner.
The First Dance
During your first dance, try not to be too conscious of the camera. Let your photographer do their job and just enjoy every move you share with your partner, instead of worrying about hitting every single step perfectly.
It’s time to dance the night away and party with everyone you love the most. We always recommend just letting your photographer wander and get candids whenever possible during the reception. A few key moments do include the grand entrance, toasts and speeches, cake cutting, games, dancing, and the formal exit. We also love to suggest planning a few moments to sneak away for one final couple’s portrait session, with some chic black and white night photos.
Posed photos are great, but there’s something so genuine and honest about candid snapshots that you’ll want to remember them for the rest of your life. So let your photographer capture smiles, laughter, and everything in between so you can look back at these memories with joy and affection.
Weddings are emotional times, too. So throughout the ceremony and even at the reception, forget that your photographer is watching and just let yourself (and the people around you!) be emotional.
Photos For A Lifetime
All of the wedding photos we’ve listed above are merely suggestions for the biggest day of your life. Your wedding will be as unique as you are, so the best thing to do right now is to expect the unexpected and trust your photographer. With the right person, they’ll blend right in and perfectly capture all the moments you’ll want to remember forever.
For more wedding photography inspiration, head to our blog.