Let your Photographer Fly! Write a Photography Shot List… Lightly

I recently ran into a couple who was very, we’ll call it, overbearing when it came down to the shot lists they provided us on the wedding day.

Their May 2016 wedding was only 3 short weeks away, and prior to our last consultation before the wedding, I received an extensively detailed list of photos to be shot during the wedding day. It stated every potential situation that may (or may not) occur during the wedding day. List of mandatory photographs included:

  • Cute photo of mom looking at son before the wedding ceremony in church
  • Child peaking and smiling at bride walking down the isle
  • First Kiss (Editor Note: Well, obviously)
  • Photo of Jane and Chris during ceremony looking happily at couple (Editor Note: Who are Jane and Chris?)

I request shot lists from our couples for the sole reason to not miss any, say, family shots. It’s often requested so I have a go-to-guide to work with as I’m taking shots after the ceremony to ensure that all the possible combinations of families, friends, sisters and dads are achieved. What tends to happen during a wedding with an intensely mandatory shot list such as this is that our photographers are so focused on catching ‘a single tear going down the right side of my grandmothers face while the first kiss is about to happen’ that we will be missing out on any spontaneous moments around it.

Just imagine what we’re now focusing on during her walking down the isle – We’re hoping that one of the kids (Who didn’t see this list by the way) is poking their heads out and ‘peeking at the bride’ we’re no longer looking at the bride, or the grooms reactions, or the parents reactions or the guest’s reactions, or anything really…. Except for the mandatory shot.

Weddings are, at the root, a ‘live event’ meaning that unless you have a choreographed shot list with all your guests, we can’t guarantee that your father will sob while giving you away at the ceremony. What these extensive lists do to your photographer is to put them in a compromising position when there is a moment that would be more important than the list request. After the wedding, if you look at your photos, and we’re missing a photo on the list, it’s very easy to say “Where is the grandma tear photo during the first kiss” when we decided to shoot you and your husband DOING the first kiss.

My advice is when presented with an opportunity to write out a shot list, keep it as minimal as possible because I’m personally going to guarantee that I’ll be focused 100% on the list FIRST, then I can get more creative with situational shots. Once you get to know us a bit better, and we have a chance to grab a coffee (Or wine) and talk about photography styles and what you love, then I’m able to make the ‘in the moment’ judgment call based on what I know about you as a couple.

Shot List Examples:

  • Bride and Groom’s Entire Family together
  • Siblings and Bride and Groom
  • Bride and Groom with Parents
  • Bride with Grandma / Groom with Grandma
  • Full Group Shot of Everyone after the Ceremony
  • Sunset Photos during Reception (If Possible)
  • Shot of the charm on my bouquet

Trust us that you’ll get amazing photos that you would never even be able to plan yourself. Let Boundless Weddings fly, and I’m sure you’ll be surprised with the amount of coverage you get in every wedding.