- Wedding Photography
In this section
How to Pose for Wedding Photos
30 Must-Have Wedding Photos
32 Getting Ready Photos You Need to Take
18 Photos to Take With Your Wedding Party
A Guide to Taking Family Photos at Your Wedding
The First Look: Pros, Cons, and Photos We Love
The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Photography
These are the moments you'll want to capture
Anna Price Olson
Anna Price Olson
Anna Price is the editorial director of Brides. She oversees the brand's trending content and social operations.
Brides's Editorial Guidelines
Updated on 03/25/21
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.
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.
The Wedding Shoes
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.
The Bridal Portrait
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.
If you’re rocking a veil this pretty, be sure to have your photographer snap some pics from every single angle.
The Bridal Bouquet
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.
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.
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.
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! 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 beforehand so you can completely get lost in the moment.
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.
The Wedding Party
Put everyone together in one big group! A fun photo like this shows your wedding party having a ball.
The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Photography
The Littlest Ones
Every bride needs a photo with her adorable flower girl or junior bridesmaid (if you decide to have one). Take a few in whatever pose comes naturally either looking down at them or squatting down and showing some love.
The Ceremony Site
Ask your photographer to take a landscape shot of the place where it all happens.
The Walk Down the Aisle
Whether you’re walking on the arm of your mother, father, or both, you’ll treasure this moment forever.
The Ring Exchange
Now here’s the important stuff! Make sure your photographer takes photos of the ceremony in action.
We love this ceremony shot—you know this was a fun one if the bride and groom are this relaxed when saying "I do."
The First Kiss
Ahh, the first kiss. Be sure to have your officiant step out of the shot for this major moment.
The (Confetti-Filled) Exit
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.
The Cocktail Hour
Once the party gets started, have your photographer capture guests in action sipping their signature cocktails and mingling around.
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.
The Place Setting
Again, the details are so important (and pretty).
Make sure to get a shot of the cake before it gets cut into!
The First Dance
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?!)
The Cutting/Eating of the Cake
Adorable, whether or not you decide to get messy (maybe skip the icing in the face...).
The Dance Party
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.
The Last Kiss
Snag one more smooch on your way out—it's the perfect ending to your big day.
How many wedding photos do you really need? ›
While knowing that you should plan on delivering somewhere between 400 and 800 photos from a typical wedding day is helpful, this number only tells you so much. Most customers really care about having a wide variety of photos, so they make sure to cover ALL of their wedding days.How many photos do you normally get from a wedding photographer? ›
You can typically expect to receive around 60-80 final photographs per hour of wedding coverage.How much time do I need for wedding photos? ›
Know how long wedding photos will take.
For the best results, photographers agree that wedding party portraits take about 30 minutes, family portraits take about 30 minutes (if you're sticking with only photographing close family), and couple portraits take between 45 minutes to an hour.
In a 30-minute photography session, you could get around 20 photos to choose between, whereas from a 1-hour shoot you should expect 40-50 pictures to look through.How many photos do you typically in a wedding album? ›
On average, couples tend to include one to three photos per page—for a 20-page wedding album that translates to somewhere between 10 and 60 photos.Do photographers give unedited photos? ›
Most professional photographers don't give out their unedited photos.Do wedding photographers edit all photos? ›
Some photographers don't edit their images at all. This is called “shoot and burn,” which means they shoot a wedding, “burn” the images to a disc (or upload to a USB drive or “the cloud” because this is the 21st century) and call it good.Is 300 photos enough for a wedding? ›
Is 300 photos enough for a wedding? For a standard 8 hour day of wedding photography, this means a photographer should expect to pass along 400-800 photos to their clients.How do you take wedding photos like a pro? ›
- Know your gear. Familiarize yourself with all aspects of your camera gear, including your lenses, camera settings, and shooting modes. ...
- Bring help. ...
- Prepare. ...
- Know who you're shooting. ...
- Be familiar with the locations. ...
- Make a shot list. ...
- Be bold. ...
“Shot list” is a buzzword you'll likely hear at some point during the wedding planning process and refers to a list of photos you want your photographer to capture on the big day.
