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Should You Spend Time Creating a Wedding Shot List? Cleveland Photographers Weigh In

0.7.15.2015 Wedding Shot List

If you’ve read any wedding blogs, magazines, or planning resources lately, you might find that when you get to the photography section there’s a suggestion to provide your photographer with a shot list. (Also here, but I love this take on it.) Pinterest scrolls on for days on the topic, and the Google hits number in the 12 *millions*. It’s sound advice, given that photographers may not yet know the VIPs of your wedding (e.g. great grandma Ginger), but does it really help? Or can couples save time by skipping this step?

Here’s what a few professional photographers (the first 3 based in Cleveland, Ohio) have to say about the wedding shot list:

Adam & Mary, Belle Ombre Photography

Belle Ombre Photography 071515

“We encourage our clients to share images that they love, and with Pinterest and Instagram there’s certainly not a shortage of inspiration.  Most couples choose Belle Ombre based on the feeling they get when viewing our work.  It’s important to understand that the feeling an artist creates comes from the heart, and it’s that spontaneous creativity that drew you to the artist. Your wedding photographer is your personal artist for the day, there to create the original art that you fell in love with, no list required.”

Emily, Emily Millay Photography

Emily Millay Photography 07.15.15

“I think it is great when my couples have a shot list. However I try to encourage them to think outside the standard “list”. I know to take pictures of the dress, shoes and bouquet. I like for them to include the details that might not be found on a standard wedding day shot list, I think its a great start, but there is always so much more to it! Details on the something old, borrowed and blue. Where did they come from, who did they belong to?  Details that might not be as obvious at first glance. For example, the lace on your veil was from your mother’s wedding gown. That way those things don’t get left unnoticed! But yes, I think having a list is a great way to insure that everything gets captured on your wedding day.”

Ted & Rachel, Linczak Photography

Linczak Photography 07.15.15

“Shot lists are a wonderful idea for the family formal photographs, and we encourage all of our brides to be as organized as possible with them!  The list can help us stay on task during this time and make sure we don’t miss anyone.  For the rest of the day, a shot list can actually hinder us as photographers from being able to capture the day as it unfolds. This is because we are chained to a list of photos that may not even have the chance of happening without being forced.  We would much rather our brides choose us based on our style and then trust us to capture their day the way we are trained and knowledgeable to do!”

Meghan, Meghan Andrews Photography

(based in Toronto, Canada, and travels all over)

Meghan Andrews Photography 07.15.15

“I personally adore the shot list and think it’s a necessity when planning a wedding, especially for the photographer! It helps keep things organized and on time, it helps with the family photo list and makes certain we don’t miss any important shots. For photographers we also need important addresses and timing of certain things or we can’t show up without that vital information. I actually have it in my contract that a shot list needs to be completed, and I always send the couple my own version to be completed a week before the wedding.”

Sara, Sara J. Williams Photography

(based in Eatonton, Georgia, and travels all over)

Sara J Williams Photography 07.15.15

“It is very difficult for me to work from an extensive shot list because it places extra stress to get everything on the list instead of being allowed to focus on the unique and special moments that will unfold over the course of your wedding day. It is more important for you to communicate to me the moments that you would most like to have photographed and the types of images you are drawn to, such as candid or posed, fun or romantic, soft or dramatic, color or black and white. This type of communication provides me with direction and parameters to give you the images you will love, while also allowing me to exercise my creative talent and bring my own unique style and eye to the day. Because after all, wasn’t there a certain something about my images that you were drawn to in the first place?”

 Ambreen, Shakar Photography

(based in Dallas, TX, and travels worldwide)

Shakar Photography 07.15.15
“As a photographer, I generally know which shots are most critical not to miss. What I do recommend is that a bride delegate her maid of honor or a family member to make a list of the family members that we cannot miss in the formals. This list to me is more important than the list of the shots that must be taken. A photographer who specializes in weddings is hired not only for photography skills but the experience and knowledge of weddings, so the best thing is to communicate with the photographer, look at their albums and portfolio of weddings from beginning to end, and it will give the bride a better idea of the level of the photographer’s expertise to capture everything, and of course having an expert planner as well will narrow your chances of anything being missed. So must you have a extensive shot list of exactly which shots should be captured that day, no! Just keep your photographer and planner well informed of everything going on and make sure they know you and what is important to you.”

So there you have it! Ask your photographer whether they prefer to receive a shot list or not, or if they use one of their own – it could save you hours of planning time!

Are you a photographer or couple with a thought to add to the conversation? Share below!

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Lisa Paladin

I’m Lisa, the head dreamer & schemer of Event Plan-It. Let’s get coffee and chat about your ideas for an EPIC event!

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