40 “Must-Have” Wedding Pictures

Are there really 40 “must-have” wedding pictures? There is no one format for every wedding.  Every wedding is different.  But what I have learned, beyond the fact that weddings are different, I’ve also learned that weddings are similar. 

Most of my brides want to put their own stamp on their day and it is beautiful and I love it so much, but also most weddings follow similar patterns.  I would say 90% of them.  I know, it’s crazy!  After shooting weddings for 18 years, literally HUNDREDS of them, of all different religions, ethnicities, beliefs and personalities in all different parts of the country, this is what I have found that my couples want from me.  The unique-ness is in the special moments and details of the day.  This is the beauty that I look for and capture.

The List

When I first started my own photography business, I had a bride email me a TEN page list of her must-have pictures.  This was back in probably 2008 or 2009.  I took that list to the wedding and spent the entire day with my face in that list.  Using ZERO creativity, capturing no special moments because she created none.   She was basing her entire wedding day on a list she found in a wedding magazine.  Only getting the images on this list, like “mother holding brides hand after she puts the dress on.”  This image and many on the list were not natural to them, they were awkward. 

After I came home and looked through the files there was nothing that I was proud of.  Nothing was “Mollie Jane” and definitely nothing that was unique to this bride’s day.  And, from that moment I have never accepted a list (except for the family portraits, click HERE to view my advice on family portraits).

Sometimes a bride (or groom) have a really specific picture, or a few even, that they want and I will ABSOLUTELY give them that picture!  We get that shot!!  We just do not go off of a “list”.

How to create “unique-ness”

I have been able to sit down and I thought back on my 18 years of weddings and created a list that a great portion of the final wedding galleries include.  This is definitely not an exhaustive list and not every wedding requires every picture on this list, but it can give you an idea of images that you will definitely get from Mollie Jane Photography.  And this framework can spawn amazing memories and distinctive images.

How many images will be delivered in your final gallery?  About 75-100 images per hour.  For a 9-hour wedding that is, minimum  675 images.  That is minimum!  It is usually more, closer to 800-900 images for a 9-hour wedding.  Edited and delivered.  So, this is only 40 of those 800-900 images!  Your wedding day happens in the moments, in the in-between and it is beautiful and unique.

A great use for this list is to help create your wedding day timeline!  Beyond that, trust your photographer.  Trust their experience, experience matters. 

This wedding at The Farmhouse in Montgomery, Texas is a great example of creating your unique moments through your keystone moments or A.K.A “list” pictures!

Mollie Jane “Must-Have” Wedding Pictures

1. Mother/Friend/Family member buttoning Bride’s dress

2. Bride putting on jewelry

3. Dress hanging on a special hanger

4. Detail shot of wedding bands/engagement ring

5. Bridal Details

6. Invitation

7. Groom Details

8. Portrait of Bride

9. Portrait of Groom

10. First Look/First Touch

11. Alternate First Looks (father/bridesmaids, etc)

12. Bride and groom with bridal party

13. Bride with Bridesmaids

14. Bride with each bridesmaid

15. Detail shot of bride and bridesmaid’s bouquets

16. Groom with Groomsmen

17. Groom with each groomsman

18. Wide shot of the wedding venue

19. Bride walking down the aisle

20. Groom waiting for the bride

21. Bride and groom at the alter

22. Wide shot of bride and groom at the alter

23. Special moments during the ceremony (readings/unity ceremony)

24. Bride and groom exchanging vows/rings

25. The kiss

26. The recessional

27. All Family Pictures on their family portrait list

28. Bride and groom portrait

29. Veil shot

30. Movement shot (walking/dancing)

31. Centerpieces and reception details

32. Cake/dessert table

33. Wide shot of empty reception room

34. Toasts with reactions

35. First dance

36. Father/daughter dance

37. Mother/son dance

38. Dancing/party pictures

39. Reception moments (cake cut/anniversary dance/money dance/shoe game, bouquet/garter, etc)

40. Exit

Check out this Galveston elopement, how these “must-have” wedding pictures were used and modified to the uniqueness of their day.


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