50 Must-Have Wedding Photos

Ensure your wedding album is picture-perfect with this wedding photo checklist, complete with all the must-have wedding photos and wedding photography poses that your photographer should capture

Updated 05/02/16

Photo by Michelle Lange Photography

Your wedding day is a day in your life that you'll want to remember forever — and you will. You'll remember the details, the feeling of your post "I do" kiss and even a couple of songs that you broke it down to on the dance floor. But the best way to make sure your wedding memories are captured and recorded for a lifetime is through the photos that you take on the big day.

You'll have the urge to tell your photographer to snap photos of everything at every second, and, while that sounds like a good idea, it's better to come to the table before your wedding with an organized list of must-have photos. The kind of photos that represent the key moments of the wedding and the people who filled the day with endless love, support and excitement as they stood by your side and danced with you on the dance floor.

Besides the group photos of you and your husband, the bridal party, and the guests, there's a long list of other detail shots you'll want captured. There are so many small and intricate details that you'll want your photographer to prioritize shooting, like your invitations, welcome bags and other décor. You'll not only want these to preserve the memory of those special details, but, as the bride, you'll find yourself floating with nerves and excitement — you might very well miss the stunning centerpieces and pulled-together place settings that you spent so many hours grueling over on Pinterest. It's those special elements that you'll be able to look back on and appreciate having in your wedding album.

So if you're wondering what must-have photos to have on your shot list, we have you covered. We've flipped through countless real wedding albums and broke down the key moments of the wedding to bring you a list of 50 photos you should absolutely have your photographer capture. This way, for years to come after your wedding, you can sit back with your spouse, relax, and relive the magic of the best day of your lives. Let's take a look at those 50 photos, and don't forget to pin your favorites to your wedding inspiration board!

01 of 50

A Good Morning Shot

Clane Gessel

It's your wedding day and it's time to have some fun! Make the first photo of the day a special one — whether it's jumping on an unmade hotel room bed in your robe, or toasting a cup of coffee with your maid of honor — something that sets the tone that today is different, memorable, and extra exciting.

02 of 50

Getting Ready

Belathee Photography

Have your photographer switch back and forth between the groomsmen and the bridesmaids so they can capture the getting ready process of both the men and the women. Be sure to coordinate this so that your photographer doesn't arrive to a room of groomsmen in their boxers, still asleep, or a scene of bridesmaids without any makeup on.

03 of 50

Your Stationery Suite

Andy Barnhart Photography

Be sure to bring along your entire stationery suite (invitations, save the dates, programs, and more). Your photographer can clump these together and take a nice collage shot.

04 of 50

Your Love Letter Exchange

Jose Villa

If you and your fiancé are exchanging hand-written letters before the ceremony, be sure to have your photographer capture the emotions of both of you reading the letters to yourselves.

05 of 50

The Ceremony Set-Up

Larissa Cleveland Photography

Before anyone arrives for the ceremony is the perfect time to have photos taken of how the space looks — whether you're getting married in an open field, a church, or even on the beach.

06 of 50

The Ceremony Accessories

Jen Huang

After a wide shot of the ceremony is captured, now is the time to get some close up shots of the details — the programs, the flowers, the candles.

07 of 50

Guest Welcome Bags

Max Wanger

If you did something fun for the guests and put together a welcome bag or a wedding survival kit for them at check-in, have your photographer grab a bag and take a few shots of the goodies inside as well as the bag as a whole.

08 of 50

The Wedding Shoes

Max Wanger

It may be feel a bit like Cinderella to have your wedding shoes sitting all pretty under the spotlight, but since your heels may be covered by your gown, snap some photos of them alone, or beside your dress, so you can always remember the details of what carried you down the aisle.

09 of 50

The Groom's Boutonniere

Birds of a Feather Photography

A photo of the boutonniere is a necessity, so you can remember what it looked like before the party started and the groom's jacket came off — and the little boutonniere was nowhere to be found.

