On their wedding day, the bride and groom are caught up in wedding festivities, celebrating with family and friends, and dancing the night away. While the wedding day commotion might make them forget about that one shot they really wanted while saying their vows or walking up the aisle together, as their wedding photographer, you have to ensure that you remember all those wedding ceremony shots they wanted you to capture and perhaps even try to go beyond the wedding shot list. As you prepare your photo checklist for your next wedding, check out these 30 wedding ceremony photos and moments that you can add to it.
30 Wedding Ceremony Shots You Must Take
1. DETAILS OF THE CEREMONY SITE
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As far as decor is concerned, your couples spend a lot of time planning everything to the T. So, giving that extra bit of spotlight to the ceremony site details and decor is important. One of the classic wedding ceremony photos therefore is of the ceremony site, and you might want to keep this toward the top of your photography checklist. Before the guests arrive and the ceremony begins, be sure to take photos of the ceremony site when nobody’s around. For example: If you are photographing a spring wedding and the ceremony site is decorated with flowers, that’s a stellar detail photo right there! These photos work as a reminder for your couples about all the hard work they put in while planning their wedding. Plus, you can also use these images to network with the vendors. Decor shots always add a lovely touch to wedding photos, so try to make sure you cover all the angles.
Suggested Read: 24 Detail Shots To Capture From Every Wedding
2. Guests Arriving For The Ceremony
Most of the must-have wedding photos might feature your couple in them, but the photos of your couple’s guests arriving for the ceremony should be on your shot list too - especially because your clients don’t always get to witness it in real time. During this time the couple is behind closed doors, so they don’t know that their aunty got a little teary-eyed or that grandma danced her way to her seat. So be sure to capture the guests as they arrive so that your couple can check out all the action that was happening as the guests were anticipating their entrance.
3. Bride And Bridal Party Preparing To Walk Down The Aisle
A photo of the bride and her bridesmaids preparing to walk down the aisle is a great way to add some ‘behind the scenes’ type shots to the wedding story. The bridesmaids might be adding some finishing touches to the bride’s train or they could be sharing a tender moment or a big laugh together; try not to miss these little moments and photograph them as authentically as you can. These are going to end up as candid shots that help you enhance your couple’s wedding day story.
4. DETAIL SHOTS OF THE BRIDE AND BRIDESMAID’S BOUQUETS
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Ah, florals! Dark or soft pastels - you can never get enough images of flowers on the wedding day. While it’s ideal to get the flower photography done early on the wedding day, which is when they are at their freshest and most photogenic, take some time out during the wedding ceremony for some detail shots of the bouquets while the bride and bridesmaids are holding them. The flowers were chosen specifically for this grand occasion and are often significant to your bride, so it’s important that you make them one of the wedding ceremony shots. One of the classic ways to take this photo is a close-up while blurring the bridesmaids’ dresses in the backdrop. That way, you get some extra color in your images.
5. Groom Waiting For The Bride At The Altar
After photographing the groom’s entry during the processional, don’t forget about him. As you take the photos of the guests and the decor, make sure you or your second shooter also takes photographs of the groom eagerly waiting for his bride to walk down the aisle. Maybe he’s joined by his groomsmen or maybe he’s waiting on his own, and even if he’s just waiting alone, try to photograph the emotions he might be feeling at that moment. It’s usually best to stay close to the groom so you get close-up shots of him and are also prepared to photograph your bride from the front as she walks down the aisle.
6. Bridal Party Walking Down The Aisle
Whether the wedding is indoors or outdoors, a photograph of the bridal party walking down the aisle is a total must-have when it comes to wedding ceremony shots. If the bride arrives in a limo, take photos of the bride and her bridesmaids exiting the limo together. It’s a great way to show the fun part of the ceremony and the emotions your client and her girls were feeling as they headed toward the ceremony site. Your couple chooses the people closest to them to be a part of their wedding party, so your couple will appreciate it when you give them some extra attention during the ceremony, especially as they walk down the aisle.