Do all wedding photographers own your photos? ›
Under federal law, if there is no agreement to the contrary, your wedding photographer, or any photographer for that matter, owns the pictures that they take.Is two hours enough for wedding photos? ›
2 hours of coverage will give us enough time to document the ceremony, photograph you with your guests that are in attendance, and take some gorgeous portraits of you newlyweds.Is one hour enough for wedding photos? ›
Advice – Wedding Party Photos should be around 45 minutes to 1 hour. During this time, we get a variety of shots in a variety of poses. We start off with the basic, classic photos focused on great expressions and lighting. Then we move into a set of fun and creative shots.Is 4 hours of wedding photography enough? ›
Generally speaking, high-end wedding photographers offer this in their starter packages. They know that images are what's most important for some couples and four hours is just enough time to photograph the end of the getting ready portion, ceremony, and formals.
The idea is that the 60 percent color anchors the space and also serves as a backdrop for what comes next. Your 30 percent is the secondary color. You'll be using half as much of this color as your main color.What is the 3/4 rule in photography? ›
What is the rule of thirds? The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that places your subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. While there are other forms of composition, the rule of thirds generally leads to compelling and well-composed shots.What is the number one rule in photography? ›
The most basic of all photography rules, the rule of thirds, is all about dividing your shot into nine equal sections by a set of vertical and horizontal lines. With the imaginary frame in place, you should place the most important element(s) in your shot on one of the lines or where the lines meet.What is the most popular wedding album size? ›
The most popular wedding album sizes I tend to suggest are around the 12×12 inch size which give you the best of both worlds.How many photos should a wedding slideshow have? ›
In order to keep your guests engaged and interested in your slideshow, we recommend making it around 5-10 minutes long. This equates to between 60 and 120 photos. If you choose to include video clips, make sure they're on the shorter side in order to keep the momentum of the slideshow going.What should you not say to a photographer? ›
- “Why can't you send us all the photos the day after the event?”
- “Such great photos! ...
- “Can you please make me look younger in photoshop?”
- “Check out this photo on Pinterest, can you please do the same for me?”
- “I think this photo will look great in black & white”
What should a photographer avoid? ›
- Not having a strong point of interest. ...
- Not getting close enough to the subject. ...
- Focusing on the wrong part of the composition. ...
- Placing the subject in the middle of the frame.
- Mistake #1: Combining Light & Shadow. ...
- Mistake #2: Wrong Location. ...
- Mistake #3: Focus in the Wrong Place. ...
- Mistake #4: Wrong Aperture. ...
- Mistake #5: Bad Composition. ...
- Mistake #7: The Wrong Use of Flash. ...
- Mistake #8: Not Aware of the Shutter Speed. ...
- Mistake #10: Standing By Walls & Bushes.
If a client were to show these unedited or unretouched images to family and friends, it could severely harm the photographer's reputation. A professional artist only displays their best work. Having raw, unfinished photos represented to others as their work could make a photographer look unprofessional and incompetent.What is a realistic budget for wedding photography? ›
In general, wedding photographer prices in the U.S. tend to range between $1,150 and $3,000, with the average wedding photographer cost hovering around $2,000.How many photographers do you need for a 150 person wedding? ›
If you are going to have a large wedding with 150+ guests, two photographers can ensure none of your guests are left out of the pictures.What is a good budget for wedding photos? ›
The average wedding photographer in California costs about $3000. This price includes digital images, a full day of wedding coverage and professional editing.What are wedding detail shots? ›
They are simply photographs of some of the smaller details of your wedding day. These are typically one of the first things your wedding photographer will capture when they arrive on your wedding day. Detail shots can include any of the little things that make your wedding day unique and special!Do photographers stay the whole wedding? ›
Short answer: typically, no. After reception formalities are over (toasts, dances, cake cutting), you don't really need your photographer to hang around for much longer unless dancing photos are super important to you (1 hour of dancing coverage can be plenty).Should I print all of my wedding photos? ›
You and your children and grandchildren can look back on them forever. Imagine looking through your wedding album on each anniversary, and with your family on special occasions and holidays. Having them printed isn't just for you, but also for your children and grandchildren and future generations.Can you ask your wedding photographer for more photos? ›
Not all weddings need second photographers, and not all photographers need to work with another shooter to create beautiful images. I highly recommend asking your photographer how many shooters they need to cover your day, and go from there.
