So what does a photographer do on your wedding day? That's an amazing question. Well, this blog goes through what the day looks like from eyes (or our lenses, rather). Keep in mind that everyone's day looks different, and can be customized according to what works best for them. This is just based on what I've seen, and what I've noticed over the years.

The Morning

Getting Started

Normally, we start during the tail end of getting ready. That usually means when the makeup and hair is almost done. This gives us time to come in, start detail shots, and get acquainted with the getting ready location so that we can start planning for getting ready shots. The lead and second photographer will usually cover one person each, especially in situations when couples are getting ready in separate locations.


Detail shots are capturing the subtle accents you've chosen, including:

  • Stationery such as invitation, program, special signs, & gifts
  • Wedding and engagement rings
  • Wedding dress and veil
  • Suits and bow ties
  • Outfit accessories like shoes, cuff links, or jewelry
  • Bouquet, corsages, boutonnieres

Pro Tip: Put some of these items aside beforehand so you don't have to look for them on the morning of. Find a nice place to keep your clothes, stationery, and other details. Don't put these on until your photographer comes so we can document it!

Getting Ready

Getting ready shots are a beautiful way to capture the anticipation - the moments before the couple sees each other for the first time, or before the big day begins. It's a great time to get photos with the couple's closest friends and family, or even on their own. This often happens in a hotel or event space, or someone's home.

Some of the shots will include:

  • Couple solo shots
  • Process shots of getting ready, including dresses, suits, bowties, shoes, jewellery, etc.
  • Bridal party and family photos
  • Reaction photos of bridesmaids, groomsmen, or parents
  • Candids

First Look & Portraits

First Look

I love a first look – whether it’s down the aisle, or separate. When doing a first look separately, I like to pick out a nice location where the couple can arrive separately. The types of shots will just include the before, during, and I like to do a few portraits after. You can also decide whether you want your family or bridal party there, or if you’d like it to be private with just the two of you (and us, of course).


Your portrait session can be at any time that you choose! I usually like to do it after the first look because normally I do some portraits right after first look anyway. However, it can be at any time you choose. Usually 45 mins to an hour is enough for the portrait session, but I would always try to schedule some buffer time and travel time.

Bridal Party

Make sure to schedule some time for bridal party portraits! I normally like to add it on to the portrait session, normally about a half hour is fine, or an hour and a half for the full bridal party and portrait session. We’ll do the following:

  •      Group shots with the full bridal party
  •      Separate bridal party shots (each side)
  •      Individual shots for you and each member of the bridal party

Feel free to come with ideas for your bridal party photos, and you can let me know if you have ideas to let your personalities shine.

Family & Friends Photos

Be sure to set some time for your family photos and friend photos. I usually like to do this right after the ceremony because everyone is there, seated, and easy to call up for photos. This is also when you’ll see most of them for the first time. It’s really helpful to come up with a list of people you’d like to have photos with prior to your wedding day. This ensures a couple things:

  1. You get photos with everyone (very helpful for thank you cards)
  2.    People try to pull you throughout the day for photos all the time – if you’re on a tight schedule it helps to reassure them that they’ll get their photos
  3. It helps organize people – trying to organize people on the day of can be hectic

Pro tip: Try to designate one person to call up these groups, including the names of these people – preferably someone who knows these people. We do our best, but we don’t know what Auntie Suzanne looks like, and we might not know if someone is missing or if we have the right folks in the photo.

Be sure to include all the permutations and arrangements of groups that you want. Here’s an example list to start with (feel free to copy and paste this for later - but remember to add names to your list:

Parents Wedding Photo List
1. Couple + Partner One’s Parents
2. Partner One + Partner One’s Parents
3. Partner One + Each Parent Separately
4. Partner One + Parent + Stepparent, if applicable
5. Couple + Partner Two’s Parents
6. Partner Two + Partner Two’s Parents
7. Partner Two + Each Parent Separately
8. Partner Two + Parent + Stepparent, if applicable
9. Couple + Both Sets of Parents
10. Couple + Both Sets of Parents + Stepparent