Related Read: 35 Must-Have Bridal Party Photos
7. Flower Girl And Ring Boy Walking Down The Aisle
The flower girl(s) and the ring bearer(s) are usually the last ones to walk down the aisle before the bride makes her entry, and these little guests are too cute to be missed. And your couple and whoever else looks at the wedding photos are going to love the images of the children performing their duties diligently. Also, since they are kids, there could be some chances of minor goof-ups where the kids forget who they are supposed to give the rings to or get hungry midway down the aisle. If and when these goof-ups happen, make sure your lens is pointed right at the little ones. These are one of those wedding ceremony shots that are bound to get a collective “awwww” from the viewers. You are never going to regret adding this shot to your wedding photo checklist.
8. Bride Walking Down The Aisle
It’s the moment everyone has been waiting for - and it is important to keep yourself and your gear ready for this shot! Everyone stands, the bride appears, and she’s glowing and looking gorgeous. This is your cue to capture the moment that everyone will talk about for months after the wedding. After you get a few full length, wide, and close-up shots of the bride’s entry, take a quick second to photograph the family and guests’ reactions as they get a glimpse of the bride. Walking down the aisle is typically all about the bride, but it is also a traditional and special moment for the bride and her father. Make sure you capture this moment in as many different ways as you can as your bride and her father are going to cherish it (and possibly frame it) for years to come.
9. Groom’s Reaction To Seeing The Bride
Photographing the groom’s reaction as he sees his bride for the first time or when she starts walking toward him has got to be in every wedding photographer’s shot list. This is a wedding ceremony shot that just cannot be missed. It’s difficult to be at two places at once, so this is where a second shooter could prove to be of immense help as they cover the bride and you take images of the groom or vice versa. The chances of missing out on an important moment are significantly reduced when you know that someone else has got it covered. Sometimes, more than the posed portraits, it’s these natural moments that can help you strike gold and truly impress your clients.
10. THE DRESS DETAILS
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All bridal dresses are one of a kind, and most brides you photograph would have spent considerable time finalizing their dream wedding dress. Additionally, it might be new or designed by the bride or your bride might be wearing her mother or grandmother’s wedding dress. Photographing these details is another way to enhance your couple’s wedding day story. You might have already gotten familiar with the dress while you were taking photos of your bride getting ready, so you already know the details that need to be photographed. Does it have a show-stopping train or veil? Does it have crystals embroidered all over the sleeves? Is the lace used in the veil from the ’70s? The little details always count.
Related Read: Wedding Dress Photography Ideas And Tips
11. Bride’s Father Giving Her Away
While your couple is the stars of the event, there are some important relationships and people that need to be photographed too. The father of the bride and the bond they share is an example of that. Another huge moment for the father of the bride during the wedding ceremony is handing his daughter over to her soon-to-be husband. As that happens, photograph the handshake or hug the father of the bride and the groom share, and the kiss on the cheek the daughter receives from her father. Trust us, it’s priceless!
12. Wide Shot Of The Ceremony
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Now that the bride and groom have joined together to officially begin the ceremony, take advantage of the stillness of the moment and take a photo of the entire ceremony. Try to get as many elements from the ceremony as you can, including your couple, the guests, the wedding party, etc. You can try to experiment with various angles and perspectives. If it is an outdoor wedding ceremony, you could also try a bird’s-eye view with a drone or by finding a higher vantage point at the venue.
13. Over The Shoulder Shot
Since the wedding ceremony does run for some time, once you are done with all the classic wedding ceremony pictures, it’s time to get a little creative. When shooting over the groom’s shoulder, you are giving the bride a chance to see everything from the groom’s perspective. The bride will see how she looks as she stands before her husband (who doesn’t want to see that bridal glow up close and in full focus?), her bridesmaids’ reactions, and this wedding ceremony shot will always take her back to how she felt standing there and starting a new chapter in her life with her husband and all her loved ones. Similarly, you don’t want to miss out on the man of the day, so make sure you capture the bride’s POV as well.
14. Parents Observing The Ceremony
You certainly cannot miss out on photographing the front row at the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom hardly have the time to look around and see what their parents are doing as the officiant takes them through the ceremony, so they are likely to miss their parents’ reactions. The bride’s father holding back his tears, the smile on the groom’s mom’s face, the bride’s brother looking at his sister with love - these are moments you will want to freeze in time. When you take photos of both sets of parents as they watch their children, you are essentially giving your couple the memory of how much joy their parents felt as they started this new journey in life. It’s a photograph that your couple and their parents are going to cherish forever.
