How to Choose Photos for Your Wedding Album

Everything you need to know to choose the perfect shots for your wedding album.

By Deanna deBara

wedding photo album
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

Your wedding is a day you want to remember. And one of the best ways to capture the memories of your big day? Creating a wedding album full of photos of the best moments from your “I do’s.” But how, exactly, do you choose the perfect photos for your wedding album?

Identify your must-have album moments.

As mentioned, you want your wedding album to be filled with photos of the most meaningful moments from your big day.

But there’s no single definition for “the most meaningful moments.” What felt like the most meaningful moment of your wedding for you might vary slightly to your partner’s most meaningful moments.

So, before you start going through your wedding photographer’s snaps, it’s important to sit down with your partner and define what moments you both want to capture in your album—and then choose the photos that correspond with those moments.

For example, you might feel like your wedding album wouldn’t be complete without a shot of your dad seeing you in your wedding dress for the first time. Your partner might want to capture the joy on both your faces as you walk down the aisle after saying your “I do’s.” And maybe you both are all about including as many photos of yourselves and your wedding guests tearing up the dance floor at the reception.

The point is, getting on the same page about what moments are important to you—both as a couple and as individuals—will help to ensure you choose photos for your wedding album that capture those meaningful moments.

Can’t decide which moments you want to showcase in your wedding album? Some of the moments most couples choose to feature include:

Choose a good mix.

Once you’ve identified which moments you want to capture in your wedding album, it’s time to actually choose the photos.

Obviously, you’re going to gravitate towards certain photos. For example, if there’s a photo where you and your partner look incredibly happy, you’re going to feel pulled to include that in your album over a photo where you both look tired.

But outside of choosing photos that you just like in your wedding photo album, you also want to make sure to choose a solid variety of photos. No one wants to look at a wedding album that’s the same type of photo on every page!

Some of the photo differences you may want to consider when choosing pics for your wedding album include:

  • Black and white vs. color. Many wedding photographers will deliver photos in both color and black and white—and featuring a mix of both in your wedding album can add visual interest.
  • Posed vs. candid. Your photographer likely had you, your partner, your wedding party, and your families pose for a variety of photos. But they also probably captured more than a few candid moments of you enjoying your big day without being conscious of the camera. Including candid shots with your posed photos can make your wedding album feel like a more authentic encapsulation of your wedding day.
  • Mix of people. You might be tempted to only include shots of you and your partner in your wedding album. But you want to remember celebrating with your loved ones—so aim to include a mix of people in the photos you choose to feature in your wedding album.

Think about telling a story with your photos.

Choosing the photos you want to feature in your wedding album is the first part of the equation—but you also have to figure out how, exactly, you’re going to lay those photos out.

There’s no right or wrong way to layout your wedding photos. Ultimately, you can feature whatever photos at whatever size and in whatever order you choose. But if you want your album to tell a story about your big day, the easiest way to tell that story? Laying your photos out in chronological order.

Now, there’s no need to be too exact. But having your wedding album flow in the same way your actual wedding did will ensure that your album tells your wedding story, from beginning to end, every time you look at it.

So, for example, you might start your wedding album off with photos of you and your partner getting ready, followed by the first look, wedding party and family photos, and the snaps of your ceremony. Then, you can work in photos from cocktail hour and the reception before capping things off with pictures of your big send off.

Laying out your wedding photos chronologically will ensure that you’re able to get lost in the story and relive your wedding day every time you look at it—which, let’s be real, is the whole point of creating a wedding album.

Let's talk numbers.

If you're still having a hard time choosing photos—or if you feel overwhelmed by too many amazing options, let us help. Here are some general guidelines for how many of each type of photo to include in your wedding photo album.

Remember, though, these are only suggestions. Feel free to play around with the numbers to find something that works best for you. Here are our recommendations for how many of each category of photo to include.

  • Scenery: 2 photos min, 6 photos max
  • Details: 4 photos min, 12 photos max
  • Getting Ready: 6 photos min, 12 photos max
  • First Look: 10 photos min, 30 photos max
  • Portraits: 8 photos min, 14 photos max
  • Wedding Party: 6 photos min, 12 photos max
  • Family: 10 photos min, 16 photos max
  • Ceremony: 20 photos min, 40 photos max
  • Cocktail Hour: 4 photos min, 12 photos max
  • Toasts: 6 photos min, 12 photos max
  • Dance Floor: 10 photos min, 20 photos max
  • Traditions: 2 photos min, 20 photos max
  • Reception: 10 photos min, 20 photos max
  • Send-off: 2 photos min, 4 photos max

If you stick to the minimum recommendations, you'll end up with a book of about 100 photos. If you stick to the maximum recommendations, you'll end up around 230 photos. You can also settle into a nice average of the two around 150-160 photos.

Choose the Perfect Photos for Your Zola Wedding Album

We know best that a wedding album is the perfect way to capture memories of your big day so you can relive them forever. But with so many photos to choose from, narrowing down the options can feel overwhelming.

That's why Zola's made making your wedding album simple so you can focus on showcasing your wedding photos in the most beautiful way. Our Album Wizard, like magic, helps pick and arrange photos for you, eliminating the busy work to make storing your memories as stress-free as it should be.

Now that you know exactly how to choose (and lay out) the perfect photos for your wedding album, all that’s left to do? Get out there and get choosing!

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola