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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