What time of day is best for wedding photos? ›
Golden hour is well known as being the optimal time of day to take wedding photos. Golden hour occurs in the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. These are the times of day where the sun is at its lowest point and features soft, diffused lighting.Is 4 months too long for wedding photos? ›
1-2 weeks for amateur photographers or 4+ months for luxury photographers. 4-12 weeks. 3-5 weeks or longer if you had a lot of guests. 2 weeks for an elopement, 4-10 weeks for a full wedding.How many photos should you deliver for an 8 hour wedding? ›
For a standard 8 hour day of wedding photography, this means a photographer should expect to pass along 400-800 photos to their clients.Is 3 months too long to wait for wedding photos? ›
Depending on the specifics, the time frame could be anything from two weeks to six weeks on average. Photographers will, without a doubt, work promptly to get your photos to you. In fact, many photographers will give you a preview of some of the altered photos they've taken before sending you the final product.How long does hair and makeup take for wedding? ›
Expect both hair and makeup respectively to take 30 to 45 minutes per bridesmaid (and mother of bride) and 60 to 90 minutes for the bride. Factor in even more time if there's only one photographer expected to document both partners' getting-ready moments.How many wedding photos is enough? ›
How many photos should a wedding photographer give? The short and simple answer is ~100 per hour of shooting or roughly 800 photos for 8-hour wedding day coverage.How long do wedding photographers take to edit photos? ›
That depends on the photographer, the client, and how much editing needs to be done on the photos. Culling and basic corrections would take an hour or two. Detailed retouching can take several hours per image.Do you really need 2 photographers at a wedding? ›
Having a second shooter on your wedding day allows you to add tons more images to your final gallery. This includes more coverage during your ceremony, more creative angels during the couple portraits, more points of view during your First Dance- the list goes on!How important are wedding photos? ›
It tells the story of your wedding day
Your wedding images help tell the story of your wedding day, from the moment you begin to prepare for the day up to the end of your wedding reception. Having wedding photography allows you to have the entire story of your wedding day documented forever.
Wedding photography is important because it will capture your day, it will capture your memories, it will tell a story, and not just any story, it will tell a beautiful story of your special day, a day you will never forget.
Should you share all your wedding photos? ›
Whether you post your wedding photos on social media is entirely up to your personal preference. Some couples prefer not to go this route because they feel uncomfortable about the people they didn't invite seeing them, while others are happy to share the photos with everyone they know.Is 1 photographer enough for a wedding? ›
While one photographer should do a great job at a regular wedding, two photographers can capture more angles, and they also can be at two different places at the same time. Like one is shooting ladies getting ready while the other one is with guys. Or one can shoot details of the ballroom while another shots portraits.What is most important in a wedding photographer? ›
Though a beautiful photograph can make that memory that much more special, the most important thing is that you find a photographer whose goal is to make beautiful images *and* ensure that you feel amazing as they're being taken.What happens if you hate your wedding photos? ›
So, you can't exactly just throw another wedding, but you can re-create your wedding-day look for a second shoot. While it may not have the same sentiment attached and there are of course added expenses involved, it would give you another chance to try out a new photographer, style, beauty look, etc.
Your wedding photos will capture the memories of your special day that you will cherish forever. Flashing your best smile is a must.Who owns the right to wedding photos? ›
In short, the copyright of photographs taken on your wedding day is owned by the photographer. As the creator of the images, the photographer automatically owns the copyright and only they can grant permissions to other people to use these images.Should aunts and uncles be included in wedding photos? ›
For most couples this will be photos with parents, grandparents and siblings. After that you can start to think about aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews etc. Even if you do have a large family it's important to make family photos go quickly.