Just in case you’ve never heard of it, a wedding photography shot list is a photo by photo instruction manual for a day of wedding photography. While I understand that my couples are very excited about getting married and some even relish the planning process, sometimes a shot list may keep you from getting the photos you really might want. If you’ve been trying to figure out whether a wedding shot list is something that you need, here are a few reasons to consider why one is simply not necessary.
I’m an experienced professional
If you were hiring an auto mechanic to fix your SUV or a drywall expert to fix your wall, most likely you wouldn’t tell them how to do their job. After all, you hired them because they are the expert! I am a professional too, which is the reason why you may be considering me to photograph your once-in-a-lifetime day rather than trusting your moments to be documented by a well-meaning friend or an uncle with a camera. With over eight years of wedding photography experience, I know which photos I need to take on your wedding day. I know where to stand, what exposures to use, how to direct when needed, every single setting on my off-camera flash for those oh so dark wedding venues and carry enough backup equipment to work for 24 hours straight if needed. I want my clients to feel confident knowing that I will document their wedding to its fullest, to truly relax and enjoy their moments knowing that their photographs are being captured expertly.
If you’re concerned that you won’t get that photo with your favorite cousin, wait until you’re giving her a hug at your reception instead of trying to schedule her to stand in for a post during formal portrait time while 100 other impatient family members are waiting to go to the reception. Like most photographers ( and couples!), my least favorite part of the day is arranging family members for formal portraits. The reason probably is is that this sort of staged situation doesn’t allow as much creativity as I’d like and I also know that the photo that I will take of you and your best friend crying together after she makes her heartfelt toast will end up being a more cherished photo than the one of her standing and smiling in front of the church. My advice is, instead of filling your wedding day timeline with loads of posed pictures with your loved ones, wouldn’t you rather make more time for actually experiencing your wedding day with them?
Understandably you may want every moment of your wedding day to be perfect, as in those “perfect“ moments that you’ve seen in thousands of images posted on Instagram. Consider this, if you hand me a huge shot list filled with photos that you found on Pinterest, you might hinder your ability to truly bask in the glow of your own wedding day. I believe what makes photos so special are ones that capture authentic moments which occur without regard of my camera. If you and I constantly try to re-create one shot or another you will lose the natural element that made those beloved images so lovely in the first place.
Most important thing is, this is YOUR wedding
Your wedding day photo delivery should reflect your love, personalities and your style. Why would you want to replicate someone else’s wedding photos instead of having truly unique images that are your own? This is what makes your wedding photography special. One of a kind. Like the two of you!
When all is said and done, it is these photographs, these captured unique moments that are what you’ll have to remember your day by. Those butterfly nervous moments when you teared up during your vows, or the felt warmth of embrace as you danced your first dance. It’s those feelings behind the great images that truly define the value of a great photograph so give yourself the freedom to truly experience the joy found in your wedding day without faking it for my cameras.
Lastly, of course, I capture the sparkly details and decor which I will encounter throughout your wedding day. I will pose your family and wedding party during your designated "formal portrait time" and make darn sure that they look great while I'm at it!. That being said, my focus will always be on the human bond's that matter, the real moments of connection which will define your day. After all, isn’t this why your considering hiring a professional photographer in the first place?
All of that being said...
Just in case your still wondering if I'll know which photos to take here is a sample of the photo opportunities which I will be on the lookout for throughout your wedding day. Of course I cannot guarantee that each of these individual shots will be taken (except for your formal portraits) because every wedding day is different, as it should be!
Prep Shots – Bride & Groom
The Dress – Hanging or Draped
Bride looking out (window or door)
Maid of Honor & Brides Mom – Zipping Dress
Bride Applying Make Up
Groom Fixing Hair
Grooms Father & Best Man – Attaching Boutonnière to grooms lapel
Informal group shot of Groom with Grooms Men & Fathers
Informal group shot of Bride with Bridesmaids & Mothers
Candid shots of Bride with extended family/friends laughing & having fun
Candid shots of Groom with extended family/friends laughing & having fun
Groom waiting at altar
Church Wide Shot (with & without guests when possible)
Bride walking down aisle ( Side Profile & Front if available )
Father giving away bride
Groom first look of Bride
Holding hands – Bride and Groom
Groom ring exchange
Bride ring exchange
Groom and Bride Misc.
Bride & Groom Kiss
Bride & Groom exiting alter
Family formals: Takes about 15-30 mins, depending mainly on number of people to be photographed in total.
By the way, these times posted below may be shortened if all of the family members know ahead of time that they are expected to be at a certain location for photos so that we don't waste a sec of precious time looking for the right people.
* Entire extended family portrait including both sides of bride and grooms families in one frame time: approx. 8-15 mins
* Couple with brides extended family 3-5 mins
* Couple with brides immediate family 3 mins
* Couple with grooms extended family 3-5 mins
* Couple with grooms immediate family 3 mins
Wedding Party: Takes about 10-15 mins depending on the size of your wedding party and number of poses requested.
* groom w/bridesmaids
* bride w/groomsmen
* groom w/ groomsmen
* couple with the entire wedding party
Couples Portraits: about 30 mins
* 2 + photos from the shoulders up
* 2+ 3/4 portraits
* 2 + full length portrait
* 2 + candid style images
* unlimited fun stuff as requested by client
(Note: above numbers of portraits are not set in stone and represent a minimum value of number of total images delivered to you. In other words if you’ve got the time we can take whatever photos you like!
Reception/Banquet Hall Outside shot
Shot of interior Reception venue full of guests
Bride & Father Dance
Groom & Mother Dance
Bride and Groom Feeding each other
Misc. Candid shots of Guests Dancing
Misc. Candid shots of Guests talking and having fun
Best Man & Maid of Honor Toast/Speeches
Bride & Groom Toast/Speeches
Centerpieces & Flower/Decorations
Guests Dancing with Bride & Groom
Bride & Groom’s Parents Dancing
Groom and Bride exit (when possible)
Bride & Groom “Just Married” Vehicle – Driving Away (when possible)
If you have any questions about my photography service please contact me anytime!