You've put an incredible amount of work into planning your wedding. So, you obviously want to capture it in the best way possible. And while you trust your photographer, it's always smart to map out the pictures you especially want of your wedding. Creating a shot list and sharing it with your photographer is a win-win: it enables you to be certain that you'll get the specific pictures you've envisioned, and it makes your photographer's job a little easier, having instructions to work with. Not to mention, it gives them peace of mind knowing you'll be a happy client as long as the shot list is followed.
How to use a wedding photo shot list?
Select half a dozen photos that you must have and share them with your photographer in advance of your wedding day. That way they can make a note to be creative and capture the organic and fun scenes as they develop, while also making time for the images that you especially want.
Regardless of what you tell your photographer, you'll still get plenty of shots over the course of your day. But if there's anything, in particular, you've envisioned, then it's important to communicate that. Use our example shot list below as a general outline - and build off of it!
Invitation, program, special signs, & gifts
Outfit accessories like shoes, cuff links, or jewelry
Bouquet, corsages, boutonnieres
Bride(s) and bridesmaids getting their hair and makeup done
Wedding party having fun
Mother and bride/groom portraits
Father and bride/groom portraits
Couple alone for your first look
Bride(s) and bridesmaids/flower girls
Groom(s) and groomsmen/ring bearer
Venue shots including ceremony site, flowers, interior, and exterior details
Groom and groomsmen waiting inside the venue
Bridal party entrance
Bride(s) walking down the aisle
Father/mother giving the bride away
Exchanging of vows
Exchanging the rings
The first kiss as a married couple and the moment after
Signing the marriage certificate
The recessional (couple walking back up the aisle)
Couple with bridesmaids/groomsmen
Couple with the entire wedding party
Bride(s) with bridesmaids/maid of honor
Groom(s) and groomsmen/best man
Couple with any children
Couple with each set of parents
Couple with both sets of parents
Couple with siblings
Couple with close family members
Details and room decor shots, including table settings, place cards, favors, centerpieces, etc.
Wedding cake detail shots
Toasts and speeches
The first dance
Bride(s) dancing with father/groom(s) dancing with mother
Couple mingling with guests
Musicians, singers, DJ
“Nominate someone to help your photographer by grabbing all the right people for each shot. A family member in the wedding party will usually know everyone and can help wrangle guests!”
“A good photographer wants you to look your best, so they’ll keep an eye out for stray hairs or wilting flowers but ask someone in the wedding party to help too and give them an emergency kit with a mirror, lip stick, scissors, thread etc. just in case.”
“Listen to your photographer. They’ll know if the light’s too bright or if they need everyone to wait while someone moves out of the background of your shot. By the end of the day, you might be bored of being photographed (it happens) but they have the best intentions, so ask your guests to be patient – they’ll understand.”
It's important to know that your wedding shot list is only a guideline. Everyone's wedding day unfolds a little differently, so you might end up with slightly different (and lots more!) than what you imagine. But that's the beauty of what makes your day unique!