My Wedding Shot List

Today is Wednesday Words day and I’ve decided I would like to share a little business secret with you all.  This is a list I wish I could have accessed when I first started photographing weddings.  I remember so many questions running through my mind always.  What kind of staple shots does every bride and groom want?  How many shots of the bridal party should I take and in how many different formations?  How can I best capture the ceremony for the bride and groom?  Well, three full wedding season summers later here is what I have come up with on my own.

Keep in mind these are only the bare essentials.  They are the easy, but necessary shots.  All the artsy stuff, of course, is incorporated also but those are different for every wedding because of the flavor of that wedding and what the day and locations have to offer.  I take WAY more pictures than the list below and have WAY too much fun with creative poses and shots, I know this looks stiff but please don’t fret… I really am fun 🙂  Don’t believe me, check out my work HERE.

Bridal Detail

  • dress
  • shoes
  • jewelry
  • flowers
  • other (handkerchief, special pin, etc…)

Groom Detail

  • boutonniere
  • cuff links
  • tie

Getting Ready

  • just candids but I like to get a bird’s eye picture of the bride applying mascara if I can

Bride Alone
(smiling, serious, and looking over shoulder)

  • full length
  • mid-waist level
  • chest level

Groom Alone
(smiling, serious, and looking away)

  • full length
  • mid-waist level
  • chest level


  • processional: stand (shooting up at people isn’t flattering) near the front of the center aisle, tucked into an aisle if you can manage
  • back, wide
  • right, wide
  • left, wide
  • behind (if available), wide
  • back, 50mm or 85mm
  • musicians
  • audience shots (particularly bridesmaids, groomsmen, bride’s parents, groom’s parents)
  • candids of all the main events (kiss, exchange of rings, vows (particularly their facial expressions during this), candle lighting, etc

Family Portraits
I ask for a family shot list so any additional arrangements come from that form.

  • Bride with mom
  • Bride with dad
  • Bride with parents
  • Bride with siblings
  • Bride with each sibling separately
  • Bride with immediate family
  • Bride with grandparents (if in attendance)
  • Repeat with Groom
  • B & G with both sets of parents
  • B & G with both immediate families

Bridal Party/Couple Pictures

  • B & G smiling (full length, waist level, chest level)
  • B & G looking at each other
  • B & G kiss
  • Ladies smiling in a straight line (flowers held at the belly button)
  • Bride with each bridesmaid separately
  • Bridesmaid’s flowers
  • Guys smiling in a straight line (hands in pockets)
  • Groom with each groomsman separately
  • 3+ more arrangements of both the guys and the girls
  • Full bridal party smiling in a straight line (guys on groom’s side, girls on bride’s)
  • Full bridal party smiling in a straight line (guy, girl, guy, girl, etc…)
  • 3+ more arrangements of the full bridal party


  • your number one job at a receptions is to capture the moments (introductions, cake cutting, first dances, speeches, etc… the list below excludes these obvious needs)
  • ring shot
  • place cards
  • room shots
  • cake
  • table
  • head table details
  • details on table
  • any other visual decor details

These are all the things I have logged in my brain to capture at every wedding.  It’s a sort of mental checklist that I have never written down until now.  Outside all this stuff is all the creative freedom, but these things are important so don’t forget them!

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