Do you need a wedding photo checklist?

So what is a wedding photo checklist? Simply put it is a list of potential photos that can be taken on your wedding day.
The main point of this checklist is to make sure that you the couple, never have to say “We wish we had a photo of…” when looking through your photo album.
Now there are few misconceptions regarding the best use of a checklist which can cause stress for yourself and the photographer. So hopefully I can explain the best way to get the photos you really want, while making it as simply and stress free for you and your photographer.

The reality is that you have enough things to plan for your wedding day. So most couples don’t even think about what photos will be taken until afterwards. The good news is that you don’t really need too.
Any good wedding photographer will be able to capture all the important things with or without a list. An experienced photographer will have done so many weddings that they just know what needs to be done without thinking about it.

So then why is a checklist important?

Because everyone has different needs. Your wedding is unique and you as a person have your own special quirks. Something that is important to you may not be obvious to your photographer, and under the rush of the day, you simply may just forget to ask.
“I wish we took a photo of just me and my grandma” or “I wish we remembered to ask the photographer to take a photo of us at our favourite spot.”
These are unfortunate moments that can easily happen without good communication. You could even forget to mention these things even meeting the photographer prior to the wedding. A checklist allows you to sit down at home and write down anything that is important to you.

But not all photographers supply a checklist. Of course there is nothing wrong with that. As I said, a good photographer doesn’t need one. But none the less, if you have some moments that are unique to your wedding, be sure to inform your photographer. They will be glad you let them know as it just means that you get the photos you want.

Now is should be said that some people can take a checklist too far, causing stress for yourself and the photographer.
You do not need to worry about all the little photos throughout the day. That is the job of the photographer. So if you see a checklist as long as your arm, do not worry. There is no need to dwell over little things like, “Do I need a close up of myself holding the bouquet or of me putting my shoes on”.
That stuff, while it may be on a check list, is a given for any good photographer.

Personally I supply a checklist to clients, but it is more of a list of reassurance, rather that a list of things you need to tick off.
It’s a list of photos that will typically be taken to help put your mind at ease.
I do leave space for you to write in your own requests as I believe that is extremely important. But the main list itself (which I will give an example of below) is split into different parts of the day. Each part of the day will detail typical photos that will be taken. If something is super important to you, by all means circle it with stars and if there are things that aren’t relevant or not need, just cross them out.

But just remember, that the most important photos to mention are the ones not on the list. Those extra little photos of you with a special family member or friend or of something else that is important to you and your partner can turn a beautiful wedding album into something deeply heart warming.


Here is a sample list of photos typically taken during a wedding:
Remember most of these photos are considered standard and any good wedding photographer will get you these with or without a list.
Every wedding is different so variations (including the order) are expected.


Getting Ready

Please note that two photographers are not a necessity for capturing the bride and the groom getting ready. It is easy enough to plan a schedule so that one photographer can cover both. Generally speaking the time needed with the groom is considerably smaller compared to the bride. If the bride and groom are getting ready in two different places with a large travel distance between them then two photographers would be needed if you wish to photograph both parties betting ready.

* Bride’s shoes, jewellery, something old, new etc
* Photo of the dress hanging
* Candid photos of the bride and bridesmaids getting ready (hair, makeup)
* Bride putting on her dress with help from the bridal party
* Putting on jewellery / shoes
* Bridal party helping with one last detail
* Details of the dress
* Father seeing the bride
* Mother / Father and bride portrait
* Bridal party leaving
* Bride and Father leaving towards the ceremony
* Groom and groomsmen getting ready
* Best man helping groom with a final detail
* Wedding rings

Ceremony

* Photos of empty venue. Interior, exterior, special details etc
* Groom and groomsmen waiting at the venue
* Guests at the venue
* Bride arriving, stepping out of car etc
* Bride walking up the aisle and grooms reaction
* Father / Mother giving bride away
* Exchanging of vows
* Ring bearer
* Exchanging of the rings
* The first kiss and the moment after
* Signing the register
* Bride and groom walking back down the aisle
* Newlyweds celebrations, confetti throwing etc
* Greeting guests outside the venue
* Bride and groom leaving in car

Couple portraits

* The couple alone
* Bride on her own
* Groom on his own

Bridal party (formal portraits)

* Bride and groom with bridesmaids / groomsmen
* Bride and groom with bridal party
* Bride with bridesmaids / Maid of honour
* Groom and groomsmen / Best man
* Entire wedding party

Family (formal portraits)

* Bride and groom with her parents
* Bride and groom with his parents
* Bride and groom with both sets of parents
* Bride and groom with siblings
* Bride and groom with close family members

Pre Reception (candid / informal)

* Photos of couple mingling with friends
* Photos of guests having fun

Reception

* Empty reception space
* Details of the room
* Photo of wedding cake
* Bride & Groom arriving
* Toasts and speeches
* Cutting the cake
* The first dance
* Everyone dancing enjoying themselves

Consider this a rough guide of the photos you will receive. The majority of these photos are simply just documenting what happens throughout the day. For example the majority of the photos listed in the Getting Ready, Ceremony and Reception sections occur naturally. It’s simply a case of the photographer capturing these moments as they happen.
However the formal portraits (bridal party & family group photos) are the ones that you will probably want to customize. This is just a typical list of what people generally want. It is good to know which ones you want along with any additional photos not listed.
Knowing who needs to be hanging around for the formal portraits is extremely beneficially for everybody as it speeds up the whole process. I will be doing another blog detailing the best way to plan for your family portraits to make them run as smoothly as possible.

There is one last thing to add as it is becoming increasing popular...

First look

Simply put a First Look is a private moment between the Bride and Groom before the ceremony. For some people, being able to see each other for the first time in more of a private setting allows them to freely express themselves.
Check our my blog Should you consider a “First Look” which explains the benefits while also the changes to the general structure of the day.