Article thanks to Sue Featherstone Bride Online Columnist

Our Absolute Best Ideas For Your Best Wedding Photos

There are so many important bridal moments that a photographer needs to capture, that it’s crucial to have a checklist of shots for the entire day. This is essential for new wedding photographers, but also for seasoned pros – who may find something new to add to their list.

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For photographers: take your list when you meet the bridal couple, so you can add suggestions they like, and remove what they don’t. On their wedding day be sure to print it out so you can cross off the photos as you take them.

For the couple: this list covers the main opportunities for your wedding shots, but it’s by no means definitive. It’s a starting point that you can edit to suit your personality and your wedding.

Getting Ready


- Bride’s dress hanging up
- Close up of details of dress
- Bride’s accessories: shoes, veil, bouquet, perfume, jewellery, rings
- Accessories for flower girls and bridesmaids
- Bride getting hair and makeup done
- Capture the toasts, prayers, laughter as they all get dressed
- Bride getting into her dress, getting help with the zip, buttons, garter
- Bride with mum, grandmother, sisters
- Bride with maid of honour, bridesmaids
- Bride with flower girls
- Bride alone in her dress (looking out the window or at the mirror)
- Father seeing bride for the first time
- Bride leaving for the ceremony, picture of her in the car


- Groom getting dressed (shaving, fastening tie, attaching boutonnière)
- Groom with his father, grandfather, brothers
- Groom with best man, groomsmen
- Groom with ring bearer
- Groom alone

First Look

This is a trend that’s gaining popularity but it’s completely optional. It’s a staged event where the couple see each other before the ceremony, and have their “first look” in private.
- Groom waiting
- Bride sneaking up behind the groom, his back is turned
- Groom’s face when he sees his bride
- Couple hugging and sharing this intimate moment

At The Ceremony

- Outside the venue to set the scene
- Guests arriving and being helped to their seats
- Parents, grandparents and extended family being seated
- Capture the musicians, officiant
- Bride getting out the car
- The nervous groom waiting at the altar
- Bride getting help fixing veil, train, lipstick
- Ring bearer and flower girls coming down the aisle
- Bridesmaids and groomsmen coming down the aisle
- Bride getting a kiss and some (very!) last-minute advice from dad/mum/escort
- Bride and escort coming down the aisle (also get a photo from the back)
- Groom’s first look at his bride
- Bride being given away
- Bride and groom holding hands
- Readings, prayers and blessings given by friends and family
- Exchanging vows
- Unity ceremony (lighting candle, planting a tree)
- Exchanging rings
- The all-important first kiss
- Reactions of the guests and family
- Signing the register
- Recessional and throwing confetti or rose petals
- Receiving line
- Relaxed photos of the guests
- Group shot of entire wedding (it’s worth the admin to have this fun picture!)
- Bride and groom leaving the ceremony
- Photos of the ceremony venue, including programme, candles, flowers

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Formal Photos

This normally takes place between the ceremony and reception, but it depends on the newlyweds.


- Bride with parents, stepparents
- Bride with grandparents
- Bride with siblings
- Bride with her whole family
- Bride and groom with bride’s family
- Groom with parents, stepparents
- Groom with grandparents
- Groom with siblings
- Groom with his whole family
- Bride and groom with groom’s family
- Bride and groom and all parents
- Bride and groom and all siblings
- Bride and groom and both families
- Any extended family photos should be taken now

Bridal Party:

- Bride and maid of honour
- Bride and bridesmaids
- Bride and flower girls
- Bride and groomsmen
- Groom and best man
- Groom and groomsmen
- Groom and ring bearer
- Groom and bridesmaids
- Entire wedding party


- Bride alone
- Groom alone
- Bride and groom

Cocktail Hour

This usually takes place while the formal photographs are being taken.
- Guests mingling, eating snacks and having drinks
- Guests playing games (if you’ve provided), such as boules or croquet
- Photos of décor, food and speciality drinks like a signature cocktail


- Venue from outside and inside
- All the details: tables, décor, flowers, place settings, food, favours, wedding cake
- Bride and groom having a stolen moment before they walk through the reception doors
- Bride and groom entering venue
- Reaction from the guests
- Toasts to the newlyweds
- Photos of guests at each table – with bride and groom – or socialising if it’s a buffet
- Friends and family who perform readings and blessings
- Bride and groom sipping champagne
- Speeches from the MC, father of the bride, maid of honour, best man, bride, groom
- Reactions from the newlyweds during speeches – laughter and tears
- Guests signing the guest book
- Couple cutting the cake, feeding it to each other
- The first dance
- Parents dancing
- The father and daughter, mother and son dance
- Dancing with flower girls, ring bearer, bridal party
- Guests dancing – this can be as candid as you want but it often provides some of the most memorable photos of your wedding
- Musicians or DJ
- Bride throwing bouquet and picture of the lady who caught it
- Groom getting and throwing the garter, and photo of lad who caught it
- The bouquet and garter winners together
- Fireworks, sparklers at the end of the night
- The newlyweds being sent off by their guests
- The getaway car as it drives off into the night

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You want your wedding photos to be as individual as you are, and you might think that it’s impossible if you use a generic list, but this is here to highlight key wedding moments you may want to capture. What makes your photos unique are you and your partner, and the quirky personalities and crazy characters that make up your bridal party, family and wedding guests.

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