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Wedding Photography_The Essential Images

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Welcome to our second in a three-part series dealing with wedding photography. Today’s post defines the essential images I’d recommend you do your very best to make on the day. As far as a workflow is concerned it’s probably a good idea to break the day up into its individual components that can describe as follows:


  • Groom and groomsman relaxing
  • Groom and groomsman get organized
  • Individual formal portraits of groom and groomsman
  • Candid images of groom and groomsman clowning around, practicing (writing) speeches
  • Formal portraits of bride in head and shoulder, ½. ¾ and full length
  • Close-up image of the flowers and any trinkets (horse shoes, etc)
  • Close-up images of the brides dress (e.g. from behind) and shoes
  • Bride and father
  • Bride and mother
  • Bride and parents
  • Bride with any grandparents present
  • Bride and family, if available
  • Bride with family pet, where appropriate
  • Bride and each individual bridesmaid and flower girl
  • Group shot of bride, maids and flower girl
  • Individual portraits of each bridesmaid and flower girl


  • Groom and groomsman waiting for bride, either inside or outside the church
  • Bride inside car as she arrives at the church
  • Bride still seated but about to alight from the car
  • Bride with one foot on the ground about to stand up and being assisted by her father
  • Bride walking down the isle
  • Important moments throughout the service (readings, vows, exchange of rings)
  • Signing the register
  • Bride and groom walking down the isle
  • Wedding party group on steps
  • Family groups on steps

Garden Location

This is where the bride and groom get to relax, in between their church and reception duties.

  • Family groups (only if you were unable to make these images at the church)
  • Wedding party groups
  • Groom with bridesmaids
  • Bride with groomsmen
  • Partners (each bridesmaid with their respective groomsman)
  • Bride full length (of critical importance)
  • Bride and groom full length
  • Bride and groom 3/4, 1/2 and head and shoulder poses
  • Bride and groom casual and romantic poses in more secluded parts of the garden location
  • Wedding party casual group images including the garter shot
  • If cars are important then, if time allows, the bride and groom and, maybe, the entire bridal party can be photographed both in or standing nearby the cars


  • Cutting the cake

This is usually considered the most important image from the reception. Some photographers do a mock or pretend cutting of the cake and leave almost immediately. For other photographers offering a more complete coverage of the reception the cake cutting can either be photographed upon arrival or as it happens during the event.

  • Overall wide-angle images of the location and guests
  • Small group shots of guests (e.g. seated at tables)
  • Speeches
  • Any elderly and/or infirmed family members who could not be photographed earlier in the day
  • Bridal waltz
  • Bridal party, family members and other guests dancing
  • Band performing

Please note:

Not all weddings include coverage of the groom and groomsmen prior to their arrival at the church, nor is an extended coverage of the reception always expected. The more you shoot the harder your day will be and the more images you’ll need to process and deliver, in a timely manner. I’d estimate that including the guys and the reception would add around 40% to your workload. This means a much longer day resulting in more travel, time and stress. If you offer this kind of complete coverage you need to make sure you charge for it. And if the bride and groom determine the cost is too great they may well consider your normal coverage to be better value.

Of course what I’ve covered today is only a small portion of what you need to know and do to cover a wedding successfully. But I’ve seen so many wedding coverages that didn’t include a full length of the bride, or the bride and groom for that matter, that I thought an article was timely. I hope it helps.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography


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