December 11, 2019
Did you know that you don’t actually need to write a giant checklist of specific photos you want your photographer to capture on your wedding day? It might be against the norm to not write a list, but let me explain!
1. Hopefully you’ve found a photographer that’s so perfect for you that they already know what photos you want before you even mention it. Find someone that you’re obsessed with their work, and make sure you’ve seen past weddings they’ve photographed on their blog/website that include all the “staple” photos of the significant moments. Hopefully your photographer is someone that you can trust, and you have faith that they will capture what you’ve always dreamed of. The type of photographer you hire should be really good at the type of photographs you’re wanting.
2. We photographers shoot weddings a lot because it’s our job…and that list? We have it memorized! These are photos that I capture at every wedding no matter what because they’re staples to your final gallery – it wouldn’t be complete without any of those classic shots! It would be really hard for me to simply forget about something!
3. Another reason you don’t need to write a big list is because if you do, it can actually limit your photographer’s ability to be creative. When brides send a list, of course they meant to do that – they are simply being organized and thinking about what’s most important to them on their wedding day! And I love that! BUT, during the wedding day, I don’t want my brides to be worried about anything, especially a list. When my brides are worried about a specific list, then I’m worried about the specific list, even if I already have it memorized! When I’m so focused on following a list, I forget about being creative and that’s a huge disservice to my couples! Important note: some photographers might actually encourage their couples to write a shot list, and that’s okay! Everyone is wired differently, and some may work better with a list than I do – check with them to see!
With all that being said, there are times where a couple will have a few very specific requests for wedding day portraits – and in this case, I love lists! 3 months before the wedding day, I send a questionnaire to the bride with questions about the timeline, addresses, contact info, vendor information, desired family portrait combinations, AND any other specific photo requests! For family portraits, the couple can choose what combinations they want, and I’ll make a list to print! I know that family is so important to each of my brides, so those are ones that I can’t miss! The other specific photo requests tend to be unique simply because each couple, each family, and each wedding is so different! For example, one of my couples is very close to all their grandparents and loves them dearly. They wanted to make sure I captured each set of grandparents dancing together at the end of the night. I usually do this anyways, but knowing how important these photos were to them, I paid extra attention to making sure I captured ALL of them! Another example is one time, my bride wrote letters to each of her parents, rolled each paper up like a scroll, tied a ribbon around them, and added beautiful name tags. They looked like an heirloom, she spent so much time putting them together, and they were keepsakes for her parents – obviously, that’s not something every couple does, so I made sure to capture it!
Ironically, below, I’ve made a “wedding shot list” just so you can see the list I have memorized in my head! These are all things I capture at every wedding, but if you think of something specific you want captured that isn’t on this list, then that’s super important for me to know before the wedding day! Ultimately, I strive to deliver a gallery that shows every part of the wedding day and surpasses all expectations of the couple!
+ wedding gown, jewelry, invitation, shoes, bouquet, bride getting hair and makeup done, candid getting ready photos of bridesmaids hanging out, bride getting in dress, mother buttoning up dress, full length shot of bride in dress
+ groom getting ready/hanging out with groomsmen, mother putting boutonniere on
+ first look, bride and groom portraits, just bride portraits, just groom portraits, shots of dress/veil/hair/bouquet/tie/boutonniere details
+ full bridal party (includes bride + groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, personal attendants, ring bearers, and flower girls), bridesmaids and groomsmen with bride and groom, bridesmaids + personal attendants + flower girls, just bridesmaids, individual bridesmaids with bride, just personal attendants, bride with flower girls, bride + groom with flower girls and ring bearers, groom with ring bearer, groomsmen + ushers + ring bearers, just groomsmen, individual groomsmen with groom, just ushers, bouquet shots
+ bride and groom with any and all family combinations they want
+ entire processional, groom’s expression when he sees bride, father giving bride away, bride and groom at alter, both sets of parents watching the ceremony, wide shot of the ceremony, unity candle, vows, rings, the kiss, recessional, bride + groom hugging family + friends
+ exterior + interior shots of ceremony and reception venues, welcome table, centerpieces, tables, chairs, other decor, cake, dessert, guests signing guest book
+ grand entrances, toasts, first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, parents and grandparents dancing, wedding party dancing, guests dancing, bride and groom dancing, cutting the cake, bouquet toss, garter toss, exit vehicle, grand exit