How to Get Your Must-Have Wedding Pictures From Your Photographer

by Becky Appleby-Sparrow

You spend months planning the perfect wedding, then it flies by in a whirl of excitement. Hiring a professional photographer ensures all your special moments are captured flawlessly. Having beautiful wedding pictures preserves the love and joy you'll share with family and friends on your wedding day.

Tips For Getting The Best Wedding Pictures

Be Prepared

Talk to your photographer before your wedding to make sure he or she knows who and what is important to you. Perhaps you swoon over gorgeous detail shots, such as the dress, shoes, and rings, or you think dancing photos are essential. Let your photographer know whether family photos are important—this tells your photographer what you'd like the pictures to focus on.

Create a Must-Have List

Make a list of the wedding pictures that are most important to you. A professional photographer knows to capture the whole day, but a must-have list helps detail the priority shots. However, keep it simple. Documentary-style photographs are spontaneous and can't be planned. Besides, you don't want to dictate every image your photographer takes or spend hours fulfilling a checklist when you'd rather be enjoying time with family and friends.

Surprise Your Guests, Not Your Photographer

Let your photographer know in advance whether you have added unique touches to your wedding. Your photographer wants to be in the right place with the right gear to capture that flash mob or sparkler exit you planned, because the photographs of your guests' reactions will be priceless.

Enlist Family Help

It's a good idea to have a family member or friend act as a coordinator to assist the photographer. This person can help find and organize family members who are included in the wedding pictures so the formal photographs run smoothly.

Do a First Look

The first time your groom sees you in your wedding dress is magical. If you're worried about wedding jitters, consider a private first look. This allows you to enjoy that emotional moment he first sees you. Not waiting to see each other until the ceremony also frees you to get the photography done before the ceremony, which can make your wedding day schedule much more relaxed.

Must-Have Wedding Pictures

This suggested list will help organize the family groupings, events, and special details you may want your photographer to capture:

Getting Ready

  • Bouquets and boutonnieres
  • Wedding invitation suite
  • Bride's jewelry, such as necklace and earrings
  • Groom's cufflinks
  • Engagement ring and wedding rings
  • Wedding dress and shoes
  • Bride getting ready
  • Bride's first look with father
  • Groom getting ready
  • Bride's first look with groom


  • Bride with mother and father
  • Bride with maid of honor
  • Bride with all bridesmaids and flower girl
  • Bride with flower girl
  • Bride with her immediate family
  • Bride with her siblings


  • Groom with mother and father
  • Groom with best man
  • Groom with groomsmen, ushers, and ring bearer
  • Groom with ring bearer
  • Groom with his immediate family
  • Groom with his siblings

Bride and Groom Together

  • Bride and groom together
  • Bride and groom with wedding party and ushers
  • Bride and groom with flower girl and ring bearer
  • Bride and groom with bride's parents
  • Bride and groom with bride's parents, siblings, and their families
  • Bride and groom with groom's parents
  • Bride and groom with groom's parents, siblings, and their families
  • Bride and groom with bride's grandparents
  • Bride and groom with groom's grandparents

During the Ceremony

  • Bride walking down aisle
  • Groom's reaction to bride walking down aisle
  • Wedding vows
  • Personalized details, such as unity candle
  • Receiving line
  • Signing marriage license

At the Reception

  • Special details, such as favors, place settings, centerpieces, and cake
  • Couple entering reception
  • Couple cutting cake
  • Wedding toasts
  • First dance
  • Bouquet toss
  • Sunset photos of the couple
  • Couple leaving the reception

With some planning and organizing, you'll have perfect wedding photos to love and cherish for years to come!