ADVICE: You don't need - or want - to make a wedding day "shot list."

I have to be honest, I’m always looking for ways to be organized – and I LOVE MAKING LISTS. Grocery lists, goals lists, wish lists, bucket lists, to do lists…You get the idea. Making lists puts me at ease and helps me feel like I’ve got things under control.  If you’ve hired me to shoot your wedding, and you love making lists as much as I do - this blog post is for you.

NOTE: By “shot list,” I mean a comprehensive list of photos you would like. However, I DO need a list of family/group portraits that you want - and I walk clients through putting that list together.

First, consider this scenario:

The day has arrived. You are surrounded by people you love, and months of planning are unfolding around you. You look across the room at me, the photographer you researched, met with, and trust, and I am looking down at a shot list - missing all the magic that is happening in that moment.

Trust me, you don’t want that to happen. And while I completely understand the impulse to make a shot list (did I mention I love making lists?), instead, here are 5 things to do and consider:

1) COMMUNICATE SPECIFICS THAT ARE UNIQUE TO YOUR DAY

Communicate with me about “must have shots” and unique, special details. To make this easy, I will send you a questionnaire that covers ALL. THE. THINGS. Example of unique details: your aunt did the florals, your dad is reading from a book of poetry that he authored, you are wearing your grandfather’s watch, etc.

Also, an engagement shoot is a great way for us to get to know each other and to build your trust in me.

2) SCHEDULE TIME FOR PORTRAITS

Work with me to schedule time slots during your day for 1) your group/family shots and 2) portraits of you as a couple. If your portraits are rushed - you will look (and feel!) rushed - and you don't want that on such an important day!

Want help with scheduling? READ THIS POST.

Questions about group portraits? READ THIS POST.

3) INCLUDE A SECOND PHOTOGRAPHER

If you will have more than 100 guests at your wedding and/or are having your ceremony and reception at two different locations, I recommend including coverage by a second photographer. In fact, most of my packages include this!

4) TAKE A DEEP BREATH, AND KNOW THAT YOU ARE IN GREAT HANDS

Choosing to trust my experience and expertise gives gives YOU the opportunity to relax and enjoy your wedding.

5) STILL CONCERNED? Here’s an extensive list that covers the things I look out for:

GETTING READY

  • Detail shots (before they go on): dress, attire, jacket, tie, shoes, socks, jewelry, veil, watch, cuff links, something blue…
  • Rings, ring pillow/boxes, invitations, boutonniere, bouqs
  • Sentimental/custom items…family bible, heirloom rings, monogrammed handkerchief, etc
  • Attendant gifts
  • Partner gift/card exchange
  • Hair/makeup shots
  • Reflections in mirrors
  • Partner + attendants getting ready, laughing together, goofing off
  • Shots in special robes, shirts, socks…
  • Partner getting dressed with parents, main attendants
  • Putting on finishing touches (jewelry, watch, perfume, etc)
  • Toasts?
  • First look with attendants, parent?
  • Portraits of both partners, front, back, waiting, looking
  • Partner + attendants in huddle?

FIRST LOOK

  • Partner waiting
  • Over Partner B shoulder with Partner A walking
  • Reactions of both
  • Couple kissing
  • Couple looking at each other

PARTNER PORTRAITS (Individual)

  • Smiling, looking at camera
  • Looking off camera
  • Looking down at bouquet
  • Detail shots of flowers

COUPLES PORTRAITS (Together)

  • Arms around each other, looking at each other
  • Vertical full body
  • Vertical from hip up
  • Horizontal, wide angle full body
  • Horizontal hip up
  • Arms around each other smiling at camera
  • Vertical full body
  • Vertical from hip up
  • Horizontal, wide angle full body
  • Horizontal hip up
  • Holding hands in middle, both smiling at camera
  • Walking hand in hand towards camera
  • Walking hand in hand away from camera
  • Looking back at camera
  • Partner A + B cuddled up
  • Facing each other
  • Hands interlocked, looking into each other’s eyes
  • Arms around each other
  • Lean in for a kiss

GROUP PORTRAITS (CLICK HERE FOR A BLOG POST ON THIS.)

CEREMONY

  • Programs, décor, florals, etc.
  • Ceremony location from outside
  • Transportation, limo arrival
  • Attendants coming down the aisle
  • Flower kids, ring bearers
  • Partner coming down the aisle, back + front (where possible)
  • Partner + guest reactions
  • Attendants during ceremony
  • Wide shot of ceremony from back of space
  • Parents, grandparents seated, reactions
  • Guest reactions
  • Family, friends doing readings, singing songs, etc.
  • Musicians playing
  • Vow readings
  • Rings exchange
  • Kiss
  • Recessional + exit from the ceremony, bubbles, rice, carriage, etc.

COCKTAIL HOUR (when possible)

  • Decor, florals
  • Appetizers and special drinks being served
  • Signage
  • Bar area
  • Guest candids
  • Couple mingling
  • Wide shot of cocktail hour taking place

RECEPTION

  • Florals, name/place cards, table cards, centerpieces, candles, settings, etc.
  • Tables before guests arrive
  • Place setting overhead, angled
  • Cake detail, favors, gift/card box
  • Introductions
  • First dance
  • Toasts
  • Couple’s reaction during toasts
  • Plated dinner, bar items, napkins, etc.
  • Parent dances, formalities
  • Cake cutting, desserts
  • Dancing candids
  • Exterior of reception location
  • Wide shot of reception inside
  • Entertainment (band, DJ, musicians, etc.)