A little part of me dies inside every time I read in a wedding magazine or on a bridal blog that you should give your photographer a shot list. Am I being melodramatic? Maybe. But here are my thoughts.
If you have hired myself or another professional to shoot your wedding, and by professional, I mean someone who shoots weddings as their main photography income (as opposed to landscape or commercial photography), then the answer is a firm NO. As a professional wedding photographer, I know how a wedding runs and this shot list is practically ingrained in to my subconscious. I know that shots I’m expected to get but I also know that most couples love the shots of those spontaneous and unplanned moments. Put a detailed shot by shot checklist in my hands and I’ll be too busy ticking off each shot to notice what is going on around me, like a flower girl having a hilarious tantrum or your grandma having a sneeky play with the photobooth you’ve set up when she thinks nobody is looking. If you’ve taken the step to hire me to capture this once in a lifetime day for you, I know you’ve made this decision with careful consideration, and that you trust me to capture your day in a totally unique way.
Whilst I do not need a shot list, there are some things I do like to know in advance, and I’ll ask you to tell me about these on your pre-wedding questionnaire. These things include:
- A list of the group shots that you would like to have along with names of the people in each shot.
- If you have any special heirloom items, such as a locket or vintage hankerchiefs that you want photographing.
- If you are planning speeches, throwing a bouquet or any other events that might happen later in the evening, and when you expect these to happen.
- Any special family situations such as separated parents
- How much time you have set aside for portraits and if you have a location in mind.
If you’ve not hired a professional wedding photographer, then YES, give them a shot list. If you don’t want to be disappoined with the pictures you get, and even then there are no guarantees, then make sure you tell them exactly what you expect them to capture for you.