10 of 50

The Bouquets

Amber Gress Photography

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and if you get a couple of close up shots of the bride's and bridesmaids' bouquets, you'll probably even be able to trigger the smell of the fresh flowers that you picked out for them.

11 of 50

The Wedding Party's Grand Entrance

Studio Mynt

Since the bridesmaids and groomsmen walk down the aisle before the bride, have the photographer capture their expressions and their first couple of steps. That way, the bride can get a glimpse of the action she missed.

12 of 50

Candid Shots of the Bride Getting into Her Dress

Gladys Jem Photography

These shots of the bride getting in her gown include members of the bridal party helping the bride zip up her dress, put on her shoes, veil, and make sure her final look is absolutely perfect.

13 of 50

The Bridesmaid First Look

Nate and Lori Photo and Cinema

Once the bride is all dressed and ready, her bridesmaids will want to see her finished look. And their expressions will certainly be priceless!

14 of 50

The Bride Getting Glammed Up

Mark Eric Photography

No close up shots allowed here! Since this is when the hair is being curled and the makeup is being set, have the photographer snap just a couple of photos for the memories.

15 of 50

A Magazine-Worthy Shot of the Bride

Jesse Pafundi of Golden Hour Studios

Consider this photo kind of like a professional selfie, except it's more staged and you're not the one holding the camera. Once you have your hair and makeup done, have the photographer take some photos of you in poses that may have you feeling like a cover model.

16 of 50

A GQ-Style Shot of the Groom

Christina Florada Photography

Just like the bride, the photographer can take some portraits of the groom alone.

17 of 50

The Ceremony Musicians

Photo by Krystal Kast Photography

A picture of the ceremony musicians in action is always a good idea.

18 of 50

The First Look

Natalie Brown Photography

If you're doing a first look before the ceremony, you'll love the photos of the dear moment when the two of you lay eyes on each other for the very first time.

19 of 50

The Father of the Bride First Look

David Newkirk Photography

What a moment! When the father of the bride sees his little girl in her wedding dress for the first time is sure to be a memorable time. If your photographer is lucky, they may even catch a tear or two.

20 of 50

The Bride Walking Down the Aisle

The Grovers

This is a moment where a photo says it all. Since you will be so overwhelmed with emotion and nerves as you take your steps down the aisle, you'll hardly remember what happened until you make it up the altar.

21 of 50

Just the Ladies

Abby Jiu Photography

Take a handful of bridesmaid photos of you and your girls having fun and posing for pictures indoors and outdoors.

22 of 50

Just the Guys

Abby Jiu Photography

Be sure to get some staged photos of the groomsmen together as well as some goofy candid shots, too.

23 of 50

The Rings

Jose Villa

Let your photographer get creative with how she snaps photos of your wedding rings. Whether they're against your dress, the wedding invitation or even the bouquet, there are so many options for this shot.

24 of 50

The Wedding Dress

Love Is a Big Deal

Of course you'll have photos of you twirling around in it all night, but be sure to take a couple artsy photos of the dress on a hanger or up against a fun colored wall that will make the bright white of your dress pop.

25 of 50

Candid Wedding Ceremony Moments

Amber Gress

During your ceremony, capturing the looks of pure happiness and bliss while exchanging vows is essential.

26 of 50

The "I Do" Moment

Erika Delgado

During the ceremony, the expressions on your faces when you read your vows and say "I do" will be something you'll want to look back on for forever.

27 of 50

The First Kiss

Moshe Zusman

This is a photo that will look extra nice in a frame on the mantel after the wedding. Unless the kiss got a little of hand... Then you can just look back at the photo for a good hearty laugh!

28 of 50

The Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

David Newkirk Photography

If your photographer can get a shot of them in action as they walk down the aisle, or even right before they walk down the aisle, it will be a guaranteed cute photo to have forever.

