Obviously, this is a day you want to remember for the rest of your life and, yes, you can just have an on-call photographer the entire time. If that’s not in the budget, though, you’ll have to be a little more strategic with your time and the shots you want to be taken. No matter how long you have your photographer for, here are 13 wedding photos you’ll want to strongly consider having on your wedding day.
When to Take Wedding Photos
There are pros and cons to each time slot you could take your wedding photos in. Generally, you take them before the ceremony, but that isn’t a requirement. Getting your couple’s shots done early (i.e., before the ceremony) can simplify matters greatly.
Sure, you likely won’t get a smudge on your new gold wedding rings before the ceremony, but why run the risk? The earlier you take the pictures, the easier your life will be. If you can’t do it before the ceremony, doing so between the ceremony and the reception is your next best choice.
How Long Should Wedding Photos Take?
Wedding photos will likely take longer than you think. If you get lucky and everything goes smoothly, so much the better. Build in a little buffer, though, and you’ll thank yourself when the time comes.
If you don’t have a photographer on standby the entire time, make sure you allow at least an hour for wedding photos. If you can swing it, booking 90 minutes to two hours is better, though that’s likely best served for pre-ceremony photo sessions. If you are on a time crunch, use a wedding day timeline so you and your photographer can stay on the same page and get all the pictures you’ve been dreaming about!
How Much Should I Spend on Wedding Photos?
A good photographer is worth the money. This is a bit of a regional question and will vary depending on the photographer’s expertise and availability. For a ballpark number, though, expect it to be around $2,000. Yes, that’s a bunch of money. If you were wondering, that’s just a bit over 1,117 chicken burritos from Taco Bell. Seriously, we did the math.
A wedding photographer is something you want to be saving for well in advance. A good photographer armed with talent and a very fancy-looking camera will offer you lifelong memories. Your Aunt Janet — with her cracked smartphone screen and good intentions — will not. Pay the money.
Must-Have Wedding Photos
Yes, you also want the basic couple’s shots, but we figured that one was a given. Solo shots are a ton of fun because each of you gets to showcase your unique personality. If you coordinate, you can get a set of solo shots that’ll work well on the mantel or something equally fun, but it’s up to you.
Here’s a classic choice. This one works equally well for the bride and groom. Throwing on cufflinks, doing makeup, getting pumped up by your groomsmen. These will all make fun, memorable shots, no matter how hungover you may be.
Yes, this one seems obvious. However, you have lots of room for creativity. Whether it’s the classic hand-on-hand shot showing off the bride’s diamond wedding ring, or a solo shot of the Groom’s tungsten wedding band in the box for the very last time, the symbolism of the rings is what makes this a quintessential must-have wedding photo.
If solo shots show off your individual quirks, these are the shots that define your personality as a couple and how you two fit together. This is separate from the classic couple shot because it’s a little less serious and formal.
Photos of the Venue
Here’s another classic: the empty venue, especially when shot from the back of the aisle. While a full venue also makes for a great shot, there’s something somber and reflective about the empty venue.
Tons of flexibility on this one. If you’ve got a huge family, it’ll probably make for a great (albeit chaotic) shot to get everyone in the picture. You can also go much smaller or make specific groupings — for example, just the siblings, parents, all the cousins, etc.
This is sure to be a tear-jerker. First-look shots are especially good if you’re processing up the aisle together. Even if you aren’t, you can do a pair of first-look shots from each perspective.
Ever seen those photos where the couple is back to back, maybe holding hands? That shot just before the first look can be just as magical, and it’s easy to capture the excitement in the air.
The Table Settings
Simple photos of the place cards, empty tables, or the reception venue in general, really. This is especially cool if you’ve got a really unique venue you want to capture in your photos.
Another obvious one, but still. Standard photos of the vows, first kiss, leaving the venue together, etc. They’re classics for a reason.
A good wedding cake deserves to be immortalized. Whether it’s a photo of just the cake or maybe the cake cutting itself is up to you. Both work well.
This might be better as a video, but a photo will still do this moment justice. You definitely want the moment where it’s just the two of you on the dance floor with all the other guests hanging back.
Reception Photos in General
This really only works if you’ve booked a photographer for the entire event, but can bring out some great candids. There’s no wrong way of going about this one, so give your photographer carte blanche to do what they do best.
Your wedding day is going to go by in a whirlwind, and you won’t be able to remember every little detail. A good photographer costs money, but that extra set of eyes behind the camera is going to be entirely worth it when you look back years later.