Shot list for my wedding – Should I have one?

What is a shot list anyway?

A shot list is a list of desired shots you want your photographer to capture. It can include details, getting ready, ceremony and any other shots you can think of for your wedding. It can be a form of sample photos (like this example on Pinterest), or just a simple word list like this list from Bridal Guide.

By the way, we think the Bridal Guide’s list is a very bad example to follow, and there are many sites that give similar examples. It is long and unnecessary. We agree with a photographer’s comment: “Giving a photographer a list like this would be like giving a chef at a restaurant detailed instructions on how to make a dish. We are professionals for a reason, and you chose us for a reason.”


Should you have a shot list?

We believe that a shot list can contribute to your wedding success as we talked in this post: 5 things that make your wedding successful. So the point is “How to make a good shot list?”

  • Short: with about 5 special shots you like. The shorter the list is, the easier it is for your photographer to remember and do. Don’t give them an unnecessarily long list of 20+ shots. This keeps your photographer from being creative (you booked your photographer for his/her style and creativity, not for the ability to follow a shot list).
  • Practical: the photos must be reasonable and doable. If your wedding is in a downtown area, a shot in a vineyard is irrelevant. If you want a sunset shot, but you don’t have time for one, putting it on the list is unnecessary.
  • Something that is outside of your photographer’s normal work. If you want to have a few portraits like the fashion-magazine style and your photographer doesn’t normally do that, discuss with him/her first.

A shot list requires a lot of searching in order to make it work. Also, you need to discuss with your photographer regarding a list. Some photographers don’t accept a list and want absolute freedom, while some are willing to follow a short list. Regardless, talk to your photographer first to understand his/her perspective on this before making one. Above all, trust your photographer!

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