Not all shots at a wedding are measured in ounces. In fact, most of the shots you’ll be doing on your wedding day will be with a photographer, not your college drinking buddy. Here are our reasons why you should discuss a shot list with your photographer and recommendations for what to include.
What is a shot list?
A shot list is a list of photos that a photographer plans to take at the wedding. Most professional photographers have a standard list created with their style and preferred timeline in mind.
Why You Should Talk About The Shot List
Knowing if you’re doing a first look can make a big difference for your wedding timeline. Doing a first look opens the door to taking some portrait shots earlier in the day which reduces the time needed for photos after the ceremony during cocktail hour. At Four Oaks Manor, the 45 minutes we typically allot for post-ceremony photos can become 30 minutes if you do a first look. This shortens cocktail hour and gets dinner started earlier.
Also, if you’ve hired the photographer for less time than the combined length of your getting ready time, the ceremony, and full reception, you may need to adjust what photos you want or the time of certain events. For example, maybe you plan to do fewer getting ready shots, or you have a mock grand exit to capture that moment before the photographer leaves.
2. Day-of Flow
As you can see, your photo choices can change the flow of your wedding day. Making sure you, the photographer, and the event coordinator are on the same page is critical to making the day flow smoothly. Having a general idea of what photos you’re taking and when can help your event coordinator gauge how much time is needed at certain points in the night. Clear communication helps avoid awkward delays during transitions.
3. Making It Personal
While chances are that you picked your photographer by their style and the types of shots they do, it's still a good idea to clarify any shots or poses you’d really like to include. See a really cool idea on Pinterest or Instagram? Screenshot it to show to your photographer. Your wedding album should reflect you as a couple, so don’t be afraid to ask for photos that feel more personal.
There are a few basic sets of shots that most wedding photographers will include. We broke them down and included some of our own favorite examples!
Getting ready photos capture the moments shared between the couple and their wedding party. Most photographers also include moments between the bride and her parents. These photos can also include first looks if the couple choose to!
These are the action or in-the-moment shots a photographer grabs during the ceremony. Usually, photographers snap a photo of each set of people walking down the aisle and general scenes throughout the ceremony. Special moments include the groom seeing his bride, special ceremonies, and the ending kiss. It's also common for photographers to ask the couple to kiss midway down the aisle for a photo that includes their cheering guests, so keep your ears open to your photographer's cues during the recessional!
Because the photographer is moving around frequently and trying to get the best angles of each moment, it's not a bad idea to ask guests to keep their phones away during the ceremony. Couples often choose to include a chalkboard sign at the entrance of the ceremony area, a brief announcement from the officiant when everyone is seated, or both to help remind guests. Nothing is quite as frustrating for your photographer as finding that perfect angle only to realize someone has their phone in the shot.
Portraits can happen at different times depending on your preferences. Most commonly, these photos happen after the ceremony. After the recessional, the officiant will dismiss your guests to cocktail hour. If family members did not recess with the wedding party, the officiant will ask them to remain seated. Once the area is clear, the wedding party and family members will return to the ceremony area for photos.
Usually, photographers start with the family portraits, then the wedding party, and end with the couple. As each group is finished, they’ll be excused to enjoy the cocktail hour refreshments. Couples with large wedding parties or families will need to be conscious of how much time they need for these photos. Talk with your photographer and event coordinator about allocating extra time for cocktail hour or doing some portraits before guests arrive if necessary.
Want More?: Looking for poses for your wedding party? Photographer Tiffany Marie shared a few of her favorites!
For many weddings, the reception will be the biggest part timewise. The reception features multiple highlight moments such as announcements, toasts, special dances, and cake cutting. It is also the best time for your photographer to capture moments featuring your guests. Communicate to your photographer how you want to remember your reception. Do you want elegant dinner photos? Partying on the dance floor? Intimate family smiles and laughter? Giving your photographer a heads up on how you want the wedding album to feel let’s them decide what moments to capture outside of those highlights.
It’s certainly been trendy to have flashy grand exits. We’ve seen our fair share of sparklers these last few years, but that's not the only way to end the night. This picture-perfect moment typically signals the end of the wedding, but couples with more limited time with their photographer can discuss holding a mock grand exit instead.
Detail shots can include a wide range of photos. From aisle décor to your dress, these shots help preserve the little things you might forget later on. They help round out an album by filling in the setting that all those moments happened in. They’re also fun for adding variety to your social media posts, giving shout outs to any vendors that made the day happen, or even helping a friend plan their own wedding!
Like we said earlier, your wedding album should reflect your personality as a couple. If you’re looking for inspiration, Pinterest, Instagram, and your photographer’s gallery are great places to start. Just keep in mind that your venue, attire, the weather, and a number of other factors might affect any intricate or difficult shots. Again, communicate with your photographer to find out what’s possible or to get new ideas!
Have questions about other parts of your wedding day experience? Check out our blog's Wedding Planning Tips page! Or interested in having your wedding at Four Oaks Manor? Reach out to us below!
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Header Image: Zelia Zhou Photography