Hey y'all! I’m Haleigh, 

- a wedding photographer based in Louisiana and serving the Southern US. I adore serving kindhearted couples who value timeless and romantic imagery. From sweeping veils to Southern estates and madly in love couples, you’ll find all the dreamy and heartfelt images right here on the blog!

August 9, 2023

The Ultimate Wedding Photography Shot List | Haleigh Kirkland Photography

It’s here – the ultimate wedding photography shot list to help make the big day go by smoothly and efficiently! Whether you’re a bride overwhelmed with planning the day or a new photographer looking for ideas on where to get started, this extensive list has everything you could think of! I’ve photographed many weddings over the years and each one can be totally different. Make sure your photographer knows ahead of time if there are any special non-traditional events happening. I hope that this list will give you some clarity – and maybe even a few new ideas – as you’re heading towards the big day. I’ve even sprinkled in a few other education blog post that go more in depth on a few specific portions of a wedding. Congratulations and happy planning!


You’ve carefully curated each special detail of your wedding day, and they deserved to be remembered! Start your day out by having your photographer capture the following details in a flatlay style. Make sure to have everything gathered ahead of time for them, typically in a box or bag ready to go when they arrive.

  • Dress with Special or Nice Hanger
  • Rings (all 3 – engagement and wedding bands)
  • Shoes
  • Veil
  • Bouquet
  • Hair Pieces
  • Jewelry (Earrings, Bracelet, Necklace)
  • Invitation Suite (2 full sets with envelopes + stamps)
  • Vow Books
  • Sentimental Keepsakes
  • Fresh, Loose Florals that can be Cut

More tips for your details photos: It’s All in the Details

Bride Getting Ready

Capture all of the pre-ceremony excitement as the bride get’s ready for “I Do”! Make sure to take note of all the important people there (mom, sisters, best friends, etc) and how they play a role in the getting ready process.

  • Dress Hanging (With & Without Bride)
  • Hair & Makeup (Bride, Bridesmaids, Mothers, etc)
  • Bride & Bridesmaids PJ/Robe Group Photo
  • Mom/Significant Person Helping Button or Zip Bride’s Dress
  • Mom/Significant Person Putting on Bride’s Veil
  • Bride Putting on Jewelry (Earrings, Bracelet, Necklace)
  • Bride Putting on Shoes, Seated
  • Bride Putting on Perfume
  • Bride Looking in Mirror
  • Bride Solo Portrait

Want more help on this part of the day? Tips for Better Bridal Getting Ready Photos

Groom Getting Ready

The groom needs his moment too! Make sure to capture all of the fun moments that the guys are having together as they suit up for the big day.

  • Groom Details – Tie, Shoes, Cufflinks, Watch, Cologne, Other Special Items
  • Groomsmen Getting Ready
  • Groom & Groomsmen Drink/Toast
  • Father/Significant Person Straightening Groom’s Tie
  • Father/Significant Person Helping Groom Put on Jacket
  • Mom/Significant Person Putting on Groom’s Boutonniere
  • Groom Putting on Cufflinks, Watch, Shoes
  • Groom Buttoning Jacket
  • Groom Solo Portrait

First Looks

All first looks are totally optional! Here are a few variations that I have seen on wedding days. Remember, it’s totally up to you and can even be adjusted to feature other important people in your life such as grandparents or siblings.

  • Bride & Bridesmaids
  • Bride & Father
  • Bride & Groom

What are the benefits of having a bride and groom first look? Here they are! 3 Reasons to Have a First Look

Bride & Groom Portraits

There are so many different varieties of bride and groom portraits to capture – but these are the essentials! I always try to start with the traditional smiling at the camera (it’s the main portraits that the parents will want) before having fun with some movement.

  • Bride & Groom Smiling at Camera
  • Bride & Groom Looking at Each Other
  • Bride & Groom Walking Hand in Hand
  • Groom Twirling Bride
  • Bride & Groom Kiss
  • Bride & Groom with Veil (Swoop, Toss, or Snuggle if long enough)

For more info on romantic images: How to Pick the Right Bridal Veil for Dreamy Wedding Images

Wedding Party Portraits

Celebrate with those closest to you! Make sure to get the traditional group and individual shots before moving on to some walking and laughing images. Feel the vibe of the group and go from there!

  • Entire Wedding Party (Bride & Groom, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Ushers, Ring Bearer, Flower Girl)
  • Bride & Groom, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen
  • Bride with Bridesmaids (Group, Fun Giggling, Walking)
  • Bride with Each Bridesmaid
  • Bride with Flower Girl
  • Groom with Groomsmen (Group, Walking)
  • Groom with Each Groomsman
  • Groom with Ushers
  • Groom with Ring Bearer
  • Bride & Groom with Ring Bearer, Flower Girl

Family Portraits

This part of the day can either be really short or really long. I always recommend this sample list as a starter. Just a warning – don’t overdo it. I’ve seen family portrait lists that have been three pages long and everyone is tired and bored by the end. Make sure to get the key people in your life in larger groups so that this portion of the day is more efficient for everyone.

  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s Parents
  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s Siblings
  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s Immediate Family
  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s Entire Family
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s Parents
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s Siblings
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s Immediate Family
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s Entire Family

For more info on family portraits: A Wedding Family Portraits Guide


This is where the magic happens and it’s finally official! This part of the day can vary by venue, location, outside, inside, church, etc. Be sure your photographer captures it as it’s unfolding and doesn’t obstruct a guests view. Also make sure they know ahead of time if there are any special rules (typically churches) that should be followed during the ceremony.

  • Ceremony Decor (Florals, Arch, Signs, etc)
  • Guests Arriving
  • Ushers Seating Guests, Grandparents, Parents
  • Groom & Officiant Entering
  • Wedding Party Entering
  • Bride Walking Down the Aisle (Front and Back if there’s a Second Photographer)
  • Groom’s Reaction
  • Wide View of Ceremony
  • Any Speakers/Singers/Musicians
  • Parents Reactions
  • Bride & Groom Exchanging Vows
  • Bride & Groom Exchanging Rings
  • First Kiss
  • The Recessional (Bride & Groom Kiss Walking Back Down Aisle)
  • Congratulations Photos – Guests Hugging Couple, Laughing, Crying

Just Married Portraits

These can sometimes be some of my favorite images of the day! If time allows, take a few minutes for bride and groom portraits at sunset – you won’t regret it!

  • Bride & Groom Smiling
  • Bride & Groom Hugging, Kissing
  • Bride & Groom Holding Up Rings
  • Bride & Groom with Marriage License


And now it’s time for some fun! Dancing, eating, special events – the reception is where everyone let’s loose and celebrates the newlyweds!

  • Reception Details (Cakes, Table Settings, Food, Signs, Decorations, Guest Book, etc)
  • Bride & Groom Announcement
  • First Dances (Bride & Groom, Bride & Father, Groom & Mother traditionally)
  • Bride & Groom at Table
  • Guests Dancing
  • Band or DJ Entertaining
  • Cake Cutting/Toasts
  • Money Dance
  • Bouquet & Garter Toss
  • Bride & Groom Private Last Dance
  • Bride & Groom Special Exit
  • Bride & Groom Leaving in Vehicle

As you’re planning your wedding day, I hope that this ultimate wedding photography shot list will help keep your mind at ease! There’s no right or wrong answer to a wedding day. Just remember to have fun and celebrate!!

Wedding Photography Shot List – Additional Links

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