As a wedding photographer that has been capturing weddings for almost a decade now, I’m acutely aware of the importance of having good wedding photography done. Everyone has their own idea of what the most important wedding photos you should have captured, but it takes a keen idea and a creative mindset to really think about when and where these situations are going to occur. These are the sorts of shots that evoke emotion in the viewer after the day has ended, the shots you smile and laugh at, or cry thinking about and they happen all day long. The most important wedding photos to capture in my mind are the memories you’ll cherish forever and even look back on, so I’ve decided to put together a little bit of a list to answer the question of ‘What are the most important wedding photos on a wedding day?’ starting right from the beginning of the day.
What are the most important wedding photos on a wedding day?
There are dozens of lists of wedding photos you ‘need’ to have done around the internet, titled like ’87 Wedding Photo Ideas You Definitely Need to Capture’ or ’20 Must-Have Photos on Your Wedding Day’ but really having a list like them and then meticulously ticking each one off on a wedding day just increases tension and stress when it should be a moment in your life where you can be youself with the person you love. I feel as though wedding photography is more about the showcasing of the coming together of two separate personalities into one union, and I capture this by considering all the moments on a day I know is going to happen through experience. I have made a list of some general photos I know will always be treasured, written and explaied in a way that doesnt force you to ‘do this’ or ‘take a shot of the sunset through the veil so that you can see the hairs on the tip of your nose prickup when you kiss’. More moments in time that I’m considering as a natural wedding photographer – not something you should worry about 🙂
My list of most important wedding photos on a wedding day
The invitations and other homemade knickknacks
If there’s anything that would cause you stress like nothing else, only to forget about what you were stressing about the day after your wedding – it’s all the personal and handmade details you came up with for your decor on your wedding day. All the more reason why to capture them in photographs for you to actually remember what you were stressing about leading up to the day!
Similar to the made made knickknacks, the accessories you’ve picked out for both yourself and your partner are items you spent painstaking time stressing over – but are perhaps the ones you won’t forget, but are pretty anyway so deserve a photo 😛
Leading up to your wedding ceremony is a time of day you’re likely to completely forget if it werent for your wedding photos due to the emotions you’re feeling and simply because it’s just before the biggest moment of your life, soyour mind will completely wipe the part before it in your memory. It’s als the last moments of time you aren’t ‘connected’ to your spouse, so it’s a nice way to remember the last moments you’re not married 🙂
Moments showing personality
Capturing the essence of the personalities of the couple in front of me is the absolute essence of what modern wedding photography is all about to me. If I can show an album of a wedding they hadn’t attended to someone, and they can tell me a little about the people involved, that means I’ve done my job in capturing the emotion and ‘story’ of a wedding day in my photography.
Weddings are full of traditions. One of these is having a portrait done – they don’t have to look like you’re manniquins, but they are expected in a wedding album, just as a nice simple photo documenting what you and everyone involved looked like on your wedding day. These photos are often the ones people keep as hairlooms, so they may be the most important wedding photos on a wedding day.
Items that wont last
Often you’ll have items at a wedding that are used only once and after that they are discarded. Just as you stressed over your accessories, homeae things, etc. These items need to be documented too.
The bridesmaids and groomsmen
Probably the most important people in your life – as you’d want them right next to you for support as you make the biggest desicion of your life. Of course you’d want photos of them!
Parent’s first look
This is always a fun part of the day – perhaps geared more towards the bridal side of things, but it’s always nice to see the reaction on the faces of you parents once you’ve been dressed and are ready to make the plunge. It’s traditional for the father of the bride to not see the dress fitted on the bride until her wedding day, so it’s nice to get that reaction 🙂
Running on from the father of the bride first seeing the bride once she’s fully dressed, it’s then tradition for them to walk together down the aisle towards the wedding ceremony. While weddings have evolved over the years and everyone does their own thing, this is possibly still the most followed tradition.
Groom’s first look
Just as the father of the bride gets to see her all dressed up for the first time, then it’s the groom’s turn as they walk down the aisle. It’s always great fun to see how the groom will react! Sometimes they are smiling, others in tears, and occasionally they can only look everywhere BUT their bride! 😀
The venue is the backdrop to your entire day, and you’ve probably spent a fortune getting it to look exactly how you dreamed it would. It’s important to capture it just as it is on your day. WHo knows? perhaps you’ll revisit the spot in 50 years with your great grandkids and reminice with that photo in your hand?
Emotion during the ceremony
Weddings are an emotional time in your life – the laughter, the tears and smiles are all moments pure of your feelings on the day, and during the ceremony you’re probably only thinking about the person you’re holding hands with! These photos are the type of shots that make you remember that moment in a way that you simply would not be able to otherwise.
The first kiss
Perhaps the most traditional of traditional wedding photography – the first kiss. The first kiss symbolises your union as a married couple and marks the beginning of your life together. Although this doesnt happen at all ceremonies – in particular the Catholic tradition.
Emotion after the ceremony
These are the hugs and kisses, along with the exchanging of gift horse-shoes and knickknacks that guests would place on your arm, or your dress depending on your tradition. Your guests are these as you deemed them important enough in your life for you to invite, so having a photo of them showing actual emotion I feel is more imporatant than the usual ‘stare at the camera’ group shots you might usually get from your guests.
The exit of the bride and groom as they walk back down the aisle can be one of the most iconic shots from your day, and it can also be a disaster 😛 It’s one of those shots on a wedding day everyone expects to get, but circumstances mean that it’s just not possible unless you make plans for it. Often it’s the case that guests will be swamping the bride and groom for hugs, which means that they are separated from one another when they should be together walking down the aisle. But all that being said, when it is planned and the flower petals are flowing, the shot can be spectacular.
The ‘pin ups’
These are the shots you print and frame on your wall. The ‘money’ shots, or pinups – the reason why you chose your venue!
The bridal party
Usually around the same time as the ‘pin up’ shot we’d also do a nice bridal party shot with both sides of the aisle now together in a big group shot.
The elderly members of your wedding congregation have seen you and your family members grow up – they know the hardships and challenges you’ve gone through to get to this point in life, and they would be feeling emotions within that simply cannot be explained unless you’re a grandparent or elderly youself. Weddings are about families coming together, and remembering who was there with you on your day. When you think about it that way, photos of your elderly guests can be most important wedding photos on a wedding day. The elderly with on on your day may not reach your 20th anniversary, so it’s really nice to have a nice photo of them happy to be at your wedding.
The young ones
Similar to the elderly, the young ones probably wont remember that well what hapopened on your day, and from your perspective, it’s nice to have photos of them while they were still little and cute. Kids can really make a wedding day that much more special with them running about doing kids stuff, it’s nice to have them involved.
The decor at the reception
Much like all the other stuff you’ve stressed over for the last 6 months, the decor at your reception is only going to be set up like this for your night, then will never look as good again – so I need a photo!
The design of your wedding cake, and it’s topper represents your combined personalities and taste. It’s a beacon to your guests about how you guys see yourselves as a couple. And they also look amazing, so I need a photo 🙂
The tradition of the first dance at a wedding dates back to the 16th century when aristocats of Europe would begin their party with a display of their finery by starting the dance before their guests. These days it’s because a romantic notion that the first dance represents the first steps along the life together as a married couple.
Your parents have seen you grow up from a little baby to the person you are standing with your loved one on your day. The emotion they are feeling watching you get married can be overwhelming and having that captured in a photo is a treasure that cannot be reproduced.