Creating Your Wedding Photography Shot List

Why it matters & how it will help you get the photos of your dreams

“I’ve been in a lot of weddings and they are the best photographers I’ve seen in terms of coordinating groups of people, creating a timeline for the day and the most knowledgeable of weddings in general!” -Mary & Aaron

When you’re getting married it can feel like there is an endless list of things to do. 

You have to pick your venue 

You have to choose a wedding photographer 

You have to pick wedding outfits for you and your bridal party

Will you hold onto certain traditions, or will you make your own

Whether you are planning an intimate wedding of less than 15 people or a mega-bash with every member of your family tree, we totally understand that you have a lot on your plate. And – you shouldn’t have to navigate this time alone. After photographing more than 100 weddings, we’ve collected a lot of information about what makes a fantastic wedding celebration. 

That’s why we spend so much time trying to make things easier for you! Scroll through our blog and find deeply informative posts on most areas of wedding planning. 

The beautiful thing about planning a wedding is that ultimately, you will gather with your community and celebrate the love you share with your partner. The difficult part is that every decision you make results in even more sub-decisions you have to make. 

But, you shouldn’t have to wonder about your wedding photography. You deserve to be in the moment on your wedding day and confidently know your photographs will turn out perfectly! Read this blog to find:

  • Exactly what you can expect from a wedding photographer
  • Popular styles of wedding photography 
  • What to do with the gorgeous photos after your wedding. 

What Your Wedding Photography Should Include

When it comes to your wedding photography, we want to make sure you get the most out of your session. Your investment should always get you: 

  • A preparation meeting before your big day 
  • Engagement photos 
  • An optional second shooter to make sure no special moment is missed 
  • Supportive coaching on how to look and feel your best in the photos 
  • Help with creating a day-of timeline 
  • Gorgeous wedding day moments that transform into the perfect photos 
  • A photo Unveil session to keep the good times going 
  • Timeless, beautiful options for prints and albums 
Wedding At Inn On The Twenty

“Kevin and Victoria are INCREDIBLE! We are so in love with our wedding photos. They captured our day and our love so perfectly. We will treasure our photos forever. If you’re looking for amazing photographers, I couldn’t recommend Morning Light Photography more!” – Elizabeth Enns

You are right to expect a lot from your wedding photographer. 

The good ones will meet your needs. But the great ones will exceed your expectations. 

So after you book your photographer, what kinds of photos can you expect on your wedding day? 

We’re going to go through an extensive list to detail every type of wedding photography options, and why you might want to add them to your shot list. 

How to make the most of this blog:

  1. Copy and paste the shot list into a word doc and print it off 
  2. As you read through, use a pen to make off your must haves, your maybes and your hard nos. 
  3. Scroll through your wedding photographer’s portfolio and make sure you like their style of your must-have shots. 

And just like that, you’ll have created a shot list that will make for beautiful wedding photography! 

Here are some common types of wedding photography:

  • Getting ready 
  • Family 
  • Romantic
  • Detail 
  • First look
  • Party/dancing 
  • Posed
  • Candid 
  • Show stopper 
  • Ceremony 
  • Reception 
  • Late night send-offs

Most photographers will automatically include some of these photos for your wedding. But unless you are clear about what you want, you may end up missing opportunities for the wedding photographs that you will treasure for years to come. Read through the following list to make sure you can tell your wedding photographer exactly what you want. 

Let’s Explore Different Styles of Wedding Photography:

Getting Ready – This type of photography usually features the bride and her wedding party getting ready for their day. There are so many fun ways to create authentically photo-perfect moments the morning of your wedding! Think matching robes, mimosas, make-up and hair services in progress. It’s basically a stylized “behind-the-scenes” theme. It can also include the groom’s preparation progress with his groomsmen. 

Detail Shots – You spend so much time picking out the perfect invitations, shoes, and rings. Details shots highlight all of the care and attention you put into planning the aesthetic of your wedding. They usually account for a small percentage of your photography. But if you splurged on the perfect pair of Jimmy Choos then you want those details captured! 

First Look – These types of photos have become increasingly popular over the past 5 years. When you and your partner are all dressed and ready to go, your photographers will take you to a private area at your venue. Generally, these types of photos feature a bride approaching the groom from behind and the photographer captures all of the emotion of seeing each other on your wedding day for the first time. 

