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Do you need a wedding photographer shot list in 2023?

August 25, 2023

Why I believe you don’t need a wedding photographer shot list in 2023.

Here’s the thing. This opinion may cause controversy, but hear me out. 

Apart from the family formal list (specific groupings of specific people whose relationship nuances your photographer may be unfamiliar with), if you’ve chosen the right photographer for your wedding, you likely don’t need to micromanage them with a shot list. 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. My dream clients are the ones who enthusiastically exclaim, “Paint me like one of your french girls!” They see my work, relate to the emotions evoked in the imagery I consistently produce, and can see themselves within that body of work. From the start, we’re a good fit, and I’m able to produce my best work because they inherently trust me. 

The lines of communication are constantly open for my clients. Using my pre-wedding questionnaire, I will collect all of the information about pertinent wedding day details. Using your grandmother’s cathedral vail? You bet, I’m going to know about it prior to the day of the event, and will also write adequate time into the day of timeline to ensure bridal portraits feature this gossamer heirloom. 

On your wedding day I will rely on my experience and artistic vision to be my guide. I have developed a formulated approach, to ensure that all of the moments key to the narrative of your wedding day are documented, while also being guided through each event by my two secret weapons…my intuition and emotional intelligence.

This allows me to anticipate a moment before it happens. My natural empathy combined with the connection I build with my clients allows me to sense the emotion in the room…waiting for moments I know are about to take place in front of me before they actually occur. 

Based on my many years of experience, there are always four types of images I am looking to capture on your wedding day. 

Environmental Images that form part of my internal wedding photographer shot list

Images that portray the setting for the narrative of the day. 

These are the images that are going to transport you back to your wedding day, wide-angle shots that are going to document the setting and beautiful location of your wedding venue. 

Imagine ethereal images of you and your partner walking through a standing looking out over the Blue Ridge Mountains. The grand colonial architecture from your wedding venue or the lush foliage and secret gardens where you and your partner can share an intimate moment together.

These images provide a sense of place and set the scene, allowing you to be transported back to the atmosphere and mood of the day.

Image of some loungers by a pool, surrounded by foliage. Capturing the mood as part of a wedding photographer shot list.
Image of white chairs looking out over a vineyard - to capture an environmental image on wedding photographer shot list

Aesthetic Images – are to any wedding photographer shot list

Images that communicate the intentionality of the design of the day. 

I want to capture the beauty and artistry from your wedding day. These are all the detail shots highlighting your dresses delicate lace and fabric covered buttons, your bouquet filled with soft shades of the cafe au lait dahlias you insisted on including because they are your favorite, or the carefully sourced fine linens your stylist had custom made for your wedding day.

These details are really important, as they all add to your artistic vision and the hours that have gone into planning the perfect setting for your wedding day. These are the images that will add a sense of luxury and elegance to your wedding album.

You are definitely going to want to see the moment all the candles are lit on the tablescapes that you have been meticulously designing for months, the hand deckled place card, with your guests names in gorgeous hand calligraphy.

Image of wedding day vow books made from handmade paper and bound with blue ribbon
Image of a wedding Invitation with blue text and a detailed chandelier on the right - used to show aesthetic images for wedding photographer shot list

Energetic Images – one of my favourite things to capture

Images with movement, that portray the way the events felt as they unfolded

These images are going to capture the emotion, and energy of your wedding day. The candid shots of laughter, or the moment your grandmother bursts into tears as you say I do, your Dad toasting you and your partner as he lovingly shares funny moments from your childhood, or the first time he met your partner.

Your first kiss, your last dance and every moment in between. 

These are the timeless memories that you are going to want to look back on one day, to remember all the spontaneous expressions of love between you, your partner and all the people you love the most.

Image of a bride and her five bridesmaids wearing form black dresses laughing - this is an example of an energetic shot from a wedding photographer shot list
Image of a bride and her mother touching heads for an intimate moment together
Image of a groom wearing a blue suit looking lovingly at his wife. This is showing an example of an energetic image from a wedding photographer shot list

Personality Images – the heart and soul of a wedding photographer shot list

Images Authentic to the people within them

These are the heart and soul of your wedding collection and the images I love to include in your wedding album. They capture the essence of who you are as a couple, and your interactions with loved ones. 

These are the images that showcase your quirks as a couple, how your partner gently whispers in your ear, or reaches for the small of your back to guide you into the room. 

It also documents the personalities of those closest to you, if your partner’s father is a real character with a big hearty laugh, I want to document that. If your sister wears her heart on her sleeve and expresses emotion and joy through her facial expressions, I want to capture that.

These are the images that add depth and authenticity to your wedding story, and create lasting memories. 

Black and White image of a bride dancing at her wedding date reception showcasing a personality image from a wedding photographer shot list

As a fine art wedding photographer – I need space to curate tangible memoirs from your wedding day. An official wedding photographer shot list can often stifle creativity and so I choose to focus on ensuring I capture all four types of images to guarantee you have a beautiful wedding album collection to hand down to future generations. 

There are images that need to be captured at every wedding – for example, portraits and interactions with the key players for each couple, each ceremonial event as it happens, as well as anything the wedding hosts paid for or intentionally curated should always be present in the final collection of images. 

But most importantly I need my couples to trust my artistic vision and intuition. That’s what I’m here for, to use my professional knowledge and experience to make informed decisions to serve you to the best of my ability on your wedding day. 

If you are interested in working with me, please get in touch via the contact form on my website. We can then schedule an initial consultation to discover if we can bond over our mutual love of Zimmerman floral dresses and a chilled french rosé.. Hope to meet you soon x

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