Top 10 Must-Have Wedding Photos You Can’t Miss

When planning your wedding, the day’s fleeting moments are forever captured through the lens of your photographer. These photographs define how you and your loved ones will remember one of the most significant days of your life. To ensure your wedding album tells the complete story of your special day, here are the top 10 must-have wedding photos you can’t miss.

getting ready wedding photos

Getting ready wedding photos

1. The Getting Ready Shots

The morning of your wedding is filled with excitement, anticipation, and often a touch of nervousness. Capturing the bride and groom as they prepare for the big day showcases these emotions and sets the stage for the events to come. Photos of the bride getting her hair and makeup done, the groom adjusting his tie, and the bridesmaids helping with the dress reveal the behind-the-scenes moments that are both intimate and candid. These shots also highlight the details of the wedding attire, accessories, and the personal touches that make each wedding unique. They serve as a beautiful prelude to the ceremony, documenting the transformation from ordinary to extraordinary. Ultimately, these images remind you of the anticipation and joy experienced in the hours leading up to your vows.

2. The First Look

If there was one shot on our list that was my personal favorite must-have wedding photo, it’d be the first look!  It’s my favorite thing to photograph, because of the anticipation before, and how the couple can relax and just be together after.  I can’t tell you as a wedding photographer how much stress is relieved when the couple see each other for the first time, it’s my favorite photo to take at every wedding.  The first look is a moment charged with emotion as the couple sees each other for the first time on their wedding day. This private or semi-private moment often brings out genuine, unfiltered reactions—whether it’s tears, laughter, or sheer joy. Capturing this moment allows for a special series of photos that are full of raw, heartfelt emotion, which are often some of the most treasured images from the day. Additionally, the first look can help calm nerves and allow the couple to share an intimate moment together before the ceremony. These photos not only set a romantic tone but also show the genuine connection between the couple. It’s a beautiful way to document the love and excitement that defines the day.

must-have-wedding-photos ceremony

The ceremony and venue should always be part of your must-have wedding photos list

3. The Ceremony Venue

This should be a no-brainer.  On any list of must-have wedding photos, the location should be at the top.  A wide shot of your ceremony venue captures the atmosphere and setting you’ve carefully chosen for your vows. Whether it’s a grand cathedral, a rustic barn, a beachside altar, or a garden gazebo, this photo highlights the ambiance and aesthetic of your wedding location. It’s an essential shot that includes all the decorative details you’ve spent months planning—from floral arrangements to seating setups. This image serves as a visual reminder of the environment where your commitment was made, preserving the setting that contributed to the magic of your day. Moreover, it provides context for the ceremony and allows you to appreciate the beauty and significance of the venue. By capturing the full scene, you ensure that the place where you said “I do” is immortalized in your wedding album.

4. The Walk Down the Aisle

The moment the bride walks down the aisle is filled with emotion, not just for the couple but for everyone in attendance. This shot captures the expressions of the bride, the groom, and the guests, making it a powerful image that reflects the emotional weight of the moment. The walk down the aisle symbolizes the transition from single life to marriage, and the anticipation and joy are palpable. Photos from different angles—such as the bride’s perspective, the groom’s reaction, and the guests’ faces—add depth to this significant event. This moment is often one of the most emotional parts of the ceremony, as it visually represents the start of a new chapter. Capturing this moment ensures that the feelings of love, joy, and excitement are preserved forever.

The walk down the aisle

The walk down the aisle should be captured in many different ways.

5. The Exchange of Rings

The exchange of rings is a timeless symbol of your commitment and one of the most significant moments of the ceremony. Close-up shots of this moment focus on the hands and rings, capturing the symbolism and significance of your vows. This photo emphasizes the physical tokens of your promises to each other, highlighting the beauty and meaning of the rings you have chosen. It’s a detailed shot that represents the unity and promises made during the ceremony, encapsulating the essence of your marriage. Additionally, these images often reveal the expressions of the couple and their hands’ delicate interactions, adding an intimate layer to the story. By focusing on the rings, the photograph becomes a lasting reminder of the vows exchanged and the bond created.  It’s a big deal!

