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10 Must-Have Photos for Your Wedding Gallery


Document the magic of your wedding with these must-have photos! From the first look to the grand finale, every moment counts. We're here to help you make your wedding day vision board. Let's make some memories!

Wedding newly wed photo by Paper Birch Collective, California Wedding Photographer in Orange County taken at Occasions at Laguna Village in Laguna Beach California

As a professional wedding photography and videography team, we have had the wonderful privilege of capturing countless of love stories—from proposals to engagements and weddings. We love documenting the beauty of your memories in the most authentic and intimate way. Our team has witnessed all the magic that unfolds as two souls come together, from the soft glow of morning light as you get ready for the big day to your heartfelt exchange of vows at the altar and dancing the night away. Today, we will share with you 10 must have photos for your wedding gallery, along with helpful photography/videography tips. Save your favorites to create a vision board or look book for your special day. Let's make some memories!

1. The Getting Ready

This intimate phase of your wedding day is full of anticipation and excitement before the ceremony. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the bridal party and groomsmen preparing for the big day. From the intricate details of the wedding dress to the laughter shared among your best friends, these photos set the stage for the narrative of your wedding. Plus, there’s something so real about the hustle and bustle before the ceremony. No moment is too small to document, like the best man putting on his suit or the flower girl peeking at the bride. We love to capture each and every detail, from the delicate lace of the dress to the shine of the shoes. There are so many fun ways to get creative with your getting ready!


  1. Plan for extra extra time for your getting ready because this part of the day really sets the tone for the day, so you don't want to rush through these moments. Cherish each second!

  2. Consider having matching robes, matching outfits, or matching accessories for the bridal party as well as the groomsmen to create a fun and cohesive look in your photos. Twinning is always winning!

2. The Details

Capturing every detail, big or small, on your wedding day is crucial to documenting the complete essence of your day. No detail is too small to capture. Flat lays are the perfect way to include items you might not think to capture photos of, such as your invites/save the dates or important heirloom items. Documenting your wedding details is also a beautiful way to set the tone for your wedding album. Flat lays help summarize your special day. Small details are often overlooked, but they are certainly a significant part of your love story. Showcasing the unique elements of your wedding will help capture your full story.


  1. Remember to capture all the details. Your save the date/invitations, florals, rings, shoes, and other accessories such as your perfume/cologne, cuffs, etc.

  2. Heirlooms also make for great details.

3. The First Looks

The first look is a heartwarming moment that definitely deserves a special place in your wedding gallery. It’s the moment when you and your partner see each other in your fancy wedding attire for the first time. It is such an intimate and private moment filled with emotion and love. Think of this as your mini-date during the big day. It’s just the two of you (and a third wheel with a camera). A private first look is a beautiful “wow” moment that gets everyone teary-eyed. This modern tradition allows you and your partner to enjoy a private moment before your ceremony. It’s a chance to bond and capture raw emotions in a serene setting. Whether you choose to have your first look in a secluded garden or a quiet hallway, the first look is pure magic!

This wedding tradition might be controversial because of the old tradition of bad luck of seeing one another before your ceremony. However, from our experience, couples are always grateful they shared an intimate first look moment! If you are on the fence about whether or not to have a first look at your wedding, check out our blog HERE.


  1. If possible, ask your photographer and videographer to document this moment from a far distance away (so that it feels more private) as well as shoot from different angles to capture the full range of emotions from you and your partner.

  2. Take a deep breath before you turn around; it helps with the butterflies!

  3. To make the most of this moment, choose a secluded spot away from the guests. 

The First Look: A Modern Wedding Tradition - Pros & Cons

4. The Ceremony

Wedding ceremony photo of bride and groom holding hands shot by Paper Birch Collective, California Wedding Photographer in Orange County taken at Occasions at Laguna Village in Laguna Beach California

The vows, the rings, the first kiss as a married couple—these are some of the most magical moments of your wedding day. We love capturing the expressions of you and your partner as well as the reactions from your loved ones during these significant moments as you officially tie the knot. Your ceremony will go by faster than you expect, so be sure to embrace all the emotions you feel and to cherish each moment! For the best ceremony wedding photos, we recommend making a friendly announcement to your guests to refrain from using their devices for pictures/videos as it gets in the way of our professional work and doesn't look the best in your wedding gallery or video.


  1. Ask your officiant to step aside for the first kiss if you don’t want them photo-bombing your first kiss as newly weds!

  2. Walk as slow as a snail down the aisle. This is not a race, enjoy each and every second.

  3. Kiss, kiss, and kiss some more! Kiss long, kiss again and again; the more kisses the better. Embrace in your partner to celebrate this moment. More kisses = more love = more romantic photos!

A Wedding Ceremony Guide: Top Tips, Trends, and Traditions

Wedding ceremony ring photo by Paper Birch Collective, California Wedding Photographer in Orange County

5. Romantics

These are the photos that celebrate your love, usually taken during a quiet moment away from the rest of the celebration. These shots are all about the sparks flying between you and your partner, so get close and just forget the camera’s there. These romantic newly wed portraits are the heart of your wedding album, showcasing the unique love and deep commitment you share.


  1. Practice some poses beforehand; it’ll make you feel like a pro on your big day. (Engagement photoshoots are the perfect way to get comfortable in front of the cameras!)

  2. If possible, schedule this photoshoot session during ‘golden hour’ for dreamy lighting and romantic vibes.

  3. Doing this right after your romantic first look can be great for getting you in the perfect mood for your romantic portraits with your partner.

