30+ Wedding Photography MUST-HAVE Shots

We are thick in the middle of wedding season, aren’t we?

That means we’re thick in the middle of wedding photography season. Now I’m someone who doesn’t shoot weddings as my #1 job, but as you know, I tend to put 100% of myself into every job I do. And of the four or so weddings I’ve photographed, each one has been a huge learning experience/inspiration. I don’t know if I’ll ever do them full-time, but the gift of doing them part of the time, and in a highly perfectionistic way, is that I really do know what I’m doing. It’s a lesson in self-confidence, and weather-confidence, and technology-confidence, but since it’s really mostly about that first part, since you can’t control the rest, that’s where I start. There’s a feeling I get either right away, or hopefully not too far into a gig.

And that’s when raw instinct takes over. It’s almost like I’m floating a little outside of myself. It’s what I’m born to do.

With all of the weddings I’ve photographed, I’ve either been given or have asked the bride and groom for a checklist of important shots. Trust me, I find my own big and small moments. That’s what I’m paid to do. That’s what they’re trusting me to do. I don’t know everyone, though. That’s why I rely on these checklists. I don’t always know about the sick uncle, whose dance with the bride might be his last dance of all. I don’t know individual stories – and what people are battling every day. And I can see so much in my photos, but I need those checklists to know what my client thinks is most important.

I get asked a lot of photography questions, and I always have fun compiling them into photography posts, thanks to a great suggestion by my friend AnnMarie. Some questions require whole posts. This is one of those times. People ask me what my MUST-HAVE shots are for photographing a wedding. Whether you’re reading this as a bride or groom, (or two brides/two grooms), or as a family member, friend, or loved one in a wedding, or as a photographer interested in weddings – I’d love to hear your own thoughts of must-haves! Here are the photos I don’t leave a wedding without having taken, OR ELSE!

I have compiled 30+ must-have #wedding #photography shots - whether you're getting married, or photographing a wedding. You can make your own checklist too!

1 – Dress. I like this one billowing out or sleek/stylish on a plain/natural background.

2 – Shoes. I never knew how important these were until brides started to make sure I noticed them.

3 – Bridal details. I’m talking beyond jewelry with painted nails, barrettes, complicated braids, and other closeups.

4 – Jewelry. Rings, of course, and special earrings, meaningful necklaces, bracelets, etc.

5 РAll flowers. Decorations, bridal bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets, groom and groomsmen boutonnières.

6 – Invitations. Generally there’s a framed shot at the wedding, but if not, I take one before or after the wedding too.

7 – Groom accessories. Cufflinks, jewelry, and other special touches. (With Cassidy, it was his Converse shoes!)

8 – Welcome bags. These are usually found in the hotel and also sometimes at weddings.

9 – Notes. These can be cards, letters, vows, that brides and grooms sometimes write the day of their wedding.

10 – Bridal portrait. There will be many of these, of course, but they are timeless and unique.

11 – The bride and groom’s first look at each other! Of course, this includes bride/bride, groom/groom weddings. LOVE!

12 – Emotions. Honestly this is why I became a photographer in general, and why weddings are in my wheelhouse.

13 – Bridal party relaxed. These are FUN!

14 – Solos of all members of bridal party. These includes children and groomsmen, of course.

15 – The bride in action. That’s too much fun to resist!

16 – Decorations and favors. One of my recent brides is an artist so it was important to her that the wedding decorations were super special. And her favors were just as much fun! I must have photographed them for 30 minutes!

17 – Family shots. You may need an assistant to locate/round up/point out relatives.

18 – The bridal party at the ceremony. The groomsmen too, of course!

19 – Wedding party kids. This is a favorite of mine.

20 – The bride and groom in action. Another favorite! They’ll be busy busy all day.

21 – The walk down the aisle. And that includes EVERYONE walking!

22 – The groom’s face while the bride walks down the aisle. And during the ceremony in general.

23 – Furry friends. Sometimes pets make a big appearance at a wedding!

24 – Traditions. In our family, it was breaking the glass and standing under a Chuppah.

25 – Sweeping ceremony shots. Sweeping reception shots too, of course.

26 – Guests. This starts before the ceremony and continues until the after party, if you can. This is the meat of a wedding!

27 – The kiss. But of course!

28 – Stolen moments and candids. Sometimes, they really do forget you’re there. This is the BEST!

29 – The food. Including and starring, of course, the cake!

30 – Aerial shots. This can be done in different ways – drones, ladders, higher elevations. I have found (safe) ways.

31 – Musicians. Enough said there.

32 – All dance. Formal and planned, plus late night and crazy.

Happy Wedding Season!

Are Sapphires a Girl’s Best Friend?

*This is a sponsored post from the awesome people at EraGem. All thoughts and quirky opinions are so my own.

Have you checked out the beautiful stones from EraGem? Have you ever considered using sapphire rings as a non-traditional engagement choice? #Weddings #love

Do you ooh and ahh over beautiful stones the way I do?

I’m a jewel girl, through and through. I love jewels, of course. I love jewel tones too – choosing to pretty much ONLY wear bright white or different shades of red and pink, deep purples, emerald greens, and sapphire blues.

sapphire rings

And, I remember when we were shopping for engagement and wedding rings. I wanted something different. As much as I do love diamonds, I’m much more taken in by beautiful stones with eye-catching color. Although my birthstone is ruby, I think blue and blue-green stones are gorgeous. That’s how I discovered EraGem.

engagement rings

You know I see quite a bit of jewelry as a wedding photographer. Not only do I see the jewelry, it’s my job to photograph it – whether on or off a bride’s finger. EraGem selects all of their pieces for beauty and with customers in mind. I sigh when I see all their pieces! All I can think is that I want to photograph ALL of them, and that I’d have a lot of trouble choosing just one. What I recently learned is that sapphire engagement rings have been used for weddings since the 1880’s! And lately, they’re gaining in popularity. You can see why, right?

engagement rings

Blue sapphire is the traditional birthstone of September (my sister’s birthstone) and it’s durable – making it suitable for wearing every day. EraGem has an extensive selection of blue-green sapphires and they specifically have Montana sapphire rings – set in vintage and modern mountings. If you’re a color-loving bride-to-be, or you’re looking to celebrate a birthday or anniversary, consider one of EraGem’s many colorful sapphire ring options.

I’m sincere when I tell you I want them ALL!

What can I say about EraGem? They’ve been selling worldwide since 2006, and EraGem was founded in Seattle, Washington. EraGem sells fine pre-owned jewelry and engagement rings to customers shopping locally in Bellevue, WA, and online. They provide accurate imaging and descriptions, and most importantly, a magnificent selection of rings that can be delivered promptly and securely. EraGem offers free shipping and a full 60 Day Money Back Guarantee for any reason. Most of their pieces are independently appraised and certified.

All will arrive clean and ready to wear or gift.


Which one is your favorite? I love them all!