Wedding Photography Shot-List Essentials

 February 15, 2023

Moments That You’ll Want to be Captured At Your Wedding


We are so lucky to be based in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by gorgeous scenery year-round. Another benefit of this area is the plethora of talented wedding photographers who have captured some truly magical moments. After putting so much effort into planning your wedding, you’ll want to capture it in the best way possible so you can look back on all the pictures and re-live every detail. 


What Is A Wedding Shot List? 


A wedding shot list is what it sounds like: A list you give to your photographer that describes “must-have” captures. A simple search on the internet will produce wedding photo checklist templates, suggestions of photographs you need for each part of the day, and many other resources you don’t actually need. 

Capturing moments from this most memorable day is the responsibility of a wedding photographer. The best way to get the memories you want is to communicate with your photographer. And while all good wedding photographers will have their own list of important moments, we recommend putting together a shot list of wedding photos you’d love to have taken, so nothing is missed.


How To Find Your Wedding Photographer


How do you find a wedding photographer who not only can see and capture your ideal vision but also that you can trust and feel comfortable with? Reach out! It never hurts to reach out to your top 3 or 4 wedding photographers so you can check their availability and get a feel for their personality. The person you choose should be someone you feel comfortable asking questions to and who gives you a good vibe. Chatting with a few different photographers beforehand is a great way to get a good idea of their shooting style, availability, pricing, and personality. All of which are very important to consider. Any wedding photographer that takes their profession and craft seriously will have an online portfolio to look at. Instagram is an excellent tool for finding wedding photographers too! Check out our Instagram page for some great local photography inspiration. And you will find a photographer quickly with our search tool in the Real Weddings section of our website.



Once you’ve narrowed down who will be photographing your wedding, you’ll want to start thinking about the kinds of shots you will want to get. Preparing a shot list to give to your photographer is also a helpful idea for them to know what exactly you’ll want them to shoot. 


We’ve compiled a list of the best wedding shots that you should definitely consider adding to your shot list. 


Must-Have Photos For Your Wedding Shot List


Rehearsal Dinner 



If you have a significant rehearsal dinner, consider hiring your wedding photographer for that as well. A lot of special behind-the-scenes moments happen in the time leading up to the wedding, including at the rehearsal dinner. Sometimes family members will give speeches that are sentimental and that don’t happen at the actual wedding. If you plan on having a bigger wedding, consider photographing the ‘extra’ moments that occur outside of your reception and ceremony. 


Bridal Suite Moments 



This is a great opportunity for detail and ‘getting ready’ photos. These can be candid photos of the bride and her bridesmaids getting their hair done and getting ready. Another great shot here is of all your bridal accessories, your dress on its hanger, and your ring. Your photographer can do these while you are getting ready since that usually takes a good amount of time. 


Bridesmaids & Champagne Pop



A fun wedding shot you can include is the champagne pop with your bridesmaids. We’ve seen many bridesmaids do this on the morning of their wedding while all still in matching robes or pajamas. It’s a fun photo of you with your bridesmaids that you won’t regret capturing. 


First Look



The first look is such a raw and candid moment of the groom seeing the bride for the first time. It’s a special moment and memory for you to cherish for years. You will not regret capturing your first look. 


First Look With Family 



Another extremely special moment is the first time that your parents and grandparents, or children, see you in your wedding dress. If you are close with certain members of your family and want to take a moment for them to see you before you walk down the aisle, have your photographer snap their initial reactions. It is such a sentimental moment that you can share with them later on. 


Organic Ceremony Shots 



This is an obvious one, but it’s essential to capture the ceremony as it would organically play out. These photos are so meaningful because they capture every expression and emotion from you and your loved ones that you can cherish for years to come And of course, the most important shot is the first kiss! Some other important shots to think about would be family reactions during the ceremony, the entrance, and the bride approaching the front…you get the idea, but seriously, a great photographer will already have photos to show you how they plan to capture these important shots 


Detail Photos 


Detail photos are crucial to the shot list because they set the vibe of your wedding and capture the beauty behind every tiny detail. These are things you would probably forget to capture as a bride, but you won’t have to if your photographer is doing it for you. Think photos of your bouquet, your dress on it’s hanger, the rings, your vows, your shoes, etc. 


Organic Reception Shots 



I love seeing photos of the bride and groom laughing and having fun with their friends and family on the dance floor. You want to be able to look back on those joyful moments. It’s also nice to have organic photos of your guests having fun and enjoying the venue. 


Cake Cutting 



The cake-cutting is another crucial moment to be captured. It is the first activity that you do together as a married couple, and it must be documented. 


The Send Off 



This is another emotional and sentimental moment of your wedding that should be captured. It’s usually the end of the night right before most of the guests leave, allowing the guests one last chance to wish you well. Some couples do fancy send-offs using sparklers or bubbles which can make a really awesome photograph. 


There are so many photo opportunities throughout your entire wedding, so remember not to stress about getting certain shots. Kick back and relax, and let your photographer handle the rest! No matter what you are doing, someone will be snapping photos. 

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