Bride and groom popping champagne at the Santa Barbara Courthouse

Must Have Wedding Photo List

When it comes to wedding photos, the options can seem overwhelming.  Knowing who to take photos with and who to leave out isn’t something that comes naturally to most people.  Over the years, I’ve learned which pictures matter the most and how to make sure those images end up in your photo gallery. 

Spoiler alert…not everyone gets to have a one-on-one photo with the bride.  And that’s okay! 

Photos With The Bride And Groom

Everyone who is invited to your wedding has a special place in your life.  It’s amazing that we are so fortunate to have so many loving and supportive people around us.  However, if you were to take pictures with every single guest at your wedding, dinner would never be served.  But don’t worry.  I’ve got a way to make this happen later on. 

To keep the day flowing smoothly, I recommend taking pictures with immediate family only.  This means grandparents, parents and siblings.  No aunts, uncles, cousins or close family friends. 

Wedding Party Photos

The wedding party is special when it comes to photos.  I always take the time to make sure the groom gets a photo with each groomsman and the bride gets a photo with each bridesmaid.  These are the people you chose to surround you on your wedding day and I know how important they are to you.  Besides, they would be deeply offended if they weren’t treated to special photos with you!  As they should be! 

Wedding party photos usually only take about 15 minutes, so it’s not a huge chunk of time on your wedding day. 

bridesmaids tending to the bride before the wedding ceremony

Guest Photos

Guests want photos with the bride and groom.  There’s no denying that.  On a wedding day, there just isn’t time for every single person to get a photo with the newlyweds, but there are some ways to get around those time constraints. 

grand ballroom at Villa Loriana

Table Photos

One way that’s worked well at some weddings I’ve photographed is to have the bride and groom visit each table and have a picture taken as a group.  This works well for large weddings when there’s a bit of time between the meal and the cake cutting.  It also is great for looking back on in 20 years to remember who was at your wedding.

wedding quests on the dance floor

Large Group Photo

A really fun way to make sure you get a photo of everyone who attended your wedding is have a group photo taken.  This would be a single photo of everyone present.  It works great when the photographer can stand on a balcony looking down on the crowd.  This is also a super fun photo to include in a thank you card or even frame and put on your wall. 

Bride and groom dancing in the grand ballroom at villa loriana

Guest of Honor Spotlight

This method takes a little more time, but works well for small weddings.  The idea is that the bride and groom sit in the middle of the room (or on a stage) and anyone who would like a photo with them can come up and get one.  Some couples will set aside 30 minutes for this and have the DJ announce the event. 

With the guest of honor spotlight photos, I’ve seen guests really open up and have fun with the bride and groom.  This is when your relationship with the guests can really shine through.  Since these are not formal portraits and they are done during the reception, the pressure to stand just right or have that perfect smile just doesn’t exist. 

These might be my favorite guest photos because people are really just having fun.  The best part is that no one has to have their picture taken…if they don’t want to come up to you for a picture, they don’t have to.  I don’t need to interrupt anyone’s meal or get a picture of someone with food in their teeth.  This is something that your guests decide to do when they are ready.  It’s the perfect balance, in my opinion. 

bride and groom celebrating as they walk back down the aisle
wedding invitation with flowers and greenery

Photo List

No matter what most people do or don’t do, remember that this is YOUR wedding.  I love it when couples get creative with their photo lists and have fun.  Just because most couples do things a certain way doesn’t mean that you need to do things that way too.  As in every aspect of your wedding, your priorities become my priorities and I am so happy to get the photos that you and your family will treasure forever. 

After all, when will everyone get together like this again?  And when will you have a professional photographer there to document it all?  You might as well take advantage of it while you can.  That’s what I’m there for. 

Wedding Photo List

If you’d like to know what my standard wedding photo list looks like, here it is.  This is the starting place for all my photo lists and after working with the bride and groom, I refine the list to be exactly what they want, removing family members that won’t be there and adding any family and friends that should be included in the formal portraits.    

Bride’s Side

Bride & Groom, grandparents, parents, siblings

Bride & Groom, grandparents

Bride & Groom, parents, siblings

Bride & Groom, siblings

Bride & Groom, parents

Bride, parents, siblings

Bride, siblings

Bride, parents

Bride, mom

Bride, dad

Groom’s Side

Bride & Groom, grandparents, parents, siblings

Bride & Groom, grandparents

Bride & Groom, parents, siblings

Bride & Groom, siblings

Bride & Groom, parents

Groom, parents, siblings

Groom, siblings

Groom, parents

Groom, mom

Groom, dad

Wedding Party

Bride & Groom with full wedding party

Bride with groomsmen

Groom with groomsmen

Groom with each groomsman individually

Groom with bridesmaids

Bride with bridesmaids

Bride with each bridesmaid individually

Bride and groom in a field under and oak tree at spanish oaks ranch

Real Wedding Inspiration

See a wedding at Spanish Oaks Ranch.

arched stone bridge

Terra Mia

Looking for a wedding venue? Terra Mia in Paso Robles is a favorite for sure!

View of the Santa Barbara Courthouse from the Sunken Gardens

Santa Barbara Courthouse

Learn more about the Santa Barbara Courthouse and how to get married there.

wedding dress hanging from a tree

How to Share Photos

I’m sharing some of my favorite ways for couples to share their wedding photos with guests.

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