48 Must Have Wedding Photos

When I first started as a wedding photographer, I had a general shot list that I worked off of for every wedding. I didn't consult it much throughout the day, but it was a nice crutch as I figured out what shots most brides want to remember their day by. 

As time has gone on, I work more off of a timeline than I do a shot list. I know the general shots I typically want during the day, and I'm more concerned with capturing true moments. However, I really credit that initial shot list with making me comfortable on wedding days. I depended on it for a long time and now can tell you my list of must-haves like the back of my hand!

While every wedding is different, I think starting with a general list is a great idea to make you feel comfortable as you start to learn the flow of a wedding day. For brides, the list below is a great one to keep in mind while planning your wedding day timeline ... although keep in mind if you've picked a great photographer, you should be able to trust in them! 

Must Have Wedding Photos for a Memorable Wedding Day

1. Bride having her hair and makeup done.

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2. Mother of the bride buttoning the dress, or helping with a final detail.

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3. Bride looking in the mirror.

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4. The bridal gown, hanging on a special hanger.

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5. Detail shot of the wedding bands and engagement ring.

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6. Detail shots of bridal details, like shoes and jewelry, or something old/new/borrowed/blue.

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7. Bridal and bridesmaids bouquets.

8. Bridal gown details, like lace, beads or covered buttons. 

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9. The groom's boutonniere. 

10. Groom's details, like cuff links, a watch, or pocket square.

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11. Portrait of the bride. 

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12. Portrait of the groom.

13. Daddy-daughter first look if they would like one.

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14. Letter or gift exchanged between bride and groom.

15. The first look!

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16. Bride and groom portraits - this should be a big focus! This is what will hang on the couple's wall, so make time for it!

17. Dramatic veil shot.

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18. Bride and groom with all bridesmaids and groomsmen.

19. Bride and groom with all bridesmaids and groomsmen, plus the flower girls and ring bearers. It's best to make this QUICK and have the kiddos' parents on standby to grab them after for a quick nap before the ceremony!

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20. Bride with all her bridesmaids.

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21. Bridesmaids detail shot of bouquets.

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22. Shot of a bridesmaid and her bouquet or other details.

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23. Groom with all his groomsmen.

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24. Shot of groomsmen's details, especially if they are different from the groom's.

25. Bride with each bridesmaid and groom with each groomsmen, if you have time.

26. Bride and groom with flower girl and ring bearer. 

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27. Wide shot of the ceremony site before guests arrive.

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28. Bride walking down the aisle with her escort. 

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29. Groom waiting on the bride at the front of the aisle. 

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30. Bride and groom at the altar.

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31. Wide shot of the altar from the guests point of view. 

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32. Moments during the ceremony, like the readings, candle lighting and/or unity ceremony. 

33. Bride and groom exchanging vows and rings.

34. The kiss!

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35. Recessional - the newlyweds! 

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36. Bride and groom in their getaway car if they have one.

37. Wide exterior shot of the reception venue.

38. Shots of all the centerpieces.

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39. Detail shots of the head table, like the flowers and champagne glasses.

40. The cake and the dessert table.

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41. The bride and groom at the head table. 

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42. Wedding party toasts.

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43. The first dance as husband and wife.

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44. The father-daughter dance.

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45. The mother-son dance.

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46. Wedding party dancing.

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47. Wedding guests dancing.

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48. The exit!