Must-Have Wedding Photographs (or You’ll Never Forgive Yourself)

For most couples, hiring the right wedding photographer is very important to them, and it should be. In my experience, there is also another important decision that many couples do not give enough attention to; choosing your photo sessions. I will explain all the different photography possibilities on your wedding day so you can make an informed decision and create a memorable collection of wedding photographs that you will cherish for a lifetime!

newlyweds in cancunJustine and Ben had so much fun during their wonderful couple photos. This is just one of many photos they will cherish forever

These are the photos you will share with friends, family and eventually your kids and grandkids. I want you to have the best day of your life and have it captured!

destination wedding in cancun beach The gorgeous surroundings that Mexico offers makes for a dreamy day for every couple

I have had brides tell me they are glad I explained the different possibilities and the importance of each type of photo session, so that they could make an informed decision and get a collection of photographs they cherish forever. In this way, they do not go home and wish they had photos of the Getting Ready session or photos by the beach. Yes, it is true!

Once you choose your photographer, make sure you request a variety of photos — both portrait sessions and spontaneous photographs. When you choose me as your photographer, I capture all the biggest moments of the day, so I ensure you have swoon-worthy wedding photos to look back on.

To make sure you do not have any regrets, here are my recommendations for can’t-be-missed wedding day photography that you should consider and talk about with your photographer:

1. Getting Ready Photos

dana-vlad-cancun-wedding-1-30 Dana looks super excited while hanging out with her loved ones, getting ready for the big moment!

These intimate photos of the bride and groom getting ready in their separate hotel rooms are instant keepsakes. In the Getting Ready photos, I will capture lovely moments with friends and family in a relaxed atmosphere, as well as detail shots of makeup, the bride’s dress, shoes, jewelry, wedding rings, flowers, and pre-ceremony bridal portraits … along with the groom’s dashing bow tie, the groom having a good time with his buddies, a pre-ceremony portrait of the groom, and all the other little items that add up to a unique wedding. Getting Ready photos have a “behind-the-scenes” feel to them; they are relaxed and fun.

Bride make up dramatic light The lighting from the mirror gives a dramatic vibe for Marilyn’s Getting Ready photo

Groom getting ready Andrew is getting ready and looking very sharp on his wedding day. He had style.

2. Ceremony/Reception Detail Photos

playa-del-carmen-wedding-kate-1.png Beautifully arranged details set the atmosphere for an unforgettable reception

You worked so hard planning your perfect destination wedding, and you don’t want to forget a moment of it. That’s why detail photos of the ceremony site and reception are so important. Typically, these photos are taken before the ceremony so that I can focus on all of the beautiful details before the location gets crowded. You’ll receive beautiful photos of your floral arrangements, place settings, welcome gifts, and all the other items that you added your special touch to.

beach decoration in cancun wedding A wedding direction sign can be helpful to your guests but also adds an extra level of elegance and enhances the feel of your wedding.

beach wedding reception table setting I love these types of photographs to document your setting and to show off the beauty of your wedding.

3. Ceremony Photos

Bride and groom This is a magical moment…vow exchanges and a promise of “happily ever after”.

Talk about a “must”! This is when all the emotions come out, and I work hard to capture it all — the walk down the aisle with Dad, the moment he gives his “little girl” away, the oh-so-cute procession of the flower girl and ring bearer, all the audience reactions, and the moment the couple says “I Do.” Sometimes, it’s nice to have a second photographer helping with ceremony photography, so you have plenty of photos of the couple and everyone in attendance Photographing the groom’s expression as he sees his bride for the first time and the bride walking down the aisle is always a great photograph.

Bride and groom kissing I always capture the dramatic backdrop during the ceremony. It is a moment to cherish forever.

Bride and groom celebrating Look how happy Ursula and Ben walking down the aisle. They’re ready for a new life together.

4. Couple Portrait Photos

Bride and groom beach wedding portrait Marilyn and Andrew as husband and wife. The expressions on their faces are priceless!

Bride and groom photography They are so happpy! I can see love in their eyes.

Bride and Groom next to Cancun Beach Andrew embraces Marilyn a lot during the bridal couple portrait. He’s indeed in love.

After the Ceremony photos, I think the Couple Portrait photos are the most important photographs of your day. Typically taken right after the ceremony, these photos capture your first moments as husband and wife — when you’re full of love and gratitude for one another. Plus, I capture the playfulness between the two of you! I love photographing Couple Portraits because I really see the special bond that each couple has shine through.

Tamara and Elaine All smiles for these newlyweds. I love this backdrop!

These photographs will be beautiful and timeless. I will give you direction to help you look your absolute best and so that the final photos look natural, spontaneous, and effortless. These photographs can be taken in the most gorgeous spots around the resort or beach to capture the destination wedding feel.

5. Family/Friend Portrait Photos

beachweddingyucatanmexico I love their expressions. These ladies share an emotional moment with the new bride.

These photos will become keepsakes that help you remember the loved ones who joined in to celebrate your big day. Plus, more formal portraits with family and close friends make great “thank you” gifts to send out after the wedding. These are formal family portraits with the bride and groom taken directly after the ceremony.

wedding family portrait at the beach Everyone is thrilled to be a part of this unforgettable party.

6. Bridal Portrait Photos

dana-vlad-wedding (510 of 715) Astonishing in her beautiful dress, the stairs dramatically showcase Dana’s lovely long train.

