Photographer holding camera

Your Wedding Photography Shot List

TLDNR: Scroll to bottom for shot list printable.

A wedding shot list is a document or checklist that outlines the specific photographs or moments a couple wants to capture on their wedding day. It serves as a guide for the wedding photographer to ensure that all important moments and desired shots are captured during the event. Creating a wedding shot list is important because it helps to:

1. Ensure Comprehensive Coverage: A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and having a list ensures that all the important moments are documented, from getting ready to the ceremony, reception and beyond.

2. Prevent Missed Moments: With so many activities and emotions on the wedding day, it’s easy for the photographer to overlook certain shots. A photo list helps minimize the chances of missing key moments.

3. Capture Personal Requests: Couples may have specific preferences, family members they want to include or unique cultural or religious rituals they want to document. A photo list ensures that these personalized requests are fulfilled.

4. Minimize Stress: Having a list reduces stress for both the couple and the photographer. The couple can relax, knowing that their desired shots are being documented, and the photographer can work more efficiently with a clear plan.

5. Efficient Planning: A well-organized photo list helps the photographer plan the day’s schedule, allocate time for each shot and ensure they have the necessary equipment and setup ready.

What to include

A comprehensive wedding photo shot list should include a range of categories and specific shots, which we’ve included below. But don’t feel like you need to include EVERY shot idea mentioned. This is strictly a guide and not meant for any couple to follow precisely. 

Some of these suggestions are obvious, while others won’t happen unless you specifically tell your photographer. Your shot list should be customized to your event and created with your photographer beforehand. Communication is key to ensuring that expectations are met and that your final photo collection is a beautiful representation of your wedding day.

Trust your photographer

Be open to any changes or suggestions your photographer may make. It’s important to strike a balance between having a comprehensive list and allowing your photographer some flexibility for creative and spontaneous shots. They are the experts and do this every week, so they’ll happily explain why you may not need something you think you do or will let you know of any creative ideas they may have. Trust their talent and experience—and remember that there was a reason why you hired them in the first place. 

“When it comes to specific moments of the day, your professional will know what moments matter most and how to capture them, because you’ve already chatted about those moments while planning your timeline together,” advises Daniel Nydick, a wedding photographer based in Scotch Plains. “A wedding photographer worth their salt will always be at the ready, never missing a beat. But the one shot list that is of utmost importance is the list of family and wedding party photos.”

Get some help

It even helps to assign the final shot list to one of your bridal party members to make sure that nothing is missed. A great photographer will have this covered, but it doesn’t hurt to put your maid of honor in charge of overseeing, especially because there’s no way to get back missed shots.

“I always enlist a bridal party member to help wrangle the family and wedding-party members during the family session, yet I have the actual shot list already outlined well in advance,” Nydick says. “When it comes time to helping call people up for their photo, your guests will respond to a familiar voice quicker than they will to a stranger’s. Plus, your maid of honor or cousin will be more familiar with everyone there on a name-by-name basis than I will!”

Getting started

So how soon should this be done? “The sooner your family and wedding party shot list is laid out, the sooner you can breathe and let the layout planning for the rest of your day begin,” Nydick advises. “When I send my couples our timeline questionnaire, I recommend to focus on the family and wedding party shot list first. It’s honestly the only thing they need to figure out on their own.”

This list below is more of a guideline for YOU—to alleviate any anxiety regarding your wedding photography and also to think about images that you definitely do or do not want taken.

And to make this even easier for you, we’ve included a downloadable document at the bottom that you can print out and customize for your event.

Ideas for Wedding Shot List

Daniel Nydick Photography

Getting-Ready Details

Photographer can take these while bride is still getting ready

  • Bouquet
  • Shoes
  • Invitation (be sure to bring a copy the day of your wedding)
  • Wedding gown hanging (you may want to purchase a special hanger)
  • Bridesmaid gowns hanging
  • Bride’s jewelry: engagement ring, earrings, bracelet, necklace etc.
Daniel Nydick Photography

Bride’s Getting-Ready shots

  • Bride in robe 
  • Bride getting hair and makeup done 
  • Bridesmaids getting hair and makeup done
  • Group shot in getting-ready clothes
  • Bride getting into dress/buttoning back
  • Putting on veil
  • Bridesmaids first look seeing bride in gown
  • Bride alone
  • Bride with mom
  • Bride with dad
  • Bride with maid of honor
  • Bride with bridesmaids
  • Bride with siblings/family
  • Bride with mom and grandmother
  • Candid moments
Daniel Nydick Photography

Groom’s Getting-Ready shots

  • Groom putting suit/tuxedo on
  • Groom pinning boutonniere on dad
  • Dad pinning boutonniere on groom
  • Groom alone
  • Groom with groomsmen
  • Groom with best man
  • Groom with dad
  • Groom with mom (if she’s getting ready near them)
  • Groom with siblings/family
  • Groom with dad and grandfather
Daniel Nydick Photography

Bride and Groom

  • First look shots (if doing)
  • Bride and groom portraits
  • Bride and groom candids
  • Bride with flying veil
  • Bride and groom and bridesmaids
  • Bride and groom and groomsmen
  • Bride, groom, entire bridal party
Daniel Nydick Photography

Family Portraits

  • Bride, bride’s parents
  • Bride, bride’s parents, bride’s immediate family
  • Bride, groom, bride’s parents
  • Bride, groom, bride’s parents, bride’s immediate family
  • Groom, groom’s parents
  • Groom, groom’s parents, groom’s immediate family
  • Bride, groom, groom’s parents
  • Bride, groom, groom’s parents, groom’s immediate family
  • Bride, groom, each set of grandparents
  • Any individual shots of bride and/or groom with grandparent, godparent, special family member etc.
Daniel Nydick Photography

Ceremony shots

  • Exterior and interior shots
  • Program
  • Pew decorations
  • Bride arriving in car
  • Parents walking down aisle
  • Bridal party walking down aisle
  • Ring on pillow 
  • Groom entering
  • Bride walking down aisle
  • Groom’s reaction
  • Readers
  • Vows
  • Exchange of rings
  • First kiss
  • Religious traditions that are important to you
  • Recessional
  • Outdoor shot of bride and groom leaving the church 
  • Bride and groom leaving in car
Daniel Nydick Photography

Reception Details   

  • Exterior and interior shots
  • Centerpieces on tables
  • Full room shot with no one in room
  • Couple seeing reception room for the first time
  • Full room shot with just couple on ballroom before anyone has entered the room
  • Table numbers
  • Menu
  • Seating chart
  • Special signs
  • Specialty drink
  • Dinner plate with food
  • Specialty food stations
  • Cake
Daniel Nydick Photography

Reception shots

  • Entrances
  • Toasts
  • First dance
  • Father/daughter dance
  • Mother/son dance
  • Cutting cake
  • Fun dance/party shots
  • Departure
Daniel Nydick Photography

Other possibilities

  • Bride with sorority sisters
  • Groom with fraternity brothers
  • Bride or groom with cousins
  • Bride or groom with godparents
  • Bride or groom with special family members or friends
  • Cultural rituals or traditions that are important
  • Any unique or creative shots you may have in mind

Wedding Shot List printable:

Click on “DOWNLOAD” button below.

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