6. The First Kiss

The first kiss as a married couple is one of the most iconic moments of any wedding. This photo captures the joy and romance of the moment, marking the official beginning of your life together. The first kiss is a culmination of the ceremony and symbolizes the sealing of your vows with love and affection. This shot often captures the reactions of the guests as well, adding a communal sense of celebration and support. The framing and timing of this photo are crucial, as it encapsulates a fleeting, yet profoundly meaningful, moment. It’s a must-have wedding photo that symbolizes your union and the joy of finally being pronounced husband and wife.

7. The Family Portraits

Family portraits are essential for capturing the people who matter most on your special day. These photos are important as they document the support and love from your family, providing a lasting memory of everyone who shared in your joy. Organized group shots with parents, grandparents, siblings, and extended family ensure that you have a record of your loved ones’ presence and support. These images often become cherished keepsakes, reflecting the familial bonds and the coming together of two families. Including a variety of combinations and settings for family portraits adds richness to your album. These photos not only capture faces but also the relationships and connections that form the foundation of your married life.

8. The Bridal Party Fun

Shots of the bridal party not only capture your closest friends and family but also add a fun and lively element to your wedding album. These photos often reflect the camaraderie and joy of the day, showcasing the playful side of your celebration. Candid and posed shots with bridesmaids and groomsmen highlight the personalities and the support system surrounding the couple. These images often include laughter, inside jokes, and moments of spontaneity that add a light-hearted, joyful tone to your collection. The bridal party shots are also an opportunity to showcase the attire and themes of the wedding, adding color and style to your album. Ultimately, these photos celebrate the friendships and relationships that have supported you leading up to and on your wedding day.

first dance

The first dance can make for some fun photo opportunities!

9. The First Dance

The first dance is a beautiful, intimate moment that highlights the couple’s connection and joy and a requirement on any must have wedding photos list. Capturing this moment is essential as it reflects the personal and emotional essence of your relationship, set against the backdrop of your chosen song and venue. Photos of the first dance often showcase the couple’s movements, expressions, and the ambiance created by the lighting and decor. This moment is a visual representation of your love story, often filled with tenderness and emotion. The first dance also serves as a focal point of the reception, bringing together the couple and their guests in celebration. By capturing the first dance, you preserve a cherished memory of the joy and intimacy shared between you and your partner.

10. The Send-Off

IF you’re going to have a send-off, this needs to be part of your must-have wedding photos.  We shoot lots of weddings, some couples don’t do a send-off, they prefer a more private (or even Irish) exit, but when you do get a great send-off shot, it’s a great way to cap the night off.  The grand exit or send-off, whether it involves sparklers, confetti, or bubbles, is a festive and celebratory moment. This photo marks the end of the celebration and the beginning of your new journey together. The send-off is often filled with excitement, joy, and a sense of closure as you leave the venue surrounded by well-wishers. Capturing this moment ensures that the final, exuberant celebration of the day is preserved. The send-off photos are dynamic and energetic, often capturing movement, expressions, and the celebratory atmosphere. These images provide a perfect ending to your wedding album, symbolizing the transition from the wedding day to your married life. It’s a joyous and dynamic image that concludes the story of your wedding day with a burst of happiness and excitement.

These top 10 must-have wedding photos are more than just snapshots; they are the visual narrative of your wedding day. Each image captures a unique aspect of your celebration, preserving the emotions, details, and moments that define how you and your loved ones will remember this special day. By ensuring these essential shots are captured, you create a wedding album that not only documents your day but also tells the story of your love in the most beautiful and memorable way possible.


Top 10 must-have wedding photos

If you just got engaged, congrats!  You should look at LOTS and LOTS of wedding photos from any photographer you choose, as each couple should get a lot more than the above referenced must-have wedding photos.  Honestly, each moment the couple share together on their wedding day is a must have wedding photo.  If you’d like to see some of the complete galleries we’ve shot, you can view them on our galleries page here.  If you’d like to chat about your big day, please drop us a line here, we’d love to be a part of what makes your wedding day great.  You can also view what our couples say about working with us here.