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Expert April 2021

Let's Talk Shot Lists

Tiger Bride, on September 14, 2020 at 3:43 PM Posted in Planning 0 8
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Did you give your photographer a shot list? How many pictures did it have on it? Did you make any special requests, and if so, how many?

I am a bit nervous about our photos (though I tend to be a worrier/overplanner by nature). Our photog is very flexible and accommodating (e.g., contract doesn't give a set number of hours, because it's your wedding day and he will be there as early or late as needed, he was great with postponing, etc.). I like his galleries but I've seen other photos on Instagram, Pinterest, etc. from other photographers that I'd like to get that I am not sure he would. Nothing super strange or off the wall, just particular angles and poses.

Enter the shot list...but I've heard mixed reviews on this; some photographers say it hinders their creativity. I just don't want to miss something or be wanting something he doesn't know about.

Did you give your photographers a shot list? How many photos did it have on it? Did they receive it well?

8 Comments

Latest activity by Emily, on September 14, 2020 at 9:54 PM
  • Alyssa
    Dedicated August 2021
    Alyssa ·
    • Flag
    I am getting my photographer a short list of what the pictures I want and some ideas and inspiration it’s not such as a he take these it’s more of a vision on what type of board you want and how you would like your photos at the end of the day you are paying them so you can give them advice or ideas that they can jump off of. they won’t sit there and look at it individual photo OK we’re creating this one and then this one they are just gonna jump off of it which is OK. it won’t hurt to give them ideasSmiley smile
    • Reply
  • Jennifer
    Beginner October 2020
    Jennifer ·
    • Flag
    My photographer took many unflattering photos of me eating extremely spicy foods (hot wings, jalapeño poppers etc.) my face was beet red and I had a noticeably sweaty upper lip. In retrospect I would’ve gotten a different photog obviously, but would also probably remove the wings, poppers, and ghost pepper bar from the menu. Hoping to spare other brides. Yours always — jenn
    • Reply
  • Eri
    Super October 2020
    Eri ·
    • Flag

    I would ask if he works with specific shot lists. If he's been super chill, though, it sounds like he'd probably be fine with it.

    If you want to provide a list of family groups that you want pictures with, that's totally reasonable; in general I think photographers are fine with this type of shot list.

    I thought about giving my photographer a more specific one, mostly because I really like the heart hands on the butt shot (lol), but I don't think I will - or if anything, I'll just tell her about that one pose. She already knows what kind of vibe I'm going for and what I really love; we looked through a photo book together from my venue and are definitely on the same page.

    Now if you've only got a handful of shots in mind, it's probably fine either way. I'm not sure at what point the list becomes too much, but I thought this perspective was interesting:
    "Wedding days are chaotic. Things go wrong. Emotions run high. When you give a photographer a shot list for the wedding, you are doing two things. First, you are forcing them to capture contrived shots / setups that aren’t naturally occurring. These photos never look good. They feel fake because they are fake. The second thing that shot lists do is force the photographer to be buried in a piece of paper, making sure they check all the boxes. What a photographer should be doing is staying present in every moment, ready to shoot and document things as they happen. These are the photographs you will cherish."
    ^ from https://theblacktux.com/blog/shouldnt-give-wedding-photographer-shot-list/
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  • Alyssa
    Expert December 2021
    Alyssa ·
    • Flag
    Look at their portfolio of work. A good photographer won’t need a shot list. If there are a few must have shots, okay, but let them do their thing instead of nit picking their entire flow.
    • Reply
  • Yasmine
    Rockstar October 2020
    Yasmine ·
    • Flag
    I’m not giving a shot list I just want my photographer to take “off guard” photos of me (obviously) but also some of me with my son ❤️
    • Reply
  • Givemeallthepups
    Expert February 2020
    Givemeallthepups ·
    • Flag
    I just gave our photographer the different groupings (immediate family, extended family, college friends,etc) that we wanted.
    • Reply
  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·
    • Flag
    We have a huge family and some odd dynamics. Daughter gave her photographer a shot list of group photos she wanted (e.g., cousins on mom’s side, etc.) as he wouldn’t intuitively know that. For those photos he asked her to identify a “photo wrangler” he could call on/count on to make sure all the right people were is those shots. She asked her two aunts to fill that role and gave them detailed lists of who should be in which group pics — that helped a lot to move things along. Her venue also had a ton of specific pics from past weddings she looked through for inspiration — like the wedding dress hanging over the double staircase and a couple’s shots at the waterfall — that she sent to photographer so he could plan for some specifics that matched what she wanted. The rest she left up to him and he did an amazing job! In total she got ~1100+ edited photos and there was very little that she wanted and didn’t get. If the photographer isn’t already familiar with the venue, you might see if they’d be willing to do a walk-through so you can talk about options ahead of time. Daughter’s photographer had never shot at her venue before, but he met us there about a yr before the wedding at the same time as the ceremony to talk about where the light was best, where he’d like to shoot first look, etc. That was a huge help.
    • Reply
  • Emily
    Expert September 2020
    Emily ·
    • Flag
    I provided a list of the groups of people I was hoping to get photos of/ with. I did ask to keep things pretty brief/ not a fan of my face at side angles...and I'm pretty sure he just did whatever he's comfortable doing normally, which I guess is doing loads of side angles and taking up the full hour. 😂
    I'm hoping there will be some good shots in there, but I don't think a more detailed shot list would've helped.
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