The Ultimate Wedding Photography Checklist

Wedding Photography Checklist Printable

After your wedding has been and gone, your photos will become the memories you relive for a lifetime. So how can you make sure all of the important moments are captured throughout the day?

While your photographer will have a wealth of experience when it comes to essential wedding day snaps, no two couples are ever the same. Maybe you’ll be wearing a family heirloom, surprising your partner with a gift, or slaving away on DIY centrepieces that deserve to be documented!

Whatever your priorities are, creating a wedding photography checklist is a great way to ensure you and your photographer are on the same page.

Not sure where to begin? We’ve rounded up the ultimate wedding photography checklist below, from bridal portraits and centrepieces right down to the dance floor.

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Wedding Photography Checklist: Pre-Ceremony

The morning of your wedding will be packed with nerves and excitement. This is the perfect time to document candid photos of you and your bridal party, along with the finer details of your wedding day look. Don’t miss these special moments:

  • Bride and bridal party getting hair and makeup done
  • Details and accessories
    • Stationery suite
    • Perfume
    • Jewellery
    • Shoes
    • Wedding rings
    • Family heirlooms
  • Wedding dress (close-up)
  • Wedding dress (hanging)
  • Bridesmaid dresses
  • Bridal bouquet
  • Bridesmaid bouquets
  • Bride putting on dress (helped by MOH/mother of bride)
  • Bride putting on shoes and jewellery
  • Bridesmaids reacting to bride in her dress
  • Father of the bride first look/reaction
  • Bridesmaids together
  • Bride and bridesmaids together
  • Bride and parents
  • Bride alone
  • Bridal party leaving the house
  • Bride in wedding car
  • Groom wedding details
    • Shoes
    • Tie
    • Boutonnieres
    • Cologne
    • Cufflinks
  • Groom suit
  • Groomsmen suits
  • Groom and groomsmen getting ready
  • Mother of the groom attaching boutonniere
  • Groomsmen together
  • Groom and groomsmen together
  • Groom with parents
  • Groom alone
  • First look (optional)
Photo by Alen Karupovic

Wedding Photography Checklist: Ceremony

The ceremony is where some of your most treasured memories and emotions will be shared. Make sure all of the important moments are documented with these essential ceremony snaps:

  • Ceremony venue
    • Exterior
    • Interior (before guests arrive)
    • Flower arrangements
    • Arbour and furniture
    • Signage
  • Groom and groomsmen arriving
  • Guests arriving
  • Groom and groomsmen waiting at altar
  • Parents seated
  • Grandparents seated
  • Bride and bridal party arriving in wedding car
  • Bride stepping out of car
  • Bridal party entrance
  • Bride walking down the aisle
  • Groom reaction
  • Couple standing at altar
    • Wide shot
    • Close-ups
  • Exchanging of vows
  • Exchanging of rings
  • Other ceremony participants
    • Flower girls/page boys
    • Musician
    • Guest readings
  • First kiss
  • Guest reactions
  • Signing of the register
  • Recessional/walking back down the aisle
  • Confetti/rice throwing
Photo by Wild Heart Visuals

Wedding Photography Checklist: Post-Ceremony

Immediately after your ceremony is an ideal time to capture family photos and wedding portraits. Your photographer will definitely be relying on your shot-list here, so make sure you customise one to suit your unique family situation and the specific combinations you require. Some key shots to consider include:

  • Candid photos of newlyweds with guests
    • Greeting/embracing guests after ceremony
    • Guests mixing and mingling
  • Family photos
    • Newlyweds together
    • Bride with parents
    • Bride with immediate family
    • Groom with parents
    • Groom with immediate family
    • Newlyweds with bride’s family
    • Newlyweds with groom’s family
    • Newlyweds with bride’s parents
    • Newlyweds with groom’s parents
    • Newlyweds with both sets of parents
  • Other significant groups of family/friends
  • Group photo (all guests)

After family photos have been captured at the venue, you might choose to have a portrait session with your wedding party at a separate location. These photos are generally a mix of candid and posed shots, including:

  • Portraits of bride/groom individually
  • Portraits of bride/groom together
  • Bride with bridesmaids 
  • Groom with groomsmen 
  • Bride with groomsmen
  • Groom with bridesmaids
  • Wedding party together
Photo by Weddings by Scott and Dana

Wedding Photography Checklist: Reception

Amongst the whirlwind of your wedding day, you might not have a chance to see your reception set-up before guests arrive. If you’ve poured your heart and soul into designing your wedding day, don’t forget to ask your photographer to capture the details for you with these must-have shots:

  • Venue exterior 
  • Venue interior (without guests)
  • Styling details
    • Centrepieces
    • Floral arrangements
    • Stationery
    • Signage
    • Place settings
    • Guest favours
    • Wedding cake
    • Bridal table
  • Bridal party entrance
  • Newlyweds entrance
  • Toasts and speeches
  • Plated meals
  • Signature drinks/cocktails
  • Newlyweds sitting at bridal table
  • Newlyweds mingling with guests
  • Guests mingling with each other
  • First dance
  • Father daughter dance
  • Mother son dance
  • Musician/entertainment performing
  • Guests dancing
  • Newlyweds dancing with guests
  • Cake cutting
  • Bouquet toss
  • Newlyweds leaving the reception
    • Sparkler exit
    • Getaway car
Photo by Ashtyn Brooke

Bonus Tips on Nailing Your Wedding Photos:

With your checklist now sorted, how can you nail your wedding photos on the day? Keep the following tips in mind to help you achieve the very best shots:

  • Book an engagement shoot. Think of it as a practice run before the real thing! Not only will you receive some beautiful shots of you and your partner to use across your wedding website, but you’ll also build your confidence in front of the camera. 
  • Scout your photo locations in advance. With limited time between your ceremony and reception, make sure you choose a portrait location nearby – you don’t want to be late to your own party! 
  • Consider your timeline. If possible, try to time your portraits just before sunset for the best natural light and a beautiful golden glow.
  • Request an unplugged ceremony. Asking guests to keep their phones off will help your photographer capture all of the important moments without distraction. Your celebrant will be able to communicate this to your guests, or you could include a custom sign at your ceremony entrance.
  • Choose a photographer you feel relaxed around. When you feel comfortable, you’ll look more natural on camera, too. Check out these questions to ask your wedding photographer to help you find your perfect fit. 

Communication Is Key

Remember – you can’t redo your wedding photos, so don’t be afraid to communicate your must-have moments before the day.

Our final tip? Trust your photographer! These guys are seasoned professionals and will happily guide you through the process with their own knowledge and suggestions, too.

Want a copy of our wedding photography checklist? Download our free printable here!