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Top 10 Must-Have Wedding Photos

Make sure these photos are on your photographers shot list.

Bride kissing the groom over her shoulder

Your wedding day is a whirlwind of excitement and emotions. After months of planning every little detail from choosing table cloths and centerpieces to picking appetizers and music, the day finally arrives. Before you know it, your wedding day comes and goes, and soon the only thing you'll have to remember it by is the photos you get from the photographer and pictures your friends post online. Make sure you talk to your photographer ahead of time to be sure they get these 10 must-have wedding photos.

#1. The First Look

Bride and groom holding hands on either side of an open door

This first photo may not follow normal traditions. It involves the bride and groom seeing each other in full attire before the actual ceremony. Not all first looks have to break tradition, though. Some can follow a similar format like the photo to the right.

What makes this a "must-have" shot? This photo is taken early on in the day, before the ceremony begins. Seeing the bride and groom together before you are supposed to adds a fun deviant nature to the photo. Plus, if the bride and groom do decide to see each other, the raw emotion on each of their faces will make for a picture perfect candid moment.

Whether the bride and groom decide to see each other or not, first looks are a great way to build anticipation for what is to come.

#2. Walking Down the Aisle

Up next on this list is a classic photo on every photographers shot list, and for good reason. One of the most iconic moments of a wedding is when the bride is walking down the isle. This shot, taken over the grooms shoulder, captures the emotions showing on the brides face.

Why is this a "must-have" shot? In addition to focusing on the bride, this shot also has a ton of background value. You can look all over this photo and see the reactions of wedding guests seeing how gorgeous and elegant the bride looks walking down the aisle.

Alternatively, this photo can be taken from the back of the church, behind the bride. This angle gives you a much better view of the guests reactions. You also get to see the grooms reaction too. As part of my set-up, I place a camera on a tripod at the back of the church and use a remote to get shots from both angles simultaneously.

#3. Exchanging Rings

Exchanging rings is a symbol of unity between the bride and groom. After vows are read, rings are exchanged. In this shot, the bride and groom are always smiling because this is a very happy moment in the wedding. Both bride and groom are glowing after hearing each others vows.

Why is this a "must-have" shot? during the ceremony, raw emotion is what your photographer should be trying to capture. This shot offers a lot of emotion from the happy couple, and could even be taken at a different angle to capture reactions from the wedding guests.

The vows and ring exchange are two things you want a photographer and videographer to capture at the same time. If your photographer is also acting as your videographer, this can be difficult. That's why I always have a second camera ready to go so I can shoot photos and video at the same time.

#4. The Kiss

This shot is one of the most important shots for a photographer to capture. There are no do-overs with this one, so it is essential your photographer gets this shot. This photo truly encompasses how in love the couple is, and it is one of the most intimate shots taken on the day of the wedding.

Why is this a "must-have" shot? Aside from pure tradition, this shot is symbolic in that it is the first kiss the bride and groom share as a married couple. This shot is often chosen as a featured photo in wedding albums, and is also often chosen to be printed and framed for the couple.

This is one of the main shots that you hire a photographer for. This very important shot only lasts a couple of seconds, and an experienced photographer knows to take as many photos of this moment as possible.

#5. Walking Out Together

This shot is foolproof to provide a photo of the bride and groom wearing huge, genuine smiles. They just completed a major event in their life, and they are absolutely radiating with joy from the thought of spending the rest of their lives together.

Why is the a "must-have" shot? The bride and groom are going to want to remember how they felt throughout the day, including after the ceremony. This shot really captures the emotions on the happy couple's faces.

This shot is a prime example of a photojournalistic photo. I am a strong advocate for the photojournalistic style because of the way you can tell a story through the photos by capturing many different authentic moments throughout the day.

#6. The Bride and Groom

After the ceremony, most couples and their families (and maybe some close friends) will head off to a new location to take some posed photos. These photos tend to turn out great because the happy couple are still glowing from the excitement of the wedding.

Why is this a "must-have" shot? As a couple, this will probably be the only time you will take photos together in these outfits. This is also probably when you both look most photo-ready, considering all the time taken for hair and makeup and the perfectly tailored clothes each person is wearing.

Posed photos can definitely get a little bit awkward, especially when you're not used to having your picture taken. Having a good relationship with your photographer can help. Not only will it be easier to pose for photos in front of somebody you're at least a little familiar with, but the photographer can also get you talking so that you forget that you're even in front of the camera.

#7. The Ring Shot

The rings should be a part of most wedding photos, But there should be at least a few photos where the rings are the focal point. A quick google search can show you a lot of different creative examples of how to incorporate the rings as the main part of a shot.

Why is this a "must-have" shot? The rings are a symbol of the love the bride and groom will always have for each other. That symbol should be used often as a creative way to get some more traditional shots.

Your photographer should take shots of the rings themselves as well as incorporating them into some of your posed photos. These types of photos are typically posted on your social media and are sure to attract a lot of attention.

#8. Family Photos

During the posed photos portion of the day, you'll want to take pictures with all the important people in your life. Usually this means family from both sides of the couple. These photos are great as prints, family Christmas cards, and to post all over social media.

Why is this a "must-have" shot? Well it's a bunch of shots, really. Family is the most important thing in life (and that includes "adopted" family like your best friends). Wouldn't you want them in your wedding photos too?

These photos take up a good chunk of the posed photo time because of all the different sets of people. Having a list of groups ready ahead of time makes the process much more quick and smooth.

#9. The First Dance

The first dance is another iconic moment where the bride and groom are glowing from the love they share. These action shots are always a crowd pleaser.

Why is this a "must-have" shot? This shot captures an intimate moment between the bride and groom. You can see in their eyes how in love they are, and that kind of emotion is powerful in a photo.

The first dance only lasts a few minutes, so make sure photographer is constantly on the move to make sure they get that perfect shot. This is an important moment in the day, and you definitely won't want to forget how you felt.

#10. Cutting the Cake

Now for the main event: THE CAKE! (just kidding of course!) Wedding cakes are usually extravagant and demand attention from your guests. You spent good money on that cake, so you'll at least want to remember how it looked, even if you can't remember how it tasted.

Why is this a "must-have" shot? Cutting the cake rounds out the list of traditional moments from weddings. The event usually brings out the fun nature in the couple, which makes for a great photo.

Don't be afraid to show off a more fun side during this moment! You don't have to worry about getting the dress dirty anymore, so relax and enjoy the moment. The more unscripted, the better the photos!

So there you have it! 10 shots your wedding photographer should never forget. Remember that your wedding day is supposed to be for you, and it's totally okay if things don't go 100% according to plan. Just relax and have fun, because that's when your photographer will get the best pictures!

If you're searching for a photographer for your wedding, check out MG Photography. My website contains all the information you need to decide on a photographer. It's also easy to reach out to me with any questions you have using a contact button on the website!

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