29 of 50

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen at the Ceremony

Crystal Stokes Photography

A beautiful photo of your main ladies supporting you during the biggest moment of your life is a must. Plus, the photographer can capture one of the other side — the groomsmen!

30 of 50

The After "I Do" Photo

Fotografia Sitges

The post "I do" smile, as you both hold hands and walk down the aisle together, will say it all.

31 of 50

A Crowd Reaction Shot

Mark Brooke Photography

After you're pronounced man and wife and seal it with an epic smooch, the crowd's reaction will be a mix of emotions, worthy of remembering forever.

32 of 50

Immediate Family Photo

Kate Headley

Make sure to snap a couple of photos with your immediate family members, either before or after the ceremony. These are the photos that they'll cherish forever and be grateful to have.

33 of 50

Group Family Combinations

Troy Grover Photographers

Before the party starts, be sure to get all the family photos out of the way. If there are photos you want to get with aunts, uncles, cousins, or close family friends, arrange to do that all before your toes hit the dance floor.

34 of 50

Your Special Furry Friend

Robin Proctor Photography

If your dog or another pet is making a special appearance at the wedding, whether walking down the aisle or sitting in the front row, you'll definitely want to get a few snaps of that adorableness.

35 of 50

Making it Legal

Getty Images

Of course the ceremony seals the deal, but the paperwork really makes it official. Capture photos of your marriage license beside your rings.

36 of 50

Wedding Venue Photos

Michele M. Waite Photography

Remember the atmosphere of your wedding with photos of the outdoor area surrounding the venue.

37 of 50

The Guest Book

Jonathan Young Weddings

Especially if you're doing something a little outside of the box and transforming a typical guest book into a memorable and useable piece, you'll want to take photos before guests complete it.

38 of 50

Reception Room Photos

Vue Photography

Before the guests pour in and begin breaking it down on the dance floor, have the photographer take photos of the set up and details of the room.

39 of 50

Escort Cards

Birds of a Feather Photography

Capture the set up of the escort and place cards and the beautiful design that you worked so hard to pick out and execute.

40 of 50

Signature Cocktails

Michele M. Waite Photography

When the drinks get pouring, this is a perfect opportunity to capture any fun concoctions you arranged specifically for the wedding.

41 of 50

Your Wedding Cake

Anastasiia Photography

The design, the details, and even the layers of icing will be displayed and remembered in a photo.

42 of 50

The First Dance

Chudleigh Weddings

Even if your nerves take over during this moment, a beautiful photo of the two of you dancing to a meaningful song will be something you remember forever.

43 of 50

The Father-Daughter Dance

Christina Florada Photography

There's nothing more wonderful to capture than the bride and her dad dancing at the start of the night.

44 of 50

The Toasts

Jill Thomas Photography

Whether it's the best man, maid of honor, or your parents giving a toast, ask your photographer to snap a few frames of these memorable speeches.

45 of 50

The Wedding Favors

Rebekah Westover Photography

After these are laid out on the table — but before they end up in the hands of your beloved wedding guests — have the photographer snap a photo of your end-of-the-night favor.

46 of 50

Guests Dancing

Scott Clark Photo

Weddings are a great place for guests to break it down on the dance floor. You'll want photos capturing the good time everyone had during your special day.

47 of 50

Cake Cutting

Jason Walker of Ira Lippke Studios

You and your husband will love reminiscing on this special, and sometimes totally silly, moment.

48 of 50

Overhead Group Shot

Vue Photography

If there's a second floor balcony or a way for all the guests to gather together, take a group shot of everyone before the night is over.

49 of 50

The Send Off

Andrew and Jade Photography

If you're using sparklers or having your guests cheer as you depart, this moment is one to capture for the books.

50 of 50

Post-Wedding Shot

Andrew and Jade Photography

Just like the good morning photo you took at the start of the wedding, take one at the end of the night doing something fun, whether it's you and your new husband jumping in the air outside, getting into your getaway car, or grabbing one last epic wedding kiss.

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