The 30 Wedding Photos You Need to Take

These are the moments you'll want to capture

Bride and groom exiting the wedding ceremony

Photo by Sergio Sandona

All brides know that wedding photos are one of the most important parts of the wedding day, so coming up with a must-have wedding photo list should be high on your wedding planning priorities. These are the memories you'll cherish forever and even look back on the very next day ("It goes by in a flash," they all say). That's why you want to make sure your photographer nails every photo-op, starting with the getting ready photos all the way through to your (sparkler) exit.

Step one to checking off this to-do list is to hire a wedding photographer you're excited about—and put your trust in the professional. You are hiring just that—a professional—who should know what they're doing, after all. They'll have an idea of the must-have wedding shots, but even so, it's nice to have some general knowledge of wedding photography yourself. As your 101 guide, we put together a wedding photo list of the must-have moments to capture—from the pretty detailed shot of your wedding day jewels to the table settings and invitation suite.

Of course, you don't have to get all of these wedding photos in order to create the perfect album, but it's nice to think about them. (Either way, they'll put you in the detail mindset at least as you buy those special bridal shoes and design your custom invitations). So before you get shopping and pinning away, scroll down to see some of our favorite images from real weddings on Brides.com. Once you make a mental checklist of your own, feel free to chat about these photo-op moments with your photographer—or better yet, send a link to this article! But once you do that, it's time to leave it to your photographer. From there, all you can do is put your trust in them, have fun, and be present on your big day. After all, the prettiest brides are the happiest ones, right?!

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The Invitation Suite

Green watercolor invitation suite

 Photo by Ashley Sawtelle 

Some photographers shoot the invitation suite on the wedding day, while others do it afterward in a studio. Talk to your photographer about what you're looking for in this photo moment and be direct about whether or not you want extra details (like these flowers) in the shot.

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The Beauty Moment

Braid with Flowers

Photo by Kristen Kilpatrick

Invite your photographer to the bridal suite to capture the beauty moments, like actress Carlson Young did to get a shot of her pretty braid. Give them a timeline before the big day, and don't forget to include your partner's getting ready moments as well!

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The Accessories

Bridal Jewelry

Photo by Gianny Campos

You spend time handpicking your wedding day accessories and making sure they're special, so be sure to capture that. And if you're wearing something old, new, borrowed, and blue get a shot of everything together!

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The Getting Ready Moments

Becca Tobin Putting on Wedding Dress

Photo by Carrie Patterson

After all that wedding dress shopping, you're going to want to document the big reveal. Snap a quick photo of your mom or Maid of Honor zipping you in.

In terms of the getting ready shots, "put effort into picking out a meaningful or cool getting ready location,” recommends Heidi Browne of Forged in the North. “Opt for an eclectic Airbnb over a basic hotel, for example," she says. "Some of my favorite images are during getting ready, but a bad location can completely ruin the photos.”

Meet the Expert

Heidi Browne is a photographer and cinematographer with Forged in the North, a photography studio in Brooklyn.

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The Wedding Shoes

Becca Tobin's Bridal Shoes

Photo by Carrie Patterson

This is one you can definitely choose to skip, but if you're wearing shoes as amazing as these, we think you may want photo evidence.

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The Bridal Portrait

Carlson Young in Christian Siriano

Photo by Kristen Kilpatrick

This is your time to shine in the spotlight and really show off that dress! Don't shy away from the camera, and make sure your photographer sets some time aside to capture your bridal portrait.

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The Veil

Woman wearing lace bridal veil

Photo by Erich McVey

If you’re rocking a veil this pretty, be sure to have your photographer snap some pics from every single angle.

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The Bridal Bouquet

Bridal bouquet with red and white flowers

Photo by Jose Villa

With a wedding bouquet this gorgeous, you'd better hold on tight and pose! Opt for shots while holding your bouquet, or let your photographer capture it in different locations for the perfect shot.

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The Bridal Party

bridal laughing with bridesmaids

Photo by Jake + Heather

We love this bridal party picture because it’s natural and candid. Copy it with your squad—and make sure you get some laughing ones while you're at it. You'll cherish these shots with your closest friends for years to come.

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The Boutonnieres

Boutonnieres

Photo by Corbin Gurkin Photography; planning & floral design by Tara Guérard Soirée.