Siblings Wedding Photo List
11. Couple + Partner One's Siblings
12. Partner One + Partner One’s Sister(s)
13. Partner One’s + Partner One’s Brother(s)
14. Couple + Partner One’s Parents + Partner One’s Siblings
15. Couple + Partner Two’s Siblings
16.Partner Two +Partner Two’s Sister(s)
17.Partner Two + Partner Two’s Brother(s)
18. Couple + Partner Two’s Parents + Partner Two’s Siblings
19. Couple + All Parents + Siblings

20. Couple + Partner One’s Grandparents
21. Partner One + Partner One’s Grandma(s)
22. Partner One + Partner One’s Grandpa(s)
23. Couple + Partner Two’s Grandparents
24. Partner Two + Partner Two’s Grandma(s)
25. Partner Two + Partner Two’s Grandpa(s)
26. Couple + All Grandparents
27. Couple + Partner One’s Parents + Partner One’s Siblings + Partner One’s Grandparents
28. Couple + Partner Two’s Parents + Partner Two’s Siblings + Partner Two’s Grandparents
29. Couple + All Parents, Siblings, and Grandparents

Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins Wedding Photo List
30. Couple + Partner One’s Parents + Partner One’s Siblings + Partner One’s Grandparents + Partner One’s Aunt(s) + Partner One’s Uncle(s) + Partner One’s Cousins
31. Couple + Partner Two’s Parents + Partner Two’s Siblings + Partner Two’s Grandparents + Partner Two’s Aunt(s) + Partner Two’s Uncle(s) + Partner Two’s Cousins
 Couple with any pets
Family friends
High school friends
College friends
Work friends
Generation photos


Ceremony Details

Between your portraits, first look photos and before your ceremony, make sure you leave a little time for yourself to take a break and get ready for the ceremony. This is perfect timing for us photographers to go in the ceremony space and take photos of the details before guests arrive. Photos can include the following:

  • Wide shot of ceremony space
  • Welcome signs
  • Chairs and runners
  • Flowers and arches
  • Signing tables
  • Any other details that make your ceremony space unique and special to you!


The ceremony shots are to document the special moments of walking down the aisle, and the candid reactions of the couple and guests. Some of the shots included could be as follows:

  • Bridal party entrances
  • Family entrances
  • Bride entrance and groom reactions
  • Ring exchanges
  • Signing papers
  • First kiss
  • Exit

Pro tip: When exiting, stop halfway out and give a kiss or a pose so we can capture that grand, exciting moment.


Reception Details

Prior to the ceremony, perhaps during cocktail hour, ensure there is some time before guests enter the reception hall for us to take photos of the details. Some of the shots may include:

  • Wide shots of the room
  • Cake
  • Table settings, table numbers
  • Menus
  • Florals and head table
  • Cake

Reception Events

This is the fun part where you get to relax! Normally by this time, we've done all our bridal, bridal party, and family portraits. This is a time that we normally let you sit back and capture candids. Photos from the reception might include:

  • Bridal party entrances
  • Couple entrances
  • Speeches
  • Games
  • First dances
  • Table toasting and table photos
  • Candid reactions of all of the above!

Dance Floor & Ending the Night

This is normally the time we head out - guests' ties and shoes start to come off, the drinks start flowing, and people normally dont' want too many photos at this time. However, if you want us to stay (even for a little bit), we capture candid photos and any details of late-night stations you might have.

Cultural and Traditional Events

The beautiful part of photographing different weddings is getting to see the different cultures and traditions from my clients! Here are some that I've done in the past, and feel free to let me know about any you might have in your day!

Persian Ceremony

Mendhi, Pithi, Sangeet

Tea Ceremony (Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese)

Door Games (Chinese, Vietnamese)

Many cultures have a set of rituals that must be performed when the bride is trying to find her husband. The Chinese door games require an outside party, usually friends or other family members. These participants create tests for the groom-to-be. These “games” can range from simple tasks like balancing on  rice grains (sometimes broken) without falling off at all as well as throwing  oranges  into holes cut out of bamboo mats while wearing blindfolds!


That's the end of your day and this guide of what the day looks like to us as photographers on your wedding day. Remember, this is just a guide, and every day looks a bit different. Choose the structure of the day that works best for you, and ensure you make time for you to have fun yourselves!