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?!
The Invitation Suite
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.
The Beauty Moment
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!
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!
The Getting Ready Moments
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.
If you’re rocking a veil this pretty, be sure to have your photographer snap some pics from every single angle.
The Bridal Party
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.
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.
The First Look
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!
The Candid Moments
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.
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.