Are shot lists a good idea? I see this question floating around on Facebook and on forums all of the time so I thought I would give a bit of insight! A shot list is a sheet of specific images that you want your photographer to capture. It can be anything as general as ‘the overall reception space’ to ‘the groom looking at the bride walking down the aisle’. Couples put hours of work into planning their celebrations and just want to make sure everything is captured. Seems fair right? However, they might not be as necessary as you think… and could hinder your big day. So in short, my answer is no. Your wedding day is filled with people you love, high emotions and interactions that just can’t be planned. As much as we love to have the perfect schedule I’ve never witnessed a wedding day that runs according to one. That means a list of images you want captured shouldn’t be either.
GET IT RIGHT FROM THE START
When you hire a professional photographer you’re not only getting incredible images but also their experience, work style and rad personality! That’s a big decision. You’ve seen their portfolio, love their vision, and have asked all the questions you need to feel comfortable about picking them in the first place. You’re giving them your trust that they know what to capture. If they have been around the block they likely have a running shot list of images that they try to capture at all weddings. They know what kind of photographs to take that tell a cohesive story of your wedding. That means capturing you walking down the aisle, first kiss, donut wall and your bridesmaids getting ready together.
WELL… WHATS THE HARM?
If they have a strict list of images to capture you’re stopping them from having the freedom to see your wedding day as it unfolds… and in turn missing the emotional, happening-in-the-moment images that you will want hanging on your wall years down the road. Your photographer is left checking boxes off on a list while so much happiness is being missed around them. Whether you mean to or not a giant list communicates lack of trust to a professional. Lack of trust in their abilities is in turn stifling to their creativity and affects the entire reason you hired them.
Is it okay sometimes?
Absolutely! There are a couple of exceptions. The first is is during family formals. Prior to your wedding day you should chat with your photographer about who you want posed pictures with on the day of. Some couples want the entire extended family while others only want their parents, siblings and grandparents. This is a great time to make a list together and get all expectations on the table so you’re on the same page! Another reason to provide a small list would be if you have specific images that no one outside of your family would be aware of. Things like a shot of you and your friend who traveled all the way from Germany or the special necklace your grandma gave you that morning.
Unless its an exception like listed above I wholeheartedly believe the more trust (and less grip) you have in your photographer (if you hired a professional) the more incredible images you will get. Trust in our craft and experience allows freedom to really dive into your day and soak up every emotion.
Thanks for reading along! xoxo