I once had a bride who emailed me a 25-page spreadsheet of every single photo she wanted taken on her wedding day. Photos such as: Bride. Bride and mom. Bride and dad. Bride and mom and dad. Cake. Cake and champagne flutes. You get the idea.
My heart sank for this poor bride who undoubtedly had way better things to do with her time than create this insanely long list of obvious shots. So, I picked up the phone and had a conversation with her because I wanted to understand what prompted her to spend all that time making such a detailed list.
She explained that she had read on all of the wedding websites and blogs that you should always provide your photographer with a shot list. Naturally, she didn’t want any of those photos to be missed, so she was just doing what she thought was best.
However, my answer to the question “Do I need a shot list?” has always been a gentle “no” for these reasons:
LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONAL
You can trust the knowledge that comes with an experienced photographer. If you were hiring a mechanic to fix your car, you wouldn’t tell them how to do their job. You hired them because they’re the expert! It’s the same thing with hiring a professional photographer. Rest assured that every single one of those obvious images will be captured. These are the photos that every experienced photographer takes on every wedding day. In her sleep. However, if there is an unusual or specific photo you have in mind, such as re-creating an image your parents took in 1965 on the steps of the same church, then yes, by all means, let me know!
KEEP IT SIMPLE
You know which family members should be included in your portraits. Let them know ahead of time that they will be needed for photos. Simply send a sweet email to the relatives: “We want to make sure we have pictures of you at our wedding! Please arrive at 3pm for family photos.” Then, trust your photographer to set-up all of the photos in a simple, logical fashion, covering all of the family combinations.
LET THE MAGIC HAPPEN
Trying to cross names off a printed list of photo requests prevents me from doing my “thing” which is connecting with people and immersing myself in your wedding. Being able to read a crowd and authentically capture your wedding style is the key to providing you with photographs that will take your breath away. Natural expressions, comfortable smiles and true emotions are my priorities in giving you images of you and your loved ones that you will genuinely adore. Trust me to find the magic within the moments by allowing me to shoot from my heart!
Take a deep breath and trust that all of your most important loved ones will absolutely be photographed, as well as all of the key moments and beautiful details. It’s the feeling behind a photo that makes it so wonderful to look at, so give yourself the space on your wedding day to feel fully without faking it for the camera. Grab a glass of champagne and get out there and celebrate!