Why & How to Create the Perfect Wedding Shot List

After spending hours and hours planning your dream wedding, we’re certain you’d want to be sure your incredible amount of work and your special day is captured in the best way possible. Capturing all the special moments from probably one of the most memorable days of your life is the responsibility of a wedding photographer. While trusting your photographer is important, mapping out the pictures you may want and sharing a checklist of must-have photos with your photographer is a win-win: it allows you to be relaxed and content knowing that you’ll get the specific pictures you’ve imagined, and it makes your photographer’s job a little easier because they’ll want to be sure to capture the most important moments to make you the happiest client. Let’s take a look at the things to consider when planning and creating your wedding shot list.


By preparing for your shot list, you’ll give your photographer a better understanding of the important aspects that should be captured during your special day. Ask yourself these questions:
– What is the timeline of the day?
– Are there any unique/special activities or moments to capture?
– Do you have any references/inspiration for newlywed portraits? (Your Pinterest board)
– Who are the family members and what group portraits would you like?
– Who is included in the wedding party and what group portraits would you like?
– Add in any and all specific, special, or unusual photos you want

Now, this could be enough for your photographer to work with, but if you want to be sure nothing gets missed, here’s a template you could follow and give to your photographer!

Keep in mind these are just ideas, you don’t have to put every single one of these on your shot list, trust that your photographer will capture the most memorable and important moments to you. Remember, this is your day and all about what’s most important to YOU.


  • Invitation, program, special signs, & gifts
  • Wedding rings
  • Wedding dresses/suits
  • Outfit accessories like shoes, cufflinks, or jewelry
  • Bouquet, corsages, boutonnieres

Getting Ready

  • Bride & bridal party photos:
    • Having your hair and makeup done
    • The hairstyle from the back
    • Wedding dress being done up by parent or wedding party member
    • Bride putting on her shoes
    • Photo of the veil on its own
    • Cheers with the bride and bridesmaids
    • A shot of the bride holding bouquet
    • Bride looking out the window
    • Individual portraits
  • Groom & groomsmen photos:
    • Groom doing up his shoes
    • Groom putting on his suit
    • Cheers with the groom and groomsmen
    • Groom looking out the window
    • Parent or wedding party member attaching the boutonniere to the suit
    • Individual portraits
bride and groom wedding invitation


  • First look between the couple alone
  • Bridesmaids with bride(s)
  • Groomsmen with groom(s)
  • Father first look with bride(s)


  • Venue shots including ceremony site, flowers, interior, and exterior details
  • Guests arriving/greeting each other
  • Wedding party entrance
  • Bride walking down the aisle
  • Groom’s reaction
  • Parent(s) giving away the bride
  • Exchanging vows
  • Exchanging rings
  • First kiss 
  • Newlyweds’ exit
  • Venue shots including ceremony site, flowers, interior, and exterior details
groom party doing a photoshoot edited
bride surprising groom


  • Newlywed portraits
    • Individual portraits of each partner
    • Cheering/celebrating their new marriage
    • Couple together – This would be the best time capture inspiration photos you may have saved on Pinterest
  • Family/Wedding Party/Group portraits
    • Couple with each set of parents
    • Couple with both parents
    • Couple with bride’s immediate family
    • Couple with groom’s immediate family
    • Couple with bridesmaids
    • Couple with groomsmen
    • Couple with whole wedding party
    • Bride(s) with maid of honor
    • Goom(s) with best man
    • Couple with any children
    • Couple with siblings
    • Couple with any other important family members


  • Details and room décor shots, including table settings, place cards, favors, centerpieces, etc.
  • Wedding cake detail shots
  • Grand entrance
  • Toasts and speeches
  • Cake cutting
  • The first dance
  • Bride(s) dancing with father/groom(s) dancing with mother
  • Couple mingling with guests
  • Guests dancing
  • Musicians, singers, DJ
  • Grand exit
bride and groom and their parties

It’s important to note that your wedding shot list is only a guideline.  Everyone’s wedding day unfolds a little differently, and you might end up with something slightly different than what you imagine. Weddings are a day filled with fun, emotion, stress, and life-long memories. With preparation and a solid wedding shot list, capturing the love, emotions and everything your wedding day embodies can be ensured as these are the photos that you’ll cherish for the rest of your lives.