Your wedding photos are going to be the one memento from your big day that you hang onto forever. For that reason, you’ll want to do your due diligence and hire the right wedding photographer. You’ll also want to provide them with a wedding photo list, or a list of must-have photos, that you want them to take before, during, and after the ceremony. To ensure you end up with your ideal wedding photography, go through our comprehensive wedding photo checklist below.
A shot list is helpful because it basically serves as a checklist for the photographer. They can reference it and make sure you get all the photos you want with the most important people in your life. It can also help them capture the moments of the day you don’t want to miss.
Pro tip: You may want to appoint a point-person who can round up or point out family members and other guests who you include on your shot list. That way, you can enjoy your day without having to take on this role.
Before you even share your list with your photographer, learn how to optimize the relationship to make sure you get the absolute most out of your shot list.
You’re going to be very busy on your wedding day. That’s why you’ll want to get to know your wedding photographer a bit beforehand. Try to set up an in-person meeting or two, or a few phone calls, to talk about your vision for your wedding photos. If you aren’t sure, you can also ask them to describe their vibe/style and how they approach weddings. (For example, do they do candid shots, or is it mostly posed? Do you also shoot with film, or just digitally?)
Make sure you’re comfortable with your photographer’s style and approach before you hire them. Explore Zola's vendor directory to find trusted wedding photographers from Denver, CO to Los Angeles, CA and everything in between. And don’t be shy to speak up about special requests or traditions you want them to capture.
Your wedding day is a unique reflection of who you and your partner are. Different types of ceremonies have special traditions, and it’s your photographer’s job to capture your special moments.
Be sure to let them know ahead of time what to expect and what moments you’d like them to capture. For example, you may want specific shots of the mangal phera at an Indian wedding, the couple being wrapped in a tallit in a Jewish ceremony, or the tea ceremony at a traditional Chinese wedding. You can also be as specific as possible about your requests for photos. (“I’m wearing my mom’s veil,” or “Please get close-up shots of the coins used during the Savaqah.”)
Your photographer and/or their assistants will be moving all around on the wedding day capturing you getting ready, followed by the ceremony, and reception. That’s not to say other smaller moments won’t come up that you’ll want to remember, though.
If you happen upon a moment of detail you’d like photographed, just let your photographer or videographer know. For example, your mother in law presenting you with something old from your partner’s childhood or the happy couple holding umbrellas in a sudden rainstorm as everyone is sitting down inside for dinner. Those special moments may just end up being your favorite photos from the day.
This shot list is designed to work with a number of different wedding styles and traditions. Feel free to add photos, disregard photos, or otherwise edit this list to fit your wedding’s specific needs and look. For example, “getting ready” may mean one thing to you and another to another couple. Feel free to interpret each suggested image through the lens of your wedding.
Months before your wedding takes place, you're likely to have an engagement shoot. These photos can be used in your save the dates, invitations, wedding website, registry, and more. Here are some specific shots you can ask for during this photo shoot.
While professional photos during your rehearsal dinner aren't by any means a requirement, it's likely to be a night worthy of capturing. Ask your wedding photographer if you can add this event into your photo package.
Detail shots allow you to capture an up-close look at all of the stunning little details that've gone (or will go) into your wedding.
Take advantage of your getting ready time and request a few solo, candid portraits of the bride and groom. These will look stunning in any frames or wedding albums you decide to make when you get your photos back.
You can't let the getting ready period go by without capturing one of the best parts—the people that are there with you. Ask for the following to capture all of the fun.
While a first look photo session isn't always necessary (or wanted), having one can be thrilling, special, and even practical. Coordinate with your photographer or photographers to
Many couples will plan to have their family portraits done immediately after the ceremony, during their cocktail hour. While that's a popular option, we highly suggest that smaller groups have these taken post-first look and pre-ceremony. This, of course, depends on your ability to get the needed family members together beforehand.
Likewise, we suggest taking any group photos with your bridesmaids and groomsmen post-getting ready, before the ceremony. This is likely the most convenient option, since you'll already be all together. That being said, this can also take place after the ceremony.
Don't forgot to mention any other specific important moments that will be taking place throughout this time! Go through your plans and inform your photographer(s) of anything you want captured.
Capture all of the nerves and giddy exciting as you and your loved ones make your way to the ceremony venue.
Ask your photographer to get some photos of the space, guests, and more before the ceremony officially begins.
Ask for every wonderful moment of you and your loved ones walking down the aisle. From tear-jerking to adorable, there's sure to be many moments you won't want to miss.
You're finally here! Capture every important wedding ceremony moment so that you can keep and relive them for years and years to come.
Before the wedding reception beings, request a few photos of the beautiful space. Don't forget some of the smaller, thoughtful details! Make sure all of your work and planning doesn't go unnoticed.
Some of the best wedding photos are entirely unplanned. Your photographer(s) should have a keen eye for fun and beautiful moments—ask that they capture as many as possible!
That being said, be sure to include and inform them of any big traditions and moments you'll be having and want photos of.
Note: Every wedding is unique. Be sure to customize your shot list to include all the important traditions and people you want to see in your wedding photos! Need some advice or help with any other part of wedding planning (like how to store your photos once you get them)? Zola's got you covered.