10 must-have wedding photos

05 Jun 2017

Sending a photographer a shot list is a useful way to make sure you get the photos you want. If you need some inspiration, take a look at this list of 10 must-have shots

Photos create lasting memories of a wedding for the happy couple, as they capture unique moments that can bring the emotions and feelings of the day flooding back even years later.

Whilst posed family photos are still on the list of things to capture, they’ve been overtaken by a number of must-have Instagram-inspired photos, as brides aim to inspire others with their creative ideas.

QHotels’ expert wedding coordinator, Andrew Foster, has compiled a list of the 10 must-have pictures based on his experience.  These top tips will help brides and grooms prepare their wedding photo checklist in advance, ensuring they don’t miss a single moment.

1. Getting ready

Getting ready is a special part of the big day to look back on as it reminds couples of the intimate and personal time spent with their closest friends and family before the arrival of any guests. 

And, as bridal parties opt for matching dressing gowns and accessories in true Pinterest style, the moment now makes for really beautiful photo opportunities of the coordinated wedding party. 

We always advise couples to ask their photographers to arrive early, to capture those behind-the-scenes moments of joy and laughter like these matching bridesmaids shared.


Photo credit: Neil Jackson

2. The gown

There’s no doubt that the wedding dress is the star of the show on the big day and we’re seeing plenty of show-stopping photos of bridal gowns before the wedding, so the bride can remember what it was like seeing it for the first time.

One of the more traditional photos is of the dress hung from a wardrobe door, mirror or window but, for something more creative, we’ve seen closer shots of the detail on a particular element of the dress, such as a lace neckline.

Another quirky photo trend is to capture the dress surrounded by nature or against a floral backdrop. 


Photo credit: Nick Pumphrey

3. The shoes

Shoes are becoming a key item of the bridal attire and focus for wedding photography.

We’re seeing brides get creative with shoes, wearing converse, wellies or customised shoes hidden under the dress. We’ve even had brides with messages or prints on the sole of their shoe to communicate a romantic or funny message. 


Photo credit: Chiyo McMillan

4. First look

There are so many ‘first looks’ to capture, from the moment the father of the bride sees his daughter in her dress for the first time, to when guests see the bridesmaids walking down the aisle.

Couples should ensure their photographer is prepared and ideally positioned to capture each of these special moments throughout the day. They also need to know who the key people are, so that they can move around accordingly to get the best photos.

One particular trend for first look photos is incorporating different relationships and emotions, such as a father giving his daughter away and a groom seeing his wife-to-be. 


Photo credit: Aden Priest

5. Confetti

A gentle flutter of confetti has always been a key photo, but Instagram and Pinterest have taken the iconic shot to the next level, with flurries of confetti used to create a full-on action shot or close up.

Speak with your wedding venue in advance to find out the best spots for confetti photos and, for full effect, leave a bag of confetti on each seat to ensure the guests have it to hand on the day.


Photo credit: Nick Pumphrey

6. Wedding stationery 

Stationery shots are an increasingly important element of the wedding photography and a great way of showing off a chosen style or theme.

We’ve seen wedding stationery, such as menus, guest name cards and favours, carefully positioned side by side on table place settings in the popular ‘unpackaging’ style made famous on Instagram, YouTube and with bloggers.


Photo credit: Neil Jackson

7. Perfect kiss

Possibly the most emotional photo of them all - the kiss. 

We’ve seen this done in so many romantic ways, both inside and outside of our venues. Some of the most creative shots have been outside in the rain with the bride and groom under an umbrella or with fireworks as a striking backdrop. These types of shots are best achieved away from all the guests in a private area in the grounds of the venue.

We’re seeing more and more brides and grooms taking advantage of the scenery on offer in the grounds of their venue.


Photo credit: Chiyo McMillan

8. The cake

We’re increasingly seeing shots of the cake on its own, such as on top of a wooden table for a rustic wedding theme.

For those opting for an unusual choice of cake, such as a cheese masterpiece, naked cake or stack of pancakes, they should consider a quirky choice of angle or close-up shot to capture it in all its glory. 


9. Bridal portrait

For many brides, the wedding is the culmination of months of prep, so they want to know they’ll have plenty of pictures of them in their gown to look back to.

Plus, a posed shot worthy of a fashion magazine can make brides feel extra-special as a model for the day.

If the dress has a train or a puddle, the best way to achieve this photo is from behind with the back of the dress perfectly laid out to capture any embellishments and lace detail.

Shots like this are typically taken earlier on in the day, but it’s essential for brides to speak with their wedding venue about the best time, particularly if they’re hoping to incorporate sunsets or particular areas of the venue into the background.


Photo credit: Neil Jackson

10. First dance

Perhaps one of the most memorable aspects of the wedding, the first dance is something all couples should include in their wedding photo checklist.

The photographer should have a good view of the couple during this time, to photograph the twists and turns as they move across the dance floor. We think photos taken from above offer a particularly magical look.


Photo credit: Aden Priest

Have you taken any creative wedding photos? Enter them into QHotels’ Wedding Photo Awards, a national search for Britain’s best wedding photos. For more information, visit the website.

Related content

supplier finder

Get a quote

Looking for that perfect local supplier?
Let us know what you need and we’ll start looking for you.

supplier finder

Find a supplier

Search over 200,000 Suppliers in the UK.



Everything for your wedding

Wedding Photo of the Week: Jessica Reynolds Photography

Each week we’re inviting all wedding photographers to submit their images to be Bri...

11 unique and unusual wedding gift ideas

Ask your guests to give you these quirky and personalised wedding gifts  ...

How to manage hay fever on your wedding day

Kick hay fever to the curb on your wedding day with this guide to managing your symptoms ...

The best wedding dresses for your body shape

If you don't know where to start when searching for your dream wedding dress, consider st...

9 expert tips for buying a bespoke engagement ring

How to ensure you stay on budget and on brief when buying a bespoke engagement ring ...

Looking for that perfect local supplier?
Let us know what you need and we’ll start looking for you.

the wedding show