Wedding Photo Shot List
Photos Shot Lists Can Be A Good Thing [For the Less Experienced]
Perhaps the image above (minus the red text) is what your laptop looks like searching for wedding photo ideas. We certainly understand the reason for your search. We used to get questions about photography shot lists from around 25% of our couples and lately we just get sent lists without ever being consulted on if its needed. Most of the couples that send them are told they need to send us one by someone like a coordinator, family member, or friend. If you step back and think about it it really does not make sense for someone else to advise on what we need.
Let us start by saying that by default we do not use a shot list. This is not because of inexperience but because of our shooting methods. We are focused on taking photos of everything you spent money on and who you invited to your wedding through in the moment, natural, raw emotion photos. This will cover 99% of what ends up on these shot lists so good news we just saved you some time! Since no wedding has the same stuff or people this makes having a list difficult. We believe these things you brought to your wedding are things you value. Rather than put you in a box of X photos and ‘we are done’ we are photographing the wedding day as it was with all the emotion and joy.
This is not to imply that if you have firm requirements that you should not share them as it is easier to meet your expectations when you verbalize them. Most however just do this as things come up on a wedding day. A great illustration of this is if your firm requirement was ‘a picture of the bride’. It would be crazy to think that we would not get a photo of the bride. Our default would be her candid, being silly, capturing the emotion of the day. If however you meant a posed bridal portrait of her then that is something we mainly would do when a parent has an invested interest in the day as they want those but most brides are not really wanting them.
So what are our couples commonly meaning when they ask about wedding shot lists or say they are sending us one?
If your thinking of family group photo combinations than this paragraph is for you. We have no concerns with your creating a list of group combinations for your wedding. If you feel you might be scatterbrained on your wedding day a list might make it more clear for you. This might also help if you think your family might want to elongate the family photo time by getting every possible combination of people and steal your cocktail hour craft beer or wine. If you create a list like this you do not need to give it to your photographer. Why? Well – your photographer does not know who aunt Suzie is and it will just take longer for them to read off the combos. Since we don’t do roll call we wouldn’t know who isn’t there so we believe you should give it to a bridesmaid or groomsmen if you need a physical list. Even if we did roll call I doubt anyone could hear us since we encourage people enjoying the day and having fun. Imaging us taking roll call ‘Is there a Uncle John?’ just makes us laugh.
We love Pinterest but if you are out there looking for pictures you love and send those to your photographer it might either really help them, stress them out, or limit them. We believe you should hire a photographer who does work you love. Looking at the work of other photographers and creating a pinboard can help you get an idea of what you like and so it can be rather helpful. Sending that list over to your photographer is okay but with a couple cautions. Know your photographer might not have the conditions of that photo (lighting, location, emotion) or the creative mind (or time if they are professional) to photoshop a dinosaur in the background chasing the wedding party. We don’t mind receiving a board of your pins but will tell you what we cannot do or what it might take to do a certain kind of photo which is typically more time. Last word of caution is focusing on mirroring a pin board will trend toward more posed photography rather than the real raw photojournalistic emotion.
This might come in the form of a want list, must have list, or we thought these were cool list. There is nothing wrong with getting what you want. However if your wedding venue is public property and you want to be in the back of a pickup truck with a shotgun we will let you know its illegal. While we think ignorance is bliss when it comes to unknown rules regarding a location there are some things like firearms that are more incriminating. While not illegal there are other things that just are less possible like getting the picture of the bride and groom kissing after the ‘I do’ from the audience view and from the officiant view. So much of this depends on the space and variables outside of our control. There are other things that are more stylistic and things we wouldn’t normally do but are happy to seek to accommodate. The main thing we would want is to make sure you enjoy your wedding day and are not focused on getting a list of unique photos.
To Our Couples
We are excited to shoot your wedding! We want to deliver what you are seeking while at the same time capturing your day in the best way possible under the conditions of your day. You should not expect for us to seek a photography shot list because we will naturally focus on the stuff you spent money on and the people. If your seeking something that might be an object + another object or a person + an object that is when it is most helpful to know. The main thing we will need is your communicating the unique idea and your giving us the time to do the photo. These kind of photography tends to be more posed which takes more time to setup. So much of this all depends on your wedding, the conditions of the day, and what you are asking.