Your Wedding Photography Checklist
With any luck, you’ve chosen a wedding photographer who will know the basic shots to capture at the very least. But even though you don’t think you need a wedding photography checklist, you definitely do – so read on…
Get the wedding photos you really want
Your wedding photo album is one of the things that you will cherish and that will stay with you forever. After the months of planning, the wedding day itself may feel like a bit of a blur — meeting your guests, drinking all of the champagne and spending hours on the dancefloor will make it seem like it’s over before it’s started, so you’ll want your permanent record to be filled with the best moments.
We’re not suggesting that you keep the checklist slipped inside your garter for easy access — share it with your photographer in the weeks leading up to your big day and make sure that you both have an idea of the photos you definitely want taken. You don’t want to discover a few months down the line that you didn’t manage to get everything you needed – it can be quite upsetting!
We’ve put together a list of what we would consider the ‘essentials’ that you should get captured throughout the day. Every wedding is different however, and you should spend some quality time with your partner thinking about the must-haves because two heads are better than one.
Getting Ready & Travelling to the Venue
The pre-ceremony checklist is almost as long as the one for the wedding ceremony itself!
– A picture of the wedding invitation.
– Hair and makeup shots of the bride and bridesmaids.
– The ladies’ bouquets/corsages and the gentlemen’s buttonholes.
– The dress hanging up before it’s worn, along with any jewellery or accessories.
– Bride putting on dress with help from mother of the bride or the bridesmaids.
– The bridal party relaxing with a glass of champagne.
– A few close up shots of the details of the dress.
– Bride putting on the jewellery.
– Bride putting on shoes.
– Close up of bride’s hands holding the bouquet.
– Portrait of the bride with mother, father and as a family.
– Several shots of the bride taking some alone time.
– Bridal party leaving for the Wedding Venue from house or hotel.
– Bride and father in wedding car, bride leaving car and on final walk to wedding venue.
– Groom and groomsmen getting ready.
– Shot of groomsmen together outside the wedding venue.
– Groom spending a moment alone at the wedding venue.
– Shots of the wedding rings held by Best Man.
Your photographer will be very busy during the day and it may seem like they need to be in three places at once (which they do), so maybe asking a trusted friend with some decent camera skills to take some of these may also pay off.
– Shot of the venue when empty (this will really show off the venue decorations).
– Groom waiting for the bride with Best Man.
– Guest mingling outside and being seated by the usher inside the venue.
– Entrance of the bridal party.
– Bride walking up the aisle.
– The groom’s reaction to seeing his bride for the first time (this is our favourite!)
– The giving away of the bride.
– Exchanging of the vows.
– Exchanging of the rings.
– Anyone else taking part in the ceremony; musicians, choirs, readers etc…
– The first kiss!
– The signing of the wedding register
– The recessional (that’s walking back down the aisle)
– Newlyweds leaving the venue, confetti and greeting guests outside
This part of the day is where your official wedding photographer really comes into their own, but also where they’ll need the most help. Only you know your own families, so if there are any issues then let your photographer know in advance so they can make the necessary arrangements. If Uncle Derek doesn’t get on well with Auntie Val, then maybe have them at opposite ends of the family photo. Depending on where you get married (and how organised your family are!), this session could take anywhere between half an hour and a couple of hours so make sure you’ve got something warm to wear if you’re getting married during the cooler months, whilst the photographer is setting up.
These will be the photos that you’ll go back to time and time again, so make sure you make a list of everyone that you want in the portraits and in what order you’d like them to happen – it’ll act as a call sheet for your photographer and make the whole process easier for everyone.
The Wedding Reception
Many couples only hire a photographer up to the evening reception (they can be quite expensive!) and leave the rest up to the guests. However, if you’ve managed to grab them for the evening too, make sure that they get the following shots which you can mix up with the more candid ones taken by friends and family.
– If the reception is being held somewhere different to the ceremony, make sure you get some photos before people file in.
– Details and room decor shots (we’re thinking table settings, place cards, table decorations)
– The happy couple arriving at the wedding reception venue
– Toasts and speeches (make sure you get photos of guests laughing at the Best Man’s awful jokes)
– Cutting of the cake
– The first dance, including guests joining the newlyweds
– Couple mingling with guests
– Guests dancing
– Any bands, singers, DJs performing at the reception
You’ll no doubt have a few added extras and some other non-traditional shots that you’d like to try, but we hope that the above checklist will go some way to helping you plan for your special day.