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The Best Wedding Photography Shot List

In the wedding planning process, one of the critical elements is to define your wedding photography shot list. A shot list lays out a robust plan that your professional photographer(s) will reference when capturing images on the big day. This list is used as a guide for your photographer to follow to make sure the most important moments are documented.

Since there will be hustle and bustle on the wedding day, the list gets reviewed and agreed upon in advance so that nothing gets missed. The goal is to make sure that everything that is important to you gets captured so that your wedding album exceeds your expectations.

To make sure that our Joy team captures the most meaningful moments, we have a standard shot list which we use as a template. As part of our partnership, we’ll make sure that you have visibility to the shot list before the big day so that it can be personalized to you. Since every wedding and each individual love story is unique, we’re committed to helping to make sure that the planned shot list will meet your needs.

One of the top questions that we receive is “What’s on your standard wedding day shot list?” Since you might be wondering the same thing, we wanted to share our list with you.

Add These Pictures to Your Wedding Shot List

Here is our standard wedding photography shot list, and the one which we use for all our Joy couples.

Wedding Details Shot: Bridal Style Captured by Joy Photo and Video

Getting Ready/ Fiancé Getting Ready

The time prior to the ceremony can help to create some of the most special moments. After all the effort that goes into planning, the big day is finally here! Our standard getting ready shot list includes:

  • Getting dressed in your outfit (with your VIPs in the photo if you’d like)

Wedding day first look inspiration and photos
  • Seeing close ups up the details, including the dress/ suit features, accessories, jewelry, shoes, and flowers

  • Getting your hair and makeup done

  • Looking at yourself in the mirror for a mirror/reflection shot

  • Reading the letters written to one another

  • Experiencing the first look/first touch or other alternative

  • Reacting to seeing you in your outfit with a Bridesmaids/Groomsmen Party

  • Having fun with candid photos like doing a toast or helping one another get ready

[Pro tip: Hiring a second photographer will allow your photography team to be in two places at once! This is very helpful if you’re both getting ready at the same time while in different locations. Read this article to learn more about the benefits of hiring a second shooter for your wedding.]

Groomsmen photo ideas while getting ready on the wedding day

Portraits Portrait shots after the ceremony will include the following individuals. (If you opt for a First Look prior to the ceremony, some of these can be done before as well.):

  • Getting formal portraits of the couple only (individual and together)

  • Having your immediate family pose together (parents, siblings, grandparents, children)

  • Capturing your extended family and other VIPs

  • Posing with your wedding party

  • Having fun with candids like the groomsmen throwing the groom up in the air, or the bride showing off her ring to the wedding party

Wedding party photography shot list and tips

Cocktail Hour

If you opt for a Cocktail Hour before or after the ceremony to help keep your guests entertained while you do formal portraits, here are the photos to capture:

  • Getting photos of your wedding guests in different settings and scenarios

  • Capturing a variety of candids like your guests with drinks or posing together


We believe that the most important moments to capture at the wedding ceremony include:

  • Documenting the interior/exterior of the ceremony venue

  • Capturing your guests and their varied emotions throughout the ceremony

  • Getting close ups of the alter/inside chapel

  • Arriving as a bridal party

  • Entering the ceremony venue during the Processional

  • Seeing the reactions of the couple when they see one another

  • Capturing different angles of the Officiant as they lead the ceremony

  • Saying your vows to one another

  • Exchanging your rings with one another

  • Kissing for the first time as a newlywed couple

  • Leaving the event space during the Recessional

  • Capturing candids throughout the ceremony

Wedding photography shot list: ceremony and reception

Reception Now, it’s time to party! Here are some of the best items to add to a wedding photography shot list so that these moments are captured before you end the night:

  • Getting closes ups of the reception setting/décor

Wedding reception photo shot list
  • Documenting the guest book or guests signing the book

  • Entering the ceremony space with a grand entrance (couple and the wedding party)

  • Wedding party enjoying time together at their table

  • Documenting the details

    • Food

    • Cake Cutting

  • Giving speeches or toasts

  • Doing your first and/or last dance

  • Tossing the garter and bouquet

  • Capturing specialty dances/performances

  • Dancing

    • Wedding Party

    • Guests

    • Family

  • Capturing candids---now that you can let your hair down and enjoy being a newlywed

  • Sending off the couple with some epic exit photos

[Pro tip: If you have limited time with your photographer at the wedding reception, plan to do a “mock send off.” This means that you’ll act like you’re leaving the venue so that your grand exit photos and video footage can be captured, and then you’ll go back to the party. Why? This will ensure that this moment is captured---without making you feel like you’re running out of time later. You’ll also likely look and feel fresher than at the end of the night, and more of your guests will be present (not just the Night Owls!)]

Wedding photography shot list ideas from Joy Photo and Video

We hope that it was helpful to learn about a wedding photography shot list. At Joy Photo and Video, we partner closely with our couples with a designated consultant who will help to make sure that your process is a joy-filled experience. Learn more about our customizable services.

Choose Joy,

The Joy Team


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