Brides spend months picking out the perfect dress, shoes, and hairstyle — remember yourself looking your best (and most in love!) with a special bridal portrait session. This portrait session gives us the opportunity to capture close-up details of the dress, shoes, make-up look, and bouquet too. It’s usually best for these photos to be taken before the ceremony, after the bride is done getting ready. These breathtaking photos make a great gift to the groom (or partner) and the bride’s parents after the wedding — pick out a few of your favorites that you know they will cherish forever.

nature-backdrop-bride Andrea is so beautiful and this lush green surrounding gives her a fairy tale photo.

7. Cocktail Hour Photos

vidanta wedding The guests get a chance to loosen up!

As the Couple Portrait photos are taken after the ceremony, couples usually host a cocktail hour for guest to attend while they’re having their photos taken. It’s the first time that all of a couple’s family and loved ones get to mingle after just watching the couple say “I Do” — so emotions are running high! To capture it all, I recommend also hiring a second photographer, who can take fun, spontaneous photos of guests in a relaxed environment during the Cocktail Hour while I work with you on your portrait photos.

wedding reception guests having fun I love to capture friends and family having fun at your wedding. This will allows be remembered!

8. Reception Photos

dana-vlad-cancun-wedding-3-582 Is everyone ready?

The night doesn’t end with the ceremony! I always love to photograph the important, once-in-a-lifetime moments of the reception, like the first dance as husband and wife, the father daughter dance, the mother and son dance, cake cutting, speeches,and the  bouquet and garter toss. Consider having these photographs in your album. Plus, this is when your guests can really cut loose — you’ll love and laugh over the photos of them shaking it on the dance floor all night long!

bride and groom first dance at night Marilyn and Andrew’s first dance as husband and wife. I love the lighting! We can feel love is in the air!

bride and groom kiss and dance These two are the center of attention on the dance floor

9. Resort Location Photos

riviera-maya-playa-del-carmen-coral-beach-club-wedding-2 Postcard perfect! The breathtaking scenario foretells an unforgettable wedding

One thing I love to do is photograph sweeping shots of the ceremony location itself — you chose to have a destination wedding in Mexico so you could be married in one of the most beautiful places in the world, so you’ll want photos to remember all of the beauty by.

Grand Sunset Princess Wedding I love how this photo shows the turquoise color of the water giving a spectacular contrast to the setting. 

10. Optional Photos

“First Look” Photos

Bride and groom Gazing at each other, Ursula and Dan are such a beautiful couple in love!

Not all couples opt to have the “first look,” but it is gaining in popularity among couples willing to break tradition. The “first look” is a private moment before the ceremony where the couple meets alone and sees each other for the first time. Photos of this moment are so special because they capture the surprise, awe, and relief couples feel as they lock eyes for the last time before they become one through marriage. This session is a great option to cut through nervousness … and feel more relaxed as you head to the ceremony site together.

“Trash the Dress” Session Photos

rebekah-the-royal-playa-del-carmen-78-3 Have a little fun on the beach in your wedding gown. Take a chance on unconventional yet memorable photographs.

First and foremost, I must clarify this point: Your dress is not truly trashed during this photo session. We call it “Trash the Dress” because it may get wet and a little sandy during the photo session. Don’t worry — all it needs is a professional cleaning it will be as good as new. Some brides bring a separate dress for this session.

cancun-trash-the-dress-beach-1-130 Fun in the sun for Olga an Yelissey!

So this is for brides who have a little “rock n’ roll” in them! You’re only going to wear your wedding dress once … so after the ceremony, give it proper goodbye with a “trash the dress” session, where the couple takes a fun, splashy swim in their formal attire. I’ll be on hand to capture it all, so that you’ll end up with photos that are creative, heartfelt, and truly one of a kind. A lively, light-hearted “trash the dress” session is a great way to start a life together.

Must-Have Photos based on Your Timeline

If you are planning to hire your photographer for a certain number of hours, here is my quick summary of what you will have photographed depending on how many hours you hire your photographer for:

2hr Photo Session

A two hour photo session, will give you Ceremony and Couple portraits.

3hr Photo Session

A three hour photo session, will give you Getting ready, Ceremony and Couple portraits.

5hr Photo Session

A five hour photo session, will give you Getting ready, Ceremony session, Couple portraits, Bridal portraits, Family portraits and Reception photographs. This is a very popular package and many brides are very happy to they chose this length of time to have me at their wedding. 

6hr Photo Session

A six hour photo session, will give you Getting ready, Ceremony session, Couple portraits, Bridal portraits, Family portraits and Reception photographs. The difference here is, you get more photographs of each event and I stay longer during the reception.

8hr Photo Session (includes 2nd photographer)

A eight hour photo session is the ultimate. This option will give you Getting ready, Ceremony session, Couple portraits, Bridal portraits, Family portraits and Reception photographs and a lot of great details including beautiful location photographs, so you remember all the details of your wedding and the resort.

52 Tips to Make Your Photo Session Go from being Average to Amazing!

These are not your average tips, these are exclusive tips that brides, couples and families have told me time and time again that these tips have made them more relaxed, less stressed and better prepared. And it showed on their beautiful photos!

So Enter your details below and have amazing photographs:

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Dorota Jamal

Dorota Jamal

Cancun Wedding Photographer at Life Wonders Photography
I am a Mexico destination wedding photographer and I will ensure you look your best in your wedding photos by creating a fun and relaxed atmosphere during our photo shoots.

Based out of Cancun & Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya Mexico, Dorota has extensive experience of photographing weddings at exotic locations like Mexico, Bali, India, and South Africa.
Dorota was a wedding photographer in San Diego, California and brings this modern photography style and personalized service to Mexico.

She can be reached at [email protected]
Dorota Jamal