6. Wedding Party Photos 

The wedding party, with their matching outfits and big smiles, adds a touch of vibrancy to your gallery. These photos not only capture all the fun and camaraderie, but also honor the special people who play a special role in your life. This is also where the fun really kicks in. Getting the gang together for some epic shots always makes for an unforgettable time. The energy and excitement of the wedding party are infectious, making for dynamic photos. Jump, dance, or strike a pose – this is your moment to let loose and have some fun!


  1. Try different formations and have some fun with props or poses. 

  2. Coordinate the timing of these photos with the wedding planner to ensure everyone is present and ready.

  3. Start with posed photos to get warmed up, then end with candids.

7. Family Photos

Weddings are a beautiful union of families. Capturing stunning group portraits of your growing family on your wedding day will forever be treasured keepsakes. They reflect your family’s heritage and the joy of coming together to celebrate a new chapter. These are the photos that will end up on everyone’ mantle. Big group photos aren't always the easiest, but they are definitely worth it, so make sure to squeeze in tight. And hey, it’s okay if not everyone is looking at the camera – it’s the togetherness that counts!


  1. Make a list of must-have family shots beforehand to ensure no one is missed. These family photos are cherished heirlooms, so it’s important to plan them carefully.

  2. Communicate the photo schedule with your family members, so they know when to be available.

Wedding family photo by Paper Birch Collective, California Wedding Photographer in Orange County taken at Occasions at Laguna Village in Laguna Beach California

8. Reception Details

Socal Wedding Reception bride and groom alone on dance floor photo at The Villa taken by Paper Birch Collective, California Wedding Photographer in Orange County

From the table settings to the dance floor, these reception detail photos encapsulate the mood and style of your wedding. The reception is where your personal style shines. Photos of the cake, centerpieces, and decor will help you remember the atmosphere of your celebration. After months of intricate planning, take in all the details of your ideas coming to life! If possible, try to plan for a private reception walk-through with your partner before the rest of your guests arrive so that you can fully appreciate all your details.


  1. You and your partner should share a private first dance before your reception starts because this makes for beautiful photos and is great for a quick practice before your grand first dance performance.

  2. Use ambient lighting and candles to add a warm glow to your reception photos.

A Wedding Reception Guide: Top Tips, Trends, and Traditions

9. Dancing

Once the party kicks off and everyone hits the dance floor, that’s when the magic happens. Picture this: the newly weds are in the middle of the dance floor grooving to their favorite tunes. Around them, friends and family are letting loose, showing off all their moves. As your wedding photography and videography team, we are more than ready to catch those spontaneous dance-offs. It’s all about the vibe, the laughs, and those offbeat moments that make the best memories. No need for fancy footwork or perfect poses; it’s the real, raw, and utterly joyful moments that make these photos so special. So, when you flip through your album years later, you’ll remember not just how beautiful everything looked, but also how much fun everyone had. That’s what it’s all about, right?


  1. Lead by example, get out on the dance floor and let loose! Energy is contagious, so spread your positive and upbeat vibes for the ultimate dance party.

  2. Just have fun! The best photos come from authentic and real fun.

10. The Send-Off

The final grand exit photos in your wedding gallery should be as memorable as the day itself. Whether it’s a sparkler farewell, bubbles, or a vintage car getaway, the send-off photo is the perfect exclamation point at the end of your wedding story. It’s the last hoorah, so make it count and leave in style. The final farewell is your last chance to capture the day’s festivities, this photo marks the beginning of your new adventure!


  1. Choose a send-off that reflects your personality and the theme of your wedding

Wedding ceremony bubble exit gif shot by Paper Birch Collective, California Wedding Photographer in Orange County taken at Grand Tradition Estate & Gardens

Thanks for Reading 🤍

Remember, these photos are more than just images; they’re the story of your special day, captured forever. Work closely with your photographer to ensure that each of these essential shots is part of your wedding gallery. Each of these photos tells a unique part of your wedding story, and together, they create a gallery that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Thank you for checking out our blog! We really hope this Must-Have Wedding Photo Guide is helpful and we hope you have the Wedding of your dreams that you and your partner deserve! Always remember, your Wedding is a celebration of your unique love, laughter, and shared moments. Cherish each second and just let us capture the magic of your once in a lifetime memories. So, here’s to love, laughter, and happily ever after!

For even more Wedding inspiration and advice, we love these awesome resources:

✨ Martha Weddings |

✨ Style Me Pretty |

✨ Wedding Wire |


You might be wondering why choose Paper Birch Collective to capture your Wedding, Engagement, or special event. Our team is based in Orange County, California and serving all of SoCal and beyond. We are your friendly neighborhood team of award-winning photographers & videographers. We are addicted to adventure and new experiences, always on the cutting edge of our craft.

Read this blog to see 15 client testimonials, reviewed on The Knot, Wedding Wire, or Yelp. We hope these reviews help you build trust in our work. We deeply appreciate all of our clients who have trusted us with capturing their precious memories. It is a true gift to be a part of so many wonderful peoples' important moments!

Client Testimonials

Award-Winning Orange County Wedding Photography & Videography

Let's Make Some Memories!

We are lucky to have captured so many special Wedding memories, from getting ready, to first looks, to ceremonies, and reception parties. To make your wedding planning easy, we offer a couple simple packages. Our packages come with unlimited photos during your event with no upcharge for any delivered images. All our images will be edited to reflect how your big day truly felt. Each package can be customized to your liking including more hours or a second shooter. If you are looking for an elopement package, we have that too! For any specific questions or requests, feel free to reach out and contact us and we will get back to you as soon as humanly possible! Let’s make some memories!

~ Your friendly neighborhood photographer and videographer team (PBC)


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Wedding video at La Mirada Golf Course by Paper Birch Collective, California Wedding Photographer in Orange County

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