How brilliant are these calligraphed name tags? They tell you who gets which flower—and makes for one pretty photo-op. Be sure to include every little detail like this in your shot list.

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The Groom

Groom in tux

Photo by Kyle John

It’s his turn to play model! Make sure to tell your groom how dapper he looks before he hops in front of the camera.

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The First Look

Bride in wedding dress for first look

Photo by Gianny Campos

Some couples are 100 percent sure they want a first look, while others would rather wait for the aisle moment, it's all up to you!

But if you do decide to see your groom before the ceremony, document it. You’ll cherish his reaction on film forever—we promise!

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The Candid Moments

Bride and Groom Exchange Notes

Photo by Cinzia Bruschini

Wedding candids are our favorite moments. Be yourselves as your photographer snaps pics of the two of you. We especially love this photo of a bride reading her groom a love note before walking down the aisle. Make sure your photographer knows you want them to capture those authentic moments.

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The Portraits

Newlyweds holding hands

Photo by Kelly Anne Berry

After you and your partner say "I do," sneak away with your photographer for photos, just the two of you. It’s a nice moment to spend with your partner alone and a perfect time for some lovely photos.

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The Wedding Party

Wedding Party Dancing

Photo by Nicola Lemmon

Put everyone together in one big group! A fun photo like this shows your wedding party having a ball.

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The Littlest Ones

Bride with Flower Girl

Photo by Anna Page Photography

Every bride needs a photo with her adorable flower girl (if you decide to have one). Take a few like this, looking down at her, and then squat down and give her a big thank you hug.

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The Ceremony Site

Ceremony Venue at The Cape

Photo by Forged in the North

Ask your photographer to take a landscape shot of the place where it all happens.

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The Walk Down the Aisle

Bride walking down the aisle with mother and father

 Photo by Heather Kincaid

Whether you’re walking on the arm of your mother, father, or both, you’ll treasure this moment forever.

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The Vows

Bride and Groom at Ceremony

Photo by Cambria Grace

Now here’s the important stuff! Make sure your photographer takes photos of the ceremony in action.

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The Laughs

Couple during wedding ceremony

Photo by Jenn Emerling

We love this ceremony shot—you know this was a fun one if the bride and groom are this relaxed when saying "I do."

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The First Kiss!

Groom's First Kiss

Photo by Sylvie Gil Photography

Ahh, the first kiss. Be sure to have your officiant step out of the shot for this major moment.

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The (Confetti-Filled) Exit

Bride and groom walking down aisle with confetti

Photo by Chris and Ruth Photography

Whether you're choosing confetti, sparklers, or any other type of creative exit, make sure it's captured! If your reception will go late into the night, consider staging the moment so your photographer gets the best shots before everyone leaves.

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The Cocktail Hour

wedding guests drinking wine during cocktail hour

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

Once the party gets started, have your photographer capture guests in action sipping their signature cocktails and mingling around.

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The Tables

Overhead of Reception Dinner Table

Photo by Tec Petaja

After all that time spent picking linens and chargers, make sure your photographer captures the details of the big day from different angles. We especially love this unexpected aerial shot.

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The Place Setting

Wedding reception table setting

Photo by Meg Smith Photography

Again, the details are so important (and pretty).

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The Cake

Gold and white wedding cake

Photo by Lisa Poggi

Make sure to get a shot of the cake before it gets cut into!

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The First Dance

Bride and Groom First Dance

Photo by Meg Smith Photography

This is one of the big photo-op moments, but don’t worry about your dance moves while you’re at it. Your photographer will capture all the fun you’re having—like this groom singing to his bride! (You did pick a favorite song, right?!)

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The Cutting/Eating of the Cake!

Bride and groom cutting the cake

Photo by Anna Shackleford

Adorable, whether or not you decide to get messy (maybe skip the icing in the face...).

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The Dance Party

bride dancing during reception

Photo by Bonnie Sen Photography

It's time to let loose on the dance floor! Let your photographer have free range to capture these fun moments with you and your guests.

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The Last Kiss

Bride and groom kissing during sparkler exit

Photo by Shannon Von Eschen

Snag one more smooch on your way out—it's the perfect ending to your big day.

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