photography The Ultimate Wedding Photography Checklist

The Ultimate Wedding Photography Checklist

How to avoid disappointment and get the wedding photos you really want!

I know what you’re thinking – “Does a wedding photo checklist really make sense?” Yes, but you don’t have to carry it around in your pocket and constantly pull it out to tick things off throughout the day! You provide your photographer with your wedding photo checklist so they are aware of the specific shots you’re hoping to see in your wedding photographs. This way, you’ll avoid the trap that many couples fall into, in which they find themselves thinking six months after the wedding, “I wish I had a picture of me and my Aunty Mary/pal Jen/Granddad, etc.” Additionally, we’ve created a free checklist for you to download and print!

While every good wedding photographer (which we can recommend) will have their own list of key moments to capture, it’s still a good idea to create your own, especially if there are specific elements or people you want to photograph. Discuss with your photographer whether they take a shot list; depending on their style, some prefer to capture images on the fly, while others may have their own template.

We’ve compiled our own handy list as a starting point, but it’s worth considering any additional shots you might want to include as well. For instance, you may desire a group portrait with your college friends, a photograph of your bridesmaid’s amazing signage, a snapshot of the mayhem that ensued in the DIY photobooth, or a photograph of the table plan that you laboured over for hours!

Of course, you won’t want all of these, and many will apply to both you and your spouse (you may be a same sex couple, or you might not have a wedding party for example). This list is merely a starting point for you to expand upon and edit as desired!

Prior to the Big Day

  • Schedule an Engagement/Love Shoot – this is an excellent opportunity to become comfortable in front of the camera and familiarise yourself with your photographer.

Pre-Ceremony on the Wedding Day Checklist for Wedding Photographs

  • A photograph of a wedding invitation
  • Bride(s) and bridesmaids receiving hair and makeup services
  • Dress hung, jewellery arranged, and shoes displayed, etc.
  • Bouquets, boutonnières, and corsages
  • Bride(s) putting on gown/veil with assistance from bride’s mother or bridesmaids
  • Bridal party having a good time
  • Detail of a dress
  • Dressing in jewelery
  • Putting shoes on
  • Bride holding bouquet in close-up
  • Portrait of the bride’s mother
  • Portrait of the groom and bride
  • Photographs of the family
  • Bride(s) enjoying some alone time
  • Bridal party descends the stairs/exits the house
  • Bride and groom in wedding car/on their way to the ceremony
  • Groom(s) and groomsmen preparing
  • Groom(s) enjoying some alone time
  • Photographs of wedding rings

  • The Initial Examination
    While this is entirely optional, many couples choose to see each other prior to the ceremony in order to spend some quiet time together and/or to alleviate any nerves, and thus request that their wedding photographer capture the moment. For the complete scoop, visit our post on First Look Photos.
  • Couple alone for initial examination
  • Reaction of the bridal party if the couple enters together
    The Journey to the Ceremonial Site/Venue
  • The bride(s) and the groom’s/father/mother mother’s
  • The bride (or bridesmaids) and flower girls
  • Groomsmen/page boys and groom(s)
  • Photograph of the wedding automobile

Wedding Day: Checklist for Photographing the Wedding Ceremony

Certain churches, particularly during the mass, prefer not to have photographs taken during the ceremony; therefore, check with your celebrant in advance to ascertain their policy.


  • Photographs of the venue/church in its entirety, including the altar, flowers, and interior and exterior details.
  • The groom and groomsmen are awaiting their arrival inside the venue/church.
  • Visitors both outside and inside the church
  • Ushers distributing programme
  • Arrival of the bride(s) in the wedding car
  • Bride(s) exiting the car
  • At the back of the venue/church, the bride(s) and bridesmaids
  • Entrance to the bridal party
  • The bride(s) ascending the aisle
  • Reaction of the groom
  • Father/mother presenting bride
  • Vow exchange
  • Lighting of the candle of unity
  • Bearer of the ring
  • Ring exchange
  • Participants include readers, the officiant, and musicians, among others.
  • The first kiss as a married couple, and the moment immediately following
  • The register’s signature
  • The recessional/couple re-entering the aisle
  • Shot by newlyweds
  • Throwing of confetti
  • Outside the venue, greeting guests
  • Couple seated in the rear seat of the wedding car

Wedding Day: Checklist for Post-Ceremony Wedding Photographs

While most couples schedule their wedding portraits after the ceremony, it is becoming increasingly popular for couples who have a First Look to schedule them prior to the ceremony. In either case, your portrait session will likely last between 40 and two hours, depending on the location and number of shots required. Consult your photographer if time is a concern. Make a list of everyone you want to appear in the portraits, as well as the specific combinations you require. Additionally, it’s a good idea to enlist the assistance of a close friend who is not a member of the bridal party to assist the photographer in rounding up people.

Several Shots

·         Individual portraits of the couple

·         Bride/Groom portraits with their own Bridal Party

Bridal Party


·         Couple accompanied by bridesmaids/groomsmen

·         Couple and wedding party

·         Bride(s) surrounded by bridesmaids/maids of honour

·         Groomsmen/bestman and groom(s)

·         Couples with any children invited to the wedding


  • Couples with each of their respective sets of parents
  • Couple with parents from both sets
  • Couple consisting of siblings
  • Couple with immediate family

Shots taken casually

  • Photographs taken with friends
  • Guests eating, drinking, and conversing
  • Any particular group of friends, for example, college classmates, schoolmates, or team mates

Wedding Day: Checklist for Photographing the Wedding Reception

If someone created something for your reception – for example, a friend baked the cake or an aunt stitched the bunting – it’s a nice idea to include their name on the list so you can show them their handy work!


  • The reception area has been set up, just in time for the room to fill up.
  • Details and shots of the room’s decor, such as table settings, place cards, favours, and centrepieces.
  • Photographs of the wedding cake in detail
  • A couple arrives
  • Toasts and public addresses
  • Cake slicing
  • The initial dance
  • Bride(s) and groom(s) dancing with father/bride(s) and groom(s) dancing with mother
  • Guests mingling with a couple
  • Guests on the dance floor
  • Musicians, singers, and disc jockeys

Of course, obtaining the wedding photographs of your dreams also requires you to find a wedding photographer whose work and style you admire, which is why it’s critical to invest time and effort in finding the right person for the job!