Welcome to our Wedding Wednesdays Q&A! It’s the place to be if you’re planning a wedding. so pull up a chair and join us. This week we’re talking about the wedding photography shotlist.
Q: I know I’m supposed to put together a list of photos I want for the photographer, but I’m not sure where to begin. What am I supposed to put on it? Everything I want?
Great question! I’m sure if you’ve googled it, you’ve found these massive lists of shots that include photos of everything from the cake and the wedding dress to a picture of the ring bearer. So, ignore those. Unless your photographer is a newbie or a friend or someone who isn’t familiar with wedding photography, you don’t actually need to list out every possible shot.
The purpose of the wedding photography shotlist is to list out the photos that you have to have. The ones that if you didn’t take them and were to wake up the day after your wedding you’d regret not having them. Now that could be a lot of things right? Well, wedding photographers know to get a shot of you kissing at the ceremony and a picture of your dress and the bouquet and the first dance. What they don’t know are the shots they wouldn’t know to take and this is what the wedding photography shotlist is for.
The best example of a shot they wouldn’t know to take are portrait shots. They’ll assume you want some family photos, but they won’t know to take a picture of you and your aunt unless you tell them. The other types of shots they wouldn’t know to take are moments like if you have a little ritual you do with your friends before something big happens, or items of special meaning like you carrying a trinket from your grandmother. Unless you tell your photographer, they won’t know to take those shots or look for those moments.
Now there are two caveats to the wedding photography shotlist that I must mention. Even if you keep in line with the above guidelines and only list out the shots your photographer wouldn’t know to take, your shotlist can still sometimes get out of control (where you have every possible iteration of a family or wedding party). You really don’t want too many shots on your list and the reason is because the more time spent on portraits or little details, the less time your photographer has to spend on capturing candids and little random moments. You will also get photo fatigue (it’s a real thing), so too many shots are not good. At the same time, you don’t want to cut your list down so much that you’ll be sad afterwards. Be reasonable and realistic and think about the photos and what you’d use them for after the wedding. The must haves tend to be photos that will get framed and put in an album, so think about it that way.
The second thing to keep in mind is that having a wedding photography shotlist doesn’t substitute having a conversation with the photographer beforehand to discuss the kind of shots you like and what you’re looking for. These are more general, but very important topics to discuss so that your photographer knows going into the wedding what is important to you.
(Photo credit: Bethany Carlson Photography)
Need some help with your wedding planning? Send us your questions!