15. View Of The Guests From The Couple’s POV
Whether or not each guest is in your couples ‘must-have a photo with them’ list, it’s a good practice to photograph everyone who was present at the wedding anyway. To take a photograph of all the guests from your couple’s POV during the ceremony, have your second shooter stand from an angle that will not interrupt the ceremony or anyone’s view, but will allow for a shot of the guests watching the happy couple. It would be nice for your couple to have a photograph that reminds them of all the people who showed up to love and support them on their big day.
16. Photos Of The Grandparents
If your couple’s grandparents are going to be at the wedding, they might have already told you that they are one of the VIPs of the event, and you must remember that theirs is one of the wedding ceremony pictures you can’t forget to take. Not every couple gets to have their grandparents in attendance at their wedding, so if yours is a couple that is fortunate enough to have grandparents or other elderly family members in attendance, remind them of that joy of having them around through the photos you take.
17. The Couple During The Vows
The vows are one of the most important parts of the ceremony. Your couple has poured their heart out into these words and as they say them to each other, you are bound to get some beautiful and emotional reactions to shoot. As the groom begins to say his vows, zoom in on the bride to capture her reaction. When the bride starts with her vows, switch over to the groom to capture his smile and his loving gaze. You could also have your second shooter shoot these moments from the back.
18. Photos Of The Couple Holding Hands
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Usually, during some parts of the ceremony, the couple will be holding hands. It’s a loving gesture that certainly deserves to be photographed. You will find plenty of moments when they hold hands, so you can keep coming back to it to find that perfect shot. For this wedding ceremony shot, you could take a few close-up photos of just their hands and also take some portraits where you include their faces. The latter will enable you to capture all the love that your couple will be feeling in that moment.
19. Document Traditions
If you market your wedding photography business to multicultural couples, then you probably get introduced to different wedding traditions too. Before you photograph your couple’s wedding, make sure you ask them whether they have any family or cultural traditions that they’d like for you to photograph - during the ceremony and even before or after it. Whether it is stomping on glass or lighting the unity candle, add the tradition to your wedding photography checklist and remember exactly when and where they are supposed to take place so you are actually there to capture it.
20. UNEXPECTED MOMENTS
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No matter how perfectly you planned your wedding photo shot list with your couple and their wedding planner, there’s still a chance that you’d have to make some space for moments that you did not anticipate. Did the glass not break the first time or did the lighter not work for the unity candle? Sometimes, these unexpected moments can invoke laughter, and capturing those reactions could enable you to offer your couples proof that even when everything doesn’t go as planned, things actually turn out to be alright. However, since you don’t know if and when something like this is going to happen, the key to freezing these unexpected moments is to keep an eye out for what’s happening around you. We know it might sound like a lot of hard work and maybe even impossible, but it’s totally worth it if you capture that shot!
21. Bridesmaids Looking At Bride
The bridesmaids are important to your bride, which makes them important to you too. While we suggest always keeping an eye on them, try to find those small, “gone in the blink of an eye” kind of moments that happen between your bride and the bridesmaids during the ceremony. As the bride says her vows, the bridesmaids are most probably looking at her with admiration and possibly even getting a little emotional. That’s a moment you will want to capture. Photograph the sheer joy on their faces when they hear the groom say his vows to the bride. These are moments that your bride will probably not get to see as they are happening, so when you pay attention to these tiny details, your client gets to see how blessed she is to have that kind of love and support from her bridesmaids.
22. Groomsmen Looking At Groom
Like the bridesmaids, we’d also suggest that you photograph the groomsmen as the ceremony proceeds. You might actually take some of your best wedding ceremony shots in the form of candid pictures of a groomsman trying really hard not to yawn during a long ceremony or a groomsman who got a little teary-eyed while hearing his best friend talk about the love of his life. The groom will probably not be aware of this action taking place right behind him, but the photos you take will be the reason he and his groomsmen share a laugh or a warm hug later. You never know what kind of reactions the vows get so sometimes, it’s good to take your attention away from the couple (once you’ve got all the must-have shots of them, of course).
23. Ring Exchange
Another one of those absolutely must-have wedding ceremony photos is the ring exchange. You must have already taken some detail photos of the rings in all their glory but now is the time to photograph them as they are being exchanged by your couple. From the groom putting the ring on the bride’s finger and the bride sliding the ring onto the groom’s finger to both of them showing off their rings to the guests - every moment is worth a picture. It often happens so fast, but in those few seconds, you’ve got to photograph something that won’t be repeated again. So be ready and shoot quickly! And don’t forget to take some close-up shots of their hands once the rings are on!
