Don's Pages

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Wedding Photography: Photo Check List

Wedding Photography: Photo Check-List.

100 Must Have Shots at a Wedding: 

I've taken over 600 weddings since 1994 and I've observed some good and some not so good photographers at work. The Best Photographers seem to know in advance what they want to shoot and they'll communicate that clearly with everyone who needs to know. The worst photographers just bumble along and follow the suggestions of guests and the couple on the day. I've seen photographers miss out completely the most important shots that I know the Bride and Groom will almost always want to see in their albums later. If you are their photographer on their special day, then you don't want to do that.

So having a clear plan of those shots agreed with the wedding party beforehand will eliminate any confusion and future disappointments with your service.

Some people you definitely want to inform: 

There are some people it is essential that you communicate clearly your intended shooting plan:

  • The Brides Parents and Family Members.
  • The Bridesmaids and Best Man and Grooms men.
  • The Minister / Person Conducting the Service (You may need to talk through what permission you need during the ceremony,  etc..)
  • Transport Drivers.

A Comprehensive Check-list of the Shots you should be thinking about.

Before the Wedding Ceremony:
At the Brides Home / Hotel Room. Many weddings are taking place at venues where it all happens: Rooms, Ceremony, Reception, etc... This makes it really easy for Photographers, but most times you'll be shooting the bride at home first. 

Shots to Get:

  • Bride's Dress (Hanging Up)
  • Bride's Shoes.
  • Bride's Bouquet.
  • Bride's Veil.
  • Bride's Make-up.
  • Bride Being Dressed by Maids / Mother.
  • Bride in her dress (Full length, 3/4s and Head Shots).
  • Bride's Garter (Something Blue).
  • Pinning of flowers on bridesmaids or bouquets holding.
  • Bride and Maids (Head Bridesmaid). 
  • Bride and Mother
  • Bride and Father
  • Bride and brothers and sisters
  • Whole family with Bride.
  • Family and Bridesmaids with Bride. 
  • Bride leaving the house family on doorstep.
  • Bride being taken to the car with father.
  • Bride in the back seat of the car.

Shots At the Church / Venue for the Ceremony (Before the Ceremony).

As with most weddings the Groom and Best Man will arrive long before the bride and you'll have an opportunity to take some shots before everyone arrives. Here are some of the shots you'll definitely want to have in the bag.

  • Groom on his own.
  • Groom with Best Man.
  • Best man adjusting flower / tie of the Groom.
  • Groom with Groom's men and Best Man.
  • Groom with page boys etc...
  • Groom with celebrant / Minister. 
  • Shots of guests arriving for the wedding.
  • Some shots of the Groom with His Family.
  • Shots of the rings in the best man's hand.
  • Groom Seated at the front of Church / Venue awaiting the bride.

The Arrival of the Bride:

  • Cars with Bridesmaids: Getting out and waiting for the Bride.
  • Car arriving with Bride. Father / Driver opening the door bride seated.
  • Bride in back seat (again). 
  • Bride with Father / (Person giving her away)
  • Bride with Bridesmaids. (Page boy) 
  • Formation of Bride and Bridal Party for Procession.

The Wedding Ceremony Shots:

The ceremony is a very special and holy occasion and the atmosphere has been ruined by some photographers being insensitive about this aspect, so be careful and ready to follow the Celebrant's guidelines, but do try and get these shots. 
The Ceremony:
Inside the Venue / Church: Shoot with a higher ISO to freeze action without flash. Many churches will allow you to take shots during the ceremony, but some will insist that you don't use flash. So a good full frame camera with amazing low light capacity like the Nikon D700 or Canon 5d mkll or 3... will really help.

  • Bride and Father walking down the aisle.
  • Groom Waiting at front.
  • Bride and Groom before the Celebrant.
  • The exchange of rings.
  • The placing of ring on finger.
  • The Kiss
  • The blessing.
  • Various candid shots of the congregation / guests.
  • Try and get a shot of the Congregation from the Celebrant's point of view.

Signing of the Registers. This is an opportunity to use flash so remember recycle times of your flash units (Many photographers forget this and come away with a lot of blank / dark shots).

  • Bride, Groom and Witnesses on their own.
  • Bride and Groom. (Signing) Individually and with either party looking on.
  • Close up of hands signing.
  • Bride with Bridesmaids.
  • Groom with Grooms-men
  • Bride and Groom with family (mums and Dads)
  • Don't forget to include shots of the bride's bouquet on the table with the registers.

The Final Procession: After signing the registers the Bride and Groom and bridal party will process down the aisle. Pre-warn them that you'll get them to pause about half-way to take a couple of shots. If you have a second shooter get them behind the party and focus on the guests and back of the bride.
Bride and Groom walking down the aisle together.
Bridal Party as they process down the aisle.

After the Ceremony:

  • At door of Church / Venue more shots of the Bride and Groom. Remember to vary from full length, 3/4 and close-ups. 
  • The Kiss outside the Church.
  • Family Groupings.
  • All Friends and Family Together.
  • Finally some more shots of the Bride and Groom with special friends and must have shots previously agreed with Bride and Groom.
  • Candid shots of family and friends outside the Church.
  • Bride and Groom Getting into the Wedding Car / Transport.
  • Close up of Tin Cans / Old Boots etc on bridal car.
  • Just married slogans etc.
  • Car leaving for reception venue.

Bride and Groom on their own:
Find a nice place to take photos of the Bride and Groom on their own away from everyone else. These can be great moments for them to be alone and you can get some great shots of tender moments.


At the venue for the reception try and get there before everyone else, whilst they are sipping cocktails / champaign outside, you can be inside getting some detail shots of the tables, place cards, cake, place settings etc.

Whilst they are still enjoying this cocktail-hour, take some formal group shots and have a second shooter taking candid shots of guests as they chat and drink together.

Group Shots.

  • Bride and Groom with bride's family; Mum and Dad, then immediate family, then extended family.
  • Bride and Groom with his family; mum and day, then immediate family and grooms family and friends.
  • Bride and Groom with both sets of parents, then joint family, then all friends and family together for a few massive group shots.

  • Don't forget to zoom in for close ups, full length shots and head and shoulder and 3/4 shots.

Vary as much a possible. It helps to have someone with a loud voice calling the groups together and getting those up next read to jump into position. It looks more professional if you personally position people for the shots and helps with posing. 


 (During Meal) Candid shots of family and friends.
  • Top Table Shots. Try and avoid mouths open with food going in:-)
  • Speeches:
  • Best Man (Also watch out for guest reactions). 
  • Father's Speech
  • Groom's Speech
  • Bride's Speech
  • etc...
  • Remember to focus on individuals watching and listening to the speakers.
  • Cake Cutting. 
  • First Dance. 
  • More candid shots. 
  • Time to relax and take request shots from family and friends. 
Finally: Give out your Business Card and arrange to take details for those who will want to purchase special shots of the day.

Have a great time with a well planned and executed shot inventory, then you'll have something amazing to present to the Bride and Groom after the event with all the shots that you've pre-planned together.

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