Wedding photography checklist – the subjects

This may be the most important wedding photography checklist you make – the list of people that you absolutely must photograph.
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This part of your wedding photography checklist obviously needs to be completed when you see the bride and groom prior to the big day.

You cannot be wandering up to the happy couple on the day asking them who they would like photographs of.

They will have more important things on their mind. And it marks you out to be a bit amateur-ish!

There are some people at the wedding that are a "given". Never leave these off your wedding photography checklist.

People who are a "given" include members of the immediate family, plus, of course, the bride and groom themselves!

This page is divided into a wedding photography checklist of the people you will be photographing, plus the "specials" – extra photographs that the bride and groom may like to have taken.

Click here for a printable checklist that covers everything you will need - including a list of subjects - for digital wedding photography.
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wedding photography checklist - quoteThe full list of standard shots to put on your checklist:

  • The bride and groom
  • Then the Bride and Groom with:
    • The bridesmaids
    • The best man
    • The bridesmaids and the best man
    • Their immediate family (Bride's, then Groom's, then both together)
    • Their other family members (Bride's, Groom's then both)
    • Immediate and other family members(Bride's, Groom's then both)
    • Close friends (Bride's, Groom's then both)
    • Other friends (Bride's, Groom's then both)
    • Other people (perhaps work colleagues? The person who married them? The florist? . . . ?)
    • Complete group shot – everyone!
The best thing about this checklist is that it builds simply and logically from one group to the next. It works with groups, rather than individuals, because that's far more manageable.

The alternative is to have every person named and tick them off the list. You could easily find on the internet a wedding photography checklist that covers every person imaginable, from the priest down to the family pets! A good wedding photography tip – avoid them!

Why should you avoid these detailed lists? There is a big problem with them – they are just too detailed. You will never be able to use it once you are in the thick of it.

You will have enough on your hands calling people over, posing them, handling your equipment and actually taking the photographs. You won't have time to stop to check if Aunty Deirdre was third on your wedding photography checklist or fourth. Sticking to groups, that build logically, is the best method.

Provided you have a strong voice and direct groups of people into the photograph as you need them, you won't go far wrong.

And remember - people like to be directed. They don't like wondering if they were or weren't supposed to be in that last photograph. Call out to them "And now I need the groom's immediate family please!".

To help speed things along, when you are close to finishing up with one group, quickly glance at your list, then announce who's next. Then the next group can get themselves ready. "If the Bride's friends could start sprucing themselves up please, I'm almost finished with the family here!"

Add this to your checklist – a confident voice!

A good wedding photography tip - enlist the help of the best man here. Introduce yourself to him early in the day and inform him that you'll be asking him to help get people ready for the photos.

I've yet to have a best man refuse. In fact, they generally enjoy having a job to do! Something else that perhaps should be on your wedding photography checklist – a good best man!

Other shots that could be on your wedding photography checklist – the "specials".

The "specials" are the extra photos that the bride and groom would like you to take. These are the ones you discussed with them when you met them prior to the wedding. (you did meet them well before the wedding, didn't you?)

The list below is not exhaustive, but should give you some ideas of photos to go on your wedding photography checklist:

  • Finishing getting ready shots – straightening tie for the groom, pulling up garter belt for the bride.
  • The rings
  • The flowers
  • The back of the bride's dress (especially if it's elaborate)
  • The wedding car
  • The wedding cake
  • The wedding venue itself
The best advice, as always, is to talk to the bride and groom. They may well want to add to this part of your wedding photography checklist.