Suggested Read: 10 Creative Wedding Ring Photography Ideas
24. Close-Up Of The Couple Right Before They Are Announced Husband And Wife
A close-up shot of your couple right before they are announced husband and wife is another crucial moment to photograph during the wedding ceremony. For your couple, it’s similar to being a kid on Christmas morning, because they know that the big moment is coming. They’ve looked forward to this moment for so long and it’s just seconds away from them. Zoom in so that you get the couple looking at one another with true excitement before the officiant announces them man and wife and they go in for their first kiss.
25. The First Kiss
The first kiss your couple shares as husband and wife is also one of those moments that cannot be recreated. We are not trying to scare you, but it’s imperative that you don’t mess up this wedding ceremony shot. This is most likely going to be the shot that will be plastered all over Facebook and Instagram minutes later. And it’s also probably going to be the photograph your couple adds to the album or even frames for their mantel. The first kiss as husband and wife is what seals the deal for the new chapter in your couple’s lives, so make sure you get up and close for a great shot! It’s also a moment that guests react to with cheers and applause, so have your second shooter capture all that action as you focus on your bride and groom.
26. The ‘We Did It’ Shot
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Once all the serious stuff is done, it’s time for the couple to have some fun. The ‘we did it’ photo is a really fun and classic wedding ceremony shot that you will want to get before your couple makes their way to the reception venue. All your couples might not have this moment, but you can easily anticipate it and be ready with your camera when your couple turns to the guests and throws their hands in the air to say “we did it” without actually saying it. It’s a celebratory moment and pose that your couple is totally going to want to see and live again.
Suggested Read: Must-Have Cute Couple Poses To Include In Your Shot List
27. Photos Of Guests Congratulating The Couple
Your newlywed couple may stay around the wedding ceremony area until everyone heads to the reception. Family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances will line up to congratulate the couple, sharing hugs, handshakes, laughter, and tears of joy. Make sure you are around when this is happening so that after the wedding frenzy is over, the bride and groom can sit back and cherish all the love they got on their wedding day!
28. The Couple Walking Up The Aisle
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Once the bride and groom have met their friends and family, they are most likely going to walk up (or dance) the aisle together and head to their reception venue. The guests will be clapping and cheering them on as they make their way out and they might even be showered with flowers. All in all, it’s a really happy and joyful moment, so while you take photos of your bride and groom walking toward you, make sure you also have some shots that include their guests bidding them farewell.
29. Post-Ceremony Wedding Party Shot
They might not have been the main part of the wedding ceremony, but the bridal party is an essential part of it. After the ceremony, once they are done with their duties, you could probably find them in a more relaxed and fun mood. As they celebrate with the bride and groom and make their exit, you’ll be able to get more candid shots of everyone together. This time, the bride and groom will actually be able to see what their wedding party is up to.
30. The Newlyweds Leaving The Venue
After everyone has gone to the reception, the bride and groom set some time aside for taking portraits or they might make an exit before everyone leaves the venue. Either way, when they are making their way to the reception venue, find a good spot to take some photographs of the bride and groom leaving the venue hand-in-hand as husband and wife. If you want to get a little creative and go beyond the classic photos of the couple’s exit, you could even jump in their wedding car and take a photo of them zooming away from the back seat.
Suggested Read: The 10 Must-Have Shots From The Reception
Stay Aware And Shoot Quickly
For almost all couples, their wedding day goes by in a flash. They are so caught up in the festivities that they miss out on so many precious moments that happen at the wedding, many of which we’ve mentioned above. But as their wedding photographer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your couple gets to relive their wedding day, even the moments they missed, through their wedding photos. So even though your bride may not have seen her father hold back his tears during the ceremony or the groom might not have gotten to see his grandma and grandpa dance their way to their seats at the ceremony site - your photos will allow them to do that even years later.
While having the above wedding ceremony shot list could help you photograph all the key moments of a wedding ceremony, always keep an eye out for moments that you couldn’t have possibly planned to capture. You might not always be able to anticipate them, but it helps if you stay attentive. What helps even more is if you guide your second shooter to do the same.
Further Read: Ceremony Photos Inspiration By ShootDotEdit Customers
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