Should I have a shot list for my wedding?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions we have. But what is a shot list anyway?
A shot list is a list of desired shots you want your photographers 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 Bridal Guide’s list is a very bad example to follow, and there are many sites that give similar example. 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.”
However, 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 photographers to remember and do. Don’t give them unnecessarily long list of 20+ shots. This keeps your photographers from being creative and do their style (you booked them for their style and their creativity, not for their 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 vine yard is irrelevant. If you want to have a sunset shot but your timeline doesn’t have time for one, putting a sunset shot in the list is unnecessary.
- Something that is outside of your photographers’ normal work: if you want to have a few portraits like fashion-magazine style and your photographers don’t normally do that, discuss with them and put it in the list if they can do that.
Shot list does require a lot of searching in order to make it work for you and your photographers. 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 photographers first to understand their perspective on this before making one. But above all, trust your photographers!