Family – You’re all in one place and you’re looking your best so it makes sense that a lot of family photography is done at weddings. Some couples opt to spend a good chunk of their photo time having large family shots with each side of the family. Whether you want the whole gang, or more of a focus on immediate family, you’ll have to decide how you want family photos to go. 

Ceremony – You’ve gathered your loved ones to celebrate your wedding, so of course you want shots of the ceremony. But offering your photographer a clear idea of what parts mean the most to you will ensure you get the photography you want. This can be especially important to clarify if you have important cultural aspects to your ceremony. 

Candid – Candid photos tend to hold pure emotion. A great photographer will catch you mid laugh, or capture the adoring look on your spouse’s face when they look at you. Candid photos can be breathtakingly beautiful, but with mostly candid photos it means that you are less likely to be looking head on into the camera, which can change how you use your wedding photos. 

Posed – Posed shots are great because they are often the ones that make great thank you cards or gifts to loving parents and grandparents. For a lot of brides, getting ready for a wedding involves an investment in hair, make-up and time and it is really nice to have a few polished photos of you both looking at the camera. And don’t worry – posed shots can show off your investment without being fake or fabricated. 

Guelph Wedding Photographer

“Kevin and Victoria are incredible professionals and people. We absolutely love every single one of our photos. They didn’t fabricate moments but captured the genuine ones and used their skills to show all the love that was expressed on our big day with our big crazy family and our friends. They were patient with us, listened to us, and found ways to make us comfortable and calm. We are now smitten newlyweds with memories to share for years to come and we have them to thank for it.” – Rebecca and Jeffrey Williams

Show Stopper – If you’ve scrolled through Pinterest long enough, you’ve seen a show stopper photo. It comes in different forms, but it’s designed to give you goosebumps. Maybe your show stopper features you and your partner’s silhouette in front of an incredible sunset. Or a gorgeous pose where your partner dips you, and you extend out into a graceful figure. Your show stopper photo is the drama queen of your wedding album. 

Reception – Ceremony, done! Meal time, done! Now, it’s time to party. Reception photos can be the shots that help reinforce the fun and connection that your wedding helped foster. They give  your guests a chance to be part of your wedding photos, and they tend to capture all of the exuberance of a great reception. Think dancing, chatting, games, and your wonderful community.  

Personality Driven – This is an important category that a lot of photographers tend to overlook. Yes, weddings are romantic and fun. But they can be so much more, based on the couple. This is the type of shot where you can really express what makes you and your partner unique. Maybe it means including your pet! Or photos of you and your partner playing a game you love. Maybe you both are die-hard Harry Potter fans, and your wedding wouldn’t be complete without a few themed props. 

Late Night – For some couples, it’s all about the ceremony. For others, it’s about late night shenanigans that make your wedding a life-highlight for your guests. Whether you plan games, dancing or epic late night buffets, you’ll need to make sure your wedding photography package extends to cover everything you want covered. The final send-off can also make for some gorgeous photos, especially when there are sparklers, twinkle lights or lanterns!  

Why A Shot List Matters

When you take the time to create a list of your photography must-haves, you can clearly communicate with your photographer. Having a designated list will allow your photographer to stay organized for the must-haves, and gives them freedom to use their creativity for additional shots outside of the list. You want a permanent home for all of the special moments that will take place at your wedding. 

We’ve also written a blog post that has timeline support for you!

What to Do With Your Wedding Photography

For most of our couples, their wedding album becomes a treasured family heirloom. It’s the home for all of the special, heartfelt memories they have from the day they stood up in front of friends and family and declared their commitment to each other. But there are other ways to make the most of your wedding photography. We wrote a whole blog post on this, but here is a quick summary:

  • Creating a parent album as a gift for your parents and grandparents
  • Installing a gallery wall of your greatest moments in love 
  • Choosing a print for your thank you cards 
  • Sending as thank you gifts for the wedding party. 
wedding album for bride & groom


When you invest in wedding photography, you deserve a photographer who will get to know your personal style, capture all of your must-have shots and present you with incredible photos of your wedding prep, ceremony and reception. Doing a little work ahead of time to give your photographer clear direction will ensure that you love your wedding photography.  

Wedding Photos at sunset in a vineyard

“Absolutely amazing working with Kevin and Victoria. My husband doesn’t love having his picture taken but they made us feel so comfortable during our engagement session and our wedding and got the most natural and beautiful photos. There wasn’t a single photo we didn’t love. Amazing talent and amazing people.” – Engelle Michaud

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