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5 Reasons Why You Should Never Give Your Photographer a Shot List


If you've never hired a professional photographer before you may feel inclined to provide them with a wedding photo list, often sourced from Pinterest or Google, in advance of your wedding. We understand the desire to do this, however, we have 5 important reasons why you shouldn’t ever do this.

Mahlia Dooley - Ivory Door Studio

1. Do You Trust Your Photographer?

Assuming you’ve already booked your photographer, you trust them right?

Hopefully you went through a rigorous vetting process, checking reviews and consulting with your Weddings & Events by Raina planner, to make sure you picked the right photographer who not only fits your budget and takes photos that you love, but also someone who's personality you click with. If this is the case then you shouldn't need to provide any significant direction to your photographer. Trust them. They're professionals. They know what they're doing.

Ardee Chua - Ardee Chua Photography

2. The Reality Of Wedding Photo Lists.

It’s okay if you don't really know what you’re doing when you’re booking a wedding photographer. Your Weddings & Events by Raina planner would be more than happy to guide you through the process. Now, if your parents got married decades ago, it is likely that they will ask you whether you’ve prepared your shot list for your photographer. They probably had to give their photographer a wedding photo list, but that was back in the days before digital cameras. Photographers who exclusively shot film would work off a tight list of prearranged portraits since they were limited to a certain number of photos. Now that nearly all photographers shoot digitally, wedding photography is no longer about prearranged, staged photos anymore...and thank goodness, right? Who doesn't love how candids allow for the entire story of your wedding day unfold.

Lesli Emmetts - Divine Images

3. Your Wedding Is Different Than Everyone Else’s.

Think about how many variables there are on a wedding day. Now, for the harsh reality...the photos you love on Pinterest are probably not achievable on your wedding day, however, that is not to say that you cannot provide them to your photographer for inspiration! Pinterest photos are often taken during styled shoots where planners, cake artists, florist and photographers are working within a well controlled environment to create these beautiful images for your inspiration. On your wedding day, the lighting will be different, the weather, the location, the venue itself. You won’t have the same dress or outfit, hair, makeup. The list of variables goes on. Wedding days are not so easily controllable. Even if your photographer took that Pinterest image you love themselves, it can still be tricky to recreate at a different wedding at the same venue.

John Myers - John Myers Photography & Videography

4. Shot Lists Put Unnecessary Pressure On You And Your Photographer.

Wedding days fly by in the blink of an eye. You and your spouse will go from one setting to the next with people coming at you all day from all angles for all sorts of reasons. Your photographer will be following the action throughout the day, capturing everything so that you can remember every single special moment. From time to time, they may steal you away for couples portraits, and of course, group photos, but for the most part you’ll want to enjoying your wedding day as best you can. Now imagine that you've given your photographer a detailed list of photos they have to make sure they complete before the end of your event. They (and the two of you) will be entirely preoccupied trying to get all the images on your list all the while missing the genuine moments that make your wedding unique.

Deb Scally - Deb Scally Photography

5. The Good Kind Of Wedding Photo Shot List.

Now, we certainly aren't telling you to not provide any kind of list at all. Every couple should make a short list before their wedding day for the group photos. This is simply just a list of people who must be included in those photos. Beyond the group photo lists, photographers are always open to suggestions, but first talk to your photographer beforehand about what kind of photos you’d like to have. Make suggestions and explain what is important to you and why. Then, let that guide your photographer, rather than dictating shot by shot what they should take. Don’t send them photos from someone else’s wedding unless there is something about the photo you'd like as inspiration...for example, a photo of a grandma, mother and bride all showing off their wedding rings. Discuss these inspiration shots with your photographer and see what is possible. Just prepare yourself for the idea that what you are hoping for might not be possible on your wedding day.

In the end, if you trust your photographer to produce photos that you love then just let them do what they do best. Ultimately, for all the planning and research you can do, you won’t know what your wedding will look like until it happens. Just as long as you have the right photographer, your photos will be much better than you could have imagined because they won’t be like anyone else’s...they’ll be your photos, taken at your wedding, and we are sure you will love them!

Our featured photographers...

Ivory Door Studio

Divine Images

Ardee Chua Photography

Deb Scally Photography

John Myers Photography & Videography



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