The venue is booked, the linen color is finalized and the wedding invitations have been sent. Now it’s time to start thinking about those smaller details that will make wedding day run smoother. One of those big things? The wedding photography shot list.


Of course, your wedding planner and photographer are great resources for this list! But as you set out to draft it, here are some things to think about…


What not to include

This may seem like a weird place to start but trust us, it will save you a ton of time and ensure that the most important shots don't get lost in a long list. You hired your wedding photographer for a reason. They know the basics of the wedding day timeline and the big moments on wedding day. So, you don’t need to include a crazy long list of all the obvious moments… you know what we are talking about: the dress, the kiss, your bridesmaids (the list goes on and on).

If it’s something that happens at every wedding, your photographer will know to capture it (after all, it’s their job!).


The personal touches

Did you sew a piece of your grandmother’s dress into yours or include a family heirloom locket on your bouquet? These personal touches are things that make your wedding day special. Make sure to call these items out when you are talking with your photographer and videographer so they don’t miss them in the hustle of wedding day.


The unusual moments

Are you planning a flash mob introduction, a choreographed first dance or a rap for a toast? Make sure you include these in your wedding shot list and when they will take place in your wedding day timeline so your photographer and videographer are properly prepared to capture the moment. 


The absolute must-have shots

Been admiring that photo of your grandmother looking in a mirror on her wedding day since you were young? That’s definitely something you want to call out as a must-have shot. Other examples include the kiss under the veil, a group shot of your sorority sisters and a first look with dad. Try to keep these must-have wedding shots to a minimum (around 10 max) so your photographers can focus on capturing the moments as they unfold on wedding day.


The family photos

This is where a shot list is a 100% necessary! It can be a stressful time as everyone wants to congratulate the newlyweds but you are often crunched for time to get all the shots done. Having a clearly defined family photo shot list will keep everything moving quickly and efficiently so you can get on to the party. Have your day-of coordinator corral the family into groups so they are ready for their picture.


Keep in mind, a few tricks to make it run smoothly:

  • Do the individuals with the bride and/or groom before the ceremony to save time. If you're having a first look, take your couple portraits before the ceremony as well. 
  • Write out the list with first names of everyone included in the shot. Make sure your photographer or planner will be calling out the names and preventing any extra shots from being added (unless you want them of course!).
  • Typically, you include: parents, immediate family, grandparents and siblings on each side plus possibly a combined family photo.
  • Try to keep the number of large group photos to a minimum since these photos can take anywhere from three to five minutes to pose. It’s often easier to capture extended family photos at the reception when your MC can round everyone up on the dance floor with one simple announcement.

Work on the list with your families and make sure to share it with your photographer, videographer and planner at least a month in advance for their feedback. Share important details such as if you have a blended family or a grandparent who will need to be seated during photos. All of this helps your wedding day team know exactly what you want and need on your big day, especially when it comes to the wedding photo shot list! Good luck! 


Photo courtesy of Alicia Barrington Photography