Wedding Photography – The shots you cannot afford to miss

Hi and I hope that this post reaches you all well?

I am just topping and tailing preparations for a wedding which I am photographing in a couple of weeks and I am reading through some old notes relating to the key shots for the day, which I have in a handy pocket sized book that I would keep as a reference tool.  Having captured these key shots I would then be able to concentrate on capturing the bonus shots.

So what are the key shots?  The key shots that I have and follow are divided into the different sections of the wedding day.

Bride’s Home
Dress details
Flower details
Shoes and jewellery
Engagement and good luck cards
Bride getting ready
Bridal portraits – full length / head and shoulders / three quarter length
Bride and parents/chief bridesmaid/siblings/other family
General reportage at the house
Unique religious/cultural ceremonies, eg Greek wedding customs

Groom’s Home/Hotel etc
Shoes and other accessories
Groom getting ready
Groom portraits – full length / head and shoulders / three quarter length
Groom and parents/best man/groomsmen/siblings/other family
General reportage at the house
Unique religious/cultural ceremonies, eg Greek wedding customs

The Church
Arrival of the groom
Detail shots – church, decorations/flowers/Order of Service/general location shots
Groom with best man / groomsmen / best man and groomsmen
Groom with parents / close family members
Arrival of guests

Arrival of the bridesmaids
Mother of the bride and shots with bridesmaids

Arrival of the bride – as an example I like to try and get as many different shots that I can, eg through the window, any gaps when the door is opened, and shots of the interaction between bride and whomsoever is giving her away.
Bride getting out of the car and her arrival into the church or other venue where the ceremony will take place.

When taking the shots of the ceremony itself, your meeting with the couple would have highlighted any specific shots that were must captures, for example in Jewish weddings the breaking of the glass.


Shots of the couple as husband and wife either walking down the aisle, or leaving the venue where the wedding took place.

Formal Shots
As discussed during your meetings with the clients.  There is nothing wrong in asking the couple whether there is someone in the party who would assist in ushering those required for the formal shots.

Couple Shots
This I found would vary from couple to couple – selection of formal portraits covering full length, three quarters, and zoomed images, as well as creative images depending on time available.

Detail shots – table decorations / signs referring to the wedding day / flowers / cake etc
General reportage images
Cutting of the cake – some prefer to stage this, however, I would do it at the actual time of cutting.
Reportage shots arising from the cake cutting
First dance
General reportage of the party

As I said this was my check list, and I am aware that there is a lot to remember, hence, why I always kept it with me in a note book, as it may seem obvious, but you don’t want to take that risk as you only have one chance to take those shots, and once the moment is missed, there’s no going back.

I hope that you liked this, and have found it of some use?  Please feel free to leave your comments and thoughts in the section below.