The Must-Have Shots on Your Wedding Day – Part 2

By Savan Crutchfield /
the must-have shots at your wedding part 2

You’ve read all of the must-have shots leading up to your big moment (if you haven’t seen it yet, catch up here!). Now we come to the ceremony.  I get as many details of the site as possible.

The must have photos on your wedding day: ceremony site

Here are my must-have shots to capture at the ceremony.

  1. The florals and empty ceremony site by itself from the front view and profile angles, and the welcome signage
  2. The standard wedding party walking to and from the ceremony
  3. The groom walking down the aisle and the bride walking down the aisle
  4. The groom’s expression seeing the bride walk down the aisle
  5. Exchange of father and bride the groom
  6. Wide of the ceremony
  7. Parents and wedding party
  8. The vows and ring exchange, or any other ceremony exchange
  9. The first kiss
  10. The final walk down the aisle with the guests in the background

My favorite time of the wedding day is the romantic portraits of the bride and groom during golden hour.  This part, in my opinion, is where I can get the most creative and alone time with the couple and they are much more relaxed and less stressed as the hard part is over.

First and foremost I will also scout out where the best light is and only take THE most important images from the wedding, which I believe are their portraits in good, clean light.

All brides and planners love the pretty images of all the thoughtful and meaningful details for their wedding, right? So I make sure I get all the details of the cocktail hour and reception.

The must have photos on your wedding day: reception

I think food and drinks are very important to photograph because, at times, it’s created for the day. So I love to document a dozen of those images. Florals on the cocktail tables and of guest mingling.

Where all the detail lies is at the reception and table setting.  I love seeing the bride’s vision come to life.

Here are the moments to capture when it comes to reception details:

  1. All the signage from the seating chart, table numbers, menus, special notes or letters and the cake with all its details
  2. Wide and people-free shots of the reception, bridal or head table and sweetheart table in a variety of angles
  3. Place setting for the bride and groom from all different angles
  4. Florals and table arrangements (forks, glasses, candles, plates) from all angles (my favorite is the top view!)
  5. Close-ups of chairs and even how the linens hang. The more detail the bride has on the table the more opportunity for beautiful images.

The must have photos on your wedding day: reception details

Grand Entrances, this is where candid images and less posey begins. I start with the classic images of all the couples doing their dances, but my must-have is, of course, the bride and groom walking into their reception as a married couple.

As an artist, I want to photograph these images as they are and as they happen through my lens.

As much as I love the straight on shots, I love the angles from the guests and head table point of views. When composing this way, it gives the image so much more dimension and interest.

The must have photos on your wedding day: bride and groom send off

Yes, there are the industry standard must-have shots, but the most important is that the line of communication is clear with the couple on what images, and how many images, they should expect for an 8-hour wedding day (I average 75-100 photos an hour).

Here’s a helpful tip: I carry a shot list personalized to all my couples. Throughout the wedding day I, or my 2nd shooter, will cross out all my must-have photos to ensure we captured them all. This list helps to stay organized and, let’s face it, this list is a great reminder to not forget any of the important images that the bride and groom expect.


About the Author

I am Savan, a modern fine art film wedding and portrait photographer living in the golden light state of California, Orange County to be exact. When I am not off photographing and witnessing couples saying their “I Do’s”, you can find me with my two young daughters and my husband, cooking or off on our next traveling adventures. I love the outdoors, wine, coffee, (ok mostly wine) with a love affair of having great food and even better friends around me.