A Wedding Photography Shot List to Help You Prioritize Your Pics

Pack your wedding album with these precious moments.
maddy sims the knot associate editor
Maddy Sims
maddy sims the knot associate editor
Maddy Sims
Former Associate Editor
  • Maddy is a Brand and Social Content Manager at Birdy Grey, and was a former associate editor at The Knot.
  • Maddy has written for several different publications, including HUM Nutrition, Insider, Bustle, Real Simple and Apartment Therapy.
  • Maddy has a Bachelor's degree in magazine journalism and a Master's degree in health, science and environmental reporting (both of which are from Northwestern's Medill School of Journa...
Updated Apr 05, 2024

There are so many wedding moments you don't want to miss. From your pre-wedding prep to your post-wedding dancing, you'll want to remember everything about the day. Most photo pros have a standard wedding photo list that covers all the basic pictures you'll want captured. If you're unsure of what pictures they'll take, you can ask to see their shot list or send this wedding photography checklist over to them. Of course, the style and number of these images will all depend on the photographer you've chosen and how long you've hired that pro for, but a wedding shot list of photos you'd love to have is a great way to cover your bases.

While it may not be feasible to get all of these pictures taken, work with your photographer to narrow down the wedding photos you definitely want. You can also add in any additional shots you'd like taken that aren't on this list. For example, if you want a picture with a grandparent, godparent or another important person in your life, make sure you tell the photographer. If you want a special detail of your day captured (like your personalized wedding menu or your grandparent's heirloom), add that to your list. Just be sure you communicate your wishlist of pictures to your photographer (and wedding content creator if you've hired one) ahead of time so you can all finalize your wedding photography shot list in time for the big day.

Wedding shot list tips in this article:

Wedding Photography Checklist

When it comes to capturing ideas, making customized lists and collaborating with others, there's nothing like a good ol' spreadsheet to get the creative juices flowing and keep things organized. To help you out, we've populated a customizable digital version of a wedding photography checklist with all of the photo ideas listed below. You'll find it in The Knot's free wedding planning spreadsheets (Google Sheet or Excel download) where you can easily plan, print, PDF and share your wedding shot list.

Pre-Wedding Photo List

Capture your pre-ceremony excitement. Take pictures with your wedding party (bridesmaids, groomsmen and any other loved ones) to remember this special moment.

To-Be-Wed #1:

  • Wedding day outfit or wedding dress hanging on the wardrobe, on the bedpost or over a chair
  • Wedding party and guest of honor getting dressed and applying makeup (if you're going to be wearing makeup)
  • Parent or other guardian helping to-be-wed with one last detail, such as veil, shoes or zipping up outfit
  • Full-length shot of to-be-wed in outfit looking in mirror
  • Detail shot of clothing, shoes, accessories, and any other special items (something borrowed, something blue, etc)
  • Emotional shot of to-be-wed with parent/s and/or stepparent/s
  • Touching shot of to-be-wed with sibling/s
  • To-be-wed hugging honor attendant or close friend
  • To-be-wed with wedding party

To-Be-Wed #2:

  • To-be-wed getting ready with parent and pals (Psst: tying the tie is a classic)
  • Emotional shot of to-be-wed with parent/s and/or stepparent/s
  • Touching shot of to-be-wed with sibling/s
  • To-be-wed with arm around honor attendant (for example, the best man)
  • To-be-wed with wedding party
  • Wedding party putting final touches on outfit (boutonnieres or bowties, for example)

Both To-Be-Weds

  • Emotional shots of each to-be-wed talking to/hugging parents and siblings before the ceremony
  • To-be-wed #1 ready to go
  • To-be-wed #2 ready to go
  • Each to-be-wed separately making their way to the ceremony (in a limo backseat, hailing a cab, walking down the street/hall/stairs)
  • First look (if the couple is going to do one)

Wedding Ceremony Shot List

Of course, you'll want your wedding photographer to capture you and your partner exchanging vows. But what else? Ensure you capture smaller details, like your guests arriving or a close-up of your wedding bands. See our full wedding ceremony shot list of recommendations, below

  • Guests entering the site
  • Ushers escorting guests to their seats
  • Ushers escorting parents to their seats (if applicable)
  • Close-up of to-be-wed #2 waiting for partner
  • Wedding party coming down the aisle
  • Flower girl and/or ring bearer coming down the aisle
  • Honor attendants coming down the aisle
  • Grandparents walking down the aisle (if applicable)
  • Wedding party waiting at the altar
  • To-be-wed #2 coming down the aisle (with or without parents)
  • To-be-wed #1 and Dad/escort/parents (if applicable) walking down the aisle
  • Close-up of to-be-wed #2 just before making entrance
  • Couple at the front (including the officiant)
  • Arch, altar or canopy from the back during ceremony
  • Wide shot of audience during ceremony, from couple's point of view
  • Faces of the couple as they exchange vows
  • Close-up of the couple's hands as they exchange wedding rings
  • The first kiss as a married couple
  • The couple's recessional
  • Couple outside ceremony site
  • Congrats shots: couple hugging, laughing, and crying with friends and family
  • Couple leaving ceremony site
  • Couple in limo backseat

Family & Wedding Party Photos

wedding shot list couple with wedding party

You did it! Time to celebrate with some friend and family photos during cocktail hour. Take pictures with your wedding parties, your loved ones and just the two of you. Note: You can also take these before the ceremony.

  • Couple together for portrait
  • Couple looking at each other
  • Couple hugging or kissing
  • To-be-wed #1 with parents and/or stepparents
  • To-be-wed #1 with entire immediate family
  • To-be-wed #2 with parents and/or stepparents
  • To-be-wed #2 with entire immediate family
  • Couple with all parents
  • Couple with immediate family members from both sides
  • Couple with wedding party of to-be-wed #2
  • Couple with wedding party of to-be-wed #1
  • Couple with whole wedding party

Wedding Reception Photo List

You'll want to remember your post-wedding party for many years to come. Ensure your photographer captures the details that are most important to you (whether that's your food, your decor or your dance party).

  • Shot from outside reception venue
  • Reception details such as place cards, guest book, centerpieces, decorations, table settings, favors table, and champagne glasses
  • Stationery flat lay
  • Couple arriving to reception
  • Receiving line moments
  • Couple at head table
  • Parents' table
  • Guests' tables
  • Close-up of friends and family making toasts
  • Couple sipping champagne
  • Couple's parents talking to each other during dinner
  • Couple chatting up the guests
  • Detail shot of food
  • Couple's first dance
  • Parents dancing
  • To-be-wed #1 and parent dancing (such as father-daughter dance)
  • To-be-wed #2 and parent dancing (such as mother-son dance)
  • Wedding party dancing
  • Grandparents dancing
  • Kids playing or dancing (if applicable)
  • Musicians or DJ doing their thing
  • Guests going nuts on the dance floor
  • Couple laughing with guests on dance floor
  • Wedding cake (or dessert) table
  • Cake cutting moment
  • Couple feeding each other cake
  • Couple leaving reception
  • Couple waving from vehicle
  • Rear of vehicle departing
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