Should you Give your Wedding Photographer a Shot List?

May 06, 2015  •  6 Comments

Many sites like the Knot.com tell you that you should provide your photographer with a shot list.  These sample shot lists include things like the kiss and the first dance.  If your photographer needs reminders to get those shots, you should probably fire them and get a new one.

You hire your photographer because you love their style and because you trust them to capture these important moments.  If you give your photographer a shot list with all the basic shots, they’re going to lose their creativity and just take pictures to check them off a list.  I can guarantee you, that is not what you want from your photographer. Chances are that they've shot hundreds of weddings.  They know what to get.  These lists distract your photographer from getting the natural moments and the creative art that you fell in love with when you decided to hire them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not recommending that you never give the photographer a shot list; however, they don’t need a 2 page list of basic shots.  If you want to give a shot list, have a family shot list for the family formal photography section of the wedding.  As a photographer, I get the basic family groupings and then ask the bride and groom if there are any further family breakdowns they want to get.  That’s just fine for most people.  But if you have a large family, or interesting family dynamics (such as divorced or remarried parents) and want to make sure you don’t miss certain groupings for the family photos, then make a list of each family grouping that is important to you.  Remember that family formal photography time is taking away from the time you and your photographer could be doing other things, so determine how many family groupings are important to you.  If family formals are important and you want to get every small grouping, make sure you set apart enough time for that, and that you have a list prepared so that you get everything you want.  If you just want the main family groupings and a few smaller groupings, a list is typically not necessary.

What about a list of shots from Pinterest?  Sometimes brides will come in with 3+ pages of have to have shots they saw on Pinterest.  Some photographers refuse to look at these shots at all, because they refuse to recreate other people’s work.  As an artist, some consider it insulting.  What I recommend is that you find the shots that you love the most and condense it into no more than 10 poses and ask the photographer if they can capture those shots and that you’re fine if they put their own creative spin on it.  If you have more than 10 have to have shots, again, the photographer will be going from a checklist and losing the creativity that you hired them for.  If you’ve hired a professional whose style and shots you love, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting tons of shots that you love.  You chose your photographer for a reason.  Just relax and trust them.

 


Article by Trina Heppner with PS Photography & Video.  Servicing the Greater Seattle area and worldwide.  http://psphotography-video.com


Comments

Courtney(non-registered)
I've been fortunate enough to work with clients that trust my work. I'm always willing to honor a few special requests (such as one bride who wanted to do the same pose from her parents' wedding) but not working off a shot list helps me to be more creative :)
Courtney(non-registered)
Agreed! Trust is key :)
Alicia Quintanar(non-registered)
Wise words! I tell my brides that if they're going to send me Pinterest inspiration, that they should send me photos that make them "feel something". Inspiration is not copying :)
Chantal(non-registered)
I totally 100% agree with this!! you hired a photographer because of their style and their ability so its best to let them do what they do best! Great write up!!
Alex(non-registered)
Such great advice! And this is why it's so important for brides to hire a photographer that they TRUST!
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