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Getting the perfect wedding shots – how to keep the bride and groom happy

Capturing moments of a couple’s special day is one of the most highly requested forms of photography in the business. Each wedding celebrates the intimacy between two committed people with specific styles and vibes, and as a result, each wedding will have a different aesthetic. This is why taking photographs that capture the magic of each specific ceremony is a true skill.

The job of a wedding photographer is to capture the most precious moments of the day; from the posed couple and family photos to candid shots of dancing and all the little smiles and looks that may go unnoticed by the masses.

Today, we are going to take you through how to get the perfect wedding shots, covering different photography styles and the key elements of wedding photography, helping to keep the happy couple, well, happy!

Basic photography shots and angles

Before getting started with any form of photography, there are some basics you will need to know:


  • Close-up – a close-up shot does what it says on the tin, framing and focusing in closely on the person or object in the shot to give us a more detailed look
  • Extreme close-up – extreme close-ups are essentially a super close-up, often focusing on a specific part of the face, texture, section of an object or space etc. Extreme close-ups act almost as a microscope to get us closer to what has been captured and can give an insightful and dramatic effect
  • Medium shot – also known as waist shots, they are exactly what they say; a medium distance camera shot
  • Long shot – long shots are often used to capture large areas of space and to show us people or objects within their surrounding setting or environment. These shots lend themselves particularly well to landscape photography
  • Extreme long shot – similar to an extreme close-up, this is basically the opposite; the shot is taken from a further distance to create a uniquely framed shot
  • Different levels (shoulder, hip, knee, ground, etc.) – this is where you can get creative with shots. You can explore different levels of shot, seeing which gives the best or more unique perspective depending on your subject


  • High angle – involves capturing images from an above perspective. It’s often seen in fantasy or superhero films and imagery
  • Birdseye – exactly that! An above-angle shot that looks directly down on the subject matter, as though the camera were a bird looking down at the world
  • Over the shoulder – often used when photographing two or more people. This angle literally involves taking a photograph over the shoulder of someone or something, focusing in on the reaction of the person they are talking to or the scene before them
  • Face-to-face – frequently used to capture two individuals from a profile angle as they interact. You will have seen this angle many a time in from coms!
  • Dutch angle/tilt – Dutch angle or tilt shots are a fairly unique way of shooting and are most obviously used in action films. This angle offers a tilted effect which lends itself particularly well to moments of confusion or fear
  • Low angle – shooting from a low angle, often to create dramatic effect or enhance the size or scope of a person, object or place

Wedding shot list

Getting together a wedding shot tick list will help to make everything easier on the day. This is something that will need to be discussed with the couple beforehand to make sure that all their favourite moments will be caught on film.

Every couple will have a different list of photo requirements they will want captured, and so this list will become your own personal photography bible when the big day arrives.

Here are a few ideas for some of the moments that may be popular to capture, from getting ready all the way through to the last one standing on the dancefloor:

  • Getting ready – makeup, hair, the works!
  • Dress reveal to the bridesmaids
  • Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
  • Groom getting ready
  • Family shots (insert extended family list!)
  • Bride before the ceremony
  • Groom at the end of the aisle
  • The kiss
  • Cutting of the cake
  • Reception room shots before guests arrive
  • Close-ups of table settings and food
  • First dance
  • Private moments between the happy couple
Wedding shot checklist infographic

Creative wedding photo ideas

Want to offer something a bit more unique for your clients? Don’t sweat it! 

We’ve gathered a few of our favourite creative wedding photo ideas to make you the go-to photographer for wedding season:

  • Silhouette of the bride(s) and mother of the bride(s) – a beautiful mother-daughter moment captured in an elegant and emotive way
  • First look photos – whether mother and child, happy couple, or the excited reaction of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. First-look photos are always filled with joy and energy
  • A shot of the bouquet in mid-air as it is tossed to the eager crowd
  • Secret looks exchanged between the happy couple – smiles, gazes, grins. In other words, those little moments that show just how strong their love is
  • The happy couple with their fists in the air, looking triumphant as they head back down the aisle as partners

Our Irish neighbours over at One Fab Day also offer a brilliant list of some of the most popular creative wedding photo ideas to wow the crowd.

Creative wedding photo ideas infographic

Study photography with My Learning Online

Does a career in photography sound like something you’d love? Get your dreams off to the best possible start and get snapping with a photography certification online with My Learning Online!

Our courses include:

  • Photography – let’s start with the basics: you will learn everything you need to know about camera parts, shots and angles, creating a portfolio, and so much more. This is the perfect course for any budding photographer
  • Portrait Photography – an extremely popular style of photography, often called upon for fashion and cosmetics, editorial and creative work, as well as headshots and portraiture for industry professionals, creative artistic endeavours and special occasions. This course will equip you will the knowledge and keen eye for capturing each unique face
  • Photography Business – the perfect course to help you get to grips with the practicalities of running a photography business, as well as supporting you in building your portfolio and reaching out to potential clients
  • Professional Photography – the student will become the master! By the end of this course, you will be fully equipped with all the professional industry-level know-how to thrive in a career as a professional photographer
  • Wildlife Photography – considered one of the most magical and rewarding forms of photography, you will learn how to capture the essence of some of the world’s weirdest and most wonderful creatures, getting up close and personal to animal worlds you otherwise would never have discovered

These courses will teach you just how photography professionals do it. Through a combination of unit workbooks, video tutorials and exercises, you will learn how to build and hone your skills in logical steps, ensuring that you are equipped with all the tools you will need to succeed in a photography career.

We’ll take you through all the need-to-know basics such as: lighting, aperture, shutter speed, appropriate lenses for different projects, as well as making sure you are up to speed with the processes that take place post-photography session, editing with Photoshop and Lightroom to make your photos the best they can be. 

Best of all, you will learn how to capture magic – the people you meet, the places you go, and the natural wonders that make themselves known. With your camera at your side, the possibilities are endless.

These industry-leading courses have been professionally developed and will put you in the best possible place to start a career in the photography sector. Whether you have an organisation in mind that you have always dreamed of working for, or you want to set up your own business which puts you in the driver’s seat of your photography themes and photography salary, it is our job to help you reach your fullest potential.

All of our photography courses include a DSLR camera for you to use for the duration of your training, making sure you have the right gear to capture those magic moments. All courses come with a downloadable course brochure and further information about our online learning system, module breakdowns, tutor support and payment plans too.

Choose one of My Learning Online’s online photography courses for a picture-perfect start to your career.


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