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Must-take wedding photos

Jan. 1, 2013 at 12:00 AM ET

What's the secret to fabulous wedding photos? Capturing just the right moments. We've put together our top wedding photo ideas for your big day! Taking wedding photos and adding this collection of memories will be different for every bride, but use this list as a starting point. From candids to formal portraits, black-and-white to color, your options are more open than ever, so take advantage! Skim through our wedding photo ideas below -- then bring the print-and-go guide to your first meeting with your photographer. As with all of your wedding vendors, your results will be much better if you discuss your expectations ahead of time.

Getting Ready

  • Bride's dress on the hanger or over a chair
  • Close-up of bride's shoes
  • Close-up of bride's bouquet
  • Bride in curlers or having makeup applied
  • Bridesmaids applying their makeup
  • Bride putting on garter
  • Mom and/or bridesmaids helping the bride arrange her dress, bustle the train, etc.
  • Close-up of dress details
  • Bride together with bridesmaids
  • Bride hugging mom
  • Flower girl(s) ready to go
  • Mom or bridesmaids putting finishing touches on bride, adding the veil, etc.
  • Bride spending moment alone, thinking quietly, praying or looking out the window
  • Full-length shot of bride all dressed and ready to go
  • Groom putting on tie
  • Groom with groomsmen
  • Ring bearer ready to go
  • Groom with dad, hugging or whispering advice
  • Bride and groom separately getting in the car, limo or cab

Ceremony

  • Groom looking out the window, waiting for the bride to arrive
  • Car arriving with bride
  • Bride stepping out of the car
  • Wide shot of ceremony space from the back
  • Guests arriving (especially if they're using special transportation like a shuttle bus, boat or even escalator)Ushers helping grandparents and special guests to their seats
  • Front and back shots of flower girl/ring bearer walking down the aisle
  • Close up of details (guest book, pew decorations, etc.)
  • Groom and groomsmen waiting nervously for bride to walk down aisle
  • Guests sitting down, waiting for ceremony to start
  • Bridesmaids walking down the aisle
  • Wedding party standing at the altar
  • Bride just before walking down the aisle
  • Back shot of bride (and escort) beginning to walk down the aisle
  • Full-frontal shot of bride (and escort) walking down the aisle
  • Close-up of groom's face when he sees bride for the first time (this can be done earlier, if photos are done before the ceremony)
  • Back shot of bride and groom together at the altar with officiant between them
  • Shot focusing on bridesmaids' bouquets, lined up as they hold them at the altar
  • Close-up of each hand as the rings are exchanged
  • Close-up of bride's face, as seen over the groom's shoulder
  • Close-up of groom's face, as seen over the bride's shoulder
  • Shot of both sets of parents' faces as they witness ceremony
  • The kiss
  • Happy couple walking back down the aisle together, as married couple
  • Guests getting ready to shower the couple with well wishes (and bubbles, birdseed, etc.) as they leave
  • Bride and groom walking out of ceremony space, hand-in-hand

Before the Reception

During the cocktail hour (These can be taken before the ceremony)

  • Full shot of bride and groom together, smiling
  • Full shot of bride and groom hugging
  • Full shot of bride and groom kissing
  • Bride being lifted or carried by groom or sitting on groom's lap
  • Close-up of couples' faces as bride is lifted, carried or sitting on groom's lap
  • Bride with her parents
  • Groom with his parents
  • Bride with groom's parents
  • Groom with bride's parents
  • Bride with bridesmaids
  • Groom with groomsmen
  • Bride with groomsmen
  • Group shot of bride, groom, family and wedding party
  • Groom leaning up against a wall with bride in front of him, kissing
  • Bride and groom walking toward the camera, holding hands
  • Bride and groom walking away from camera, holding hands
  • Bride and groom looking off in the same direction together

Reception

  • Close-up of details (place settings, name cards, etc.)Close-up of centerpieces
  • Wide shot of entire room before everyone arrives, even better if taken from above
  • Any special moments during the receiving line process
  • Bride and groom's first dance
  • Groom dipping bride
  • Bride dancing with her dad -- close-up of her face as seen over his shoulder
  • Groom dancing with his mom
  • Close-up of cake
  • Bride showing her new ring to the guests
  • Bride and groom hugging guests, close-ups of faces
  • Best man (or other guests) making a toast to the couple
  • Bride and groom's faces as they listen to the toast(s)Guests smiling and clapping
  • Guests dancing and cutting loose on the dance floor. (Tip: Ask for a slow shutter speed to get a blurry/focused effect)Wide shot of entire room after guests arrive, even better if taken from above
  • Close-ups of guests' faces, laughing and having a great time -- lots of these
  • Groups of friends sitting together at their table or dancing
  • Bride and groom whispering to each other
  • Parents (or even better, grandparents) dancing
  • Kids dancing or playing around
  • Close-up of band or DJ
  • Bride and groom cutting the cake
  • Bride and groom feeding each other
  • Bride and groom in back seat of getaway car
  • Back of car as it drives away

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