Should you give your wedding photographer a shot list? Following advice you read online or in various magazines, you may develop a pretty detailed… and lengthy list. It might include things like:
- Putting on the garder
- Granma walking down the isle
- Dad removing my veil
- Exchange of rings
- The kiss
- The first dance
- The dollar dance
- The toast
- Cutting the cake
- …and so on…
We all understand wanting to make sure no shot goes missing, but do you want or need to give your photographer a long list of must-have-shots? Or can you trust your wedding photographer to be experienced enough to take all the important shots at the important moments? Some questions to consider:
- Do you want your wedding photos to look like someone else’s wedding shot list, or do you want your photographer to capture and portray the unique and special elements of your wedding day?
- Do you want to constrain her with a checklist, or do you want your wedding photographer to be open and on the look out for special images, whether or not they are on a list?
- Do you want the stress of having to check every shot off a list, or do you want to have fun and let your photographer capture you and your guests enjoying yourselves?
- Do you want every shot to be arraged or pre-planned, or do you want spontaneous, genuine moments captured as they happen in front of an unhindered camera?
Take a look at the next few shots, and ask yourself whether they happened because they were on a list.
Here’s my recommendation: come up with a short list of photos that you are pretty sure are unusual enough, or special enough that they merit your photographer’s attention. Think, “this is unique to me and my family, and he’s probably never photographed something like it.” Go ahead and also specify the list of formal shots — if you and your photographer have agreed to get family group shots, etc. — that you absolutely need captured, and still keep that list short enough that you won’t spend the bulk of your wedding day posing with groups of people. Then relax, have fun, and let your wedding day and the photographs that come with it happen. You’ll enjoy your day and your photos a lot more.
What then is the best wedding shot list? The one that frees you, your guests and your wedding photographer to live in and capture each moment as it comes.
Eduardo Suastegui serves the Los Angeles, California area with wedding photography that seeks to capture the heart and spirit in each image to tell your story.