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For Brides, For Photographers

April 25, 2018

Why I Don’t Ask for a Shot List

As your wedding day approaches, it’s only natural to hop on over to Pinterest to pin some of your last minute details and favorite poses for portraits. I get it, I really do! I used to be that girl, and before I even owned a camera, my Pinterest board was FILLED with photographs that I loved.

Now that I’m on the other side of the camera, my perspective on this has changed a bit. There’s a reason why I don’t ask my brides for shot lists (well multiple! Haha).

When you hired your photographer, you hired that person for their ability to take beautiful portraits, including their posing style. Hopefully you browsed through some galleries or blogs to get an idea of what your session might look like. Just like editing, posing is just as important to the photographer’s overall style. Some photographers are more rigid in their posing, some are very playful and care-free. Some photographers give lots of direction, while others just let the couple naturally interact. It’s all part of their posing technique, and part of the reason why their images caught your eye in the first place.

By giving your photographer a list of poses, this interrupts their natural workflow, and doesn’t give you the same experience. What was once seamless, now has the potential to become very awkward.

On a wedding day, it’s our job to capture the traditional portraits, but also anticipate and capture the moments that not everyone else sees. Whether it’s the bride blotting away a tear before she walks down the aisle, or the intimate embrace with her mother after the last button is buttoned on her dress. These are moments that naturally happen on a wedding, but they may not always occur. If you hand your photographer a specific shot list of items like “father holding back tears just before the first look” or “giving your mom a hug right before you walk down the aisle”, you may be asking them to create a moment that may not have happened otherwise. Instead of focusing on the moments and memories that are currently happening in the wedding day, your photographer will be fumbling around with a list, checking things off instead of truly being present on the day of.

The funny thing is, usually when I’m given these types of lists, they are all moments that I normally capture anyway! An experienced photographer can anticipate special moments before they happen, without needing to check them off of a list.

Finally, a list sets unrealistic expectations for both your wedding day, and your wedding photographer. The photographer may not be in the room when something happens (for example, photographers are in the ceremony space a few minutes before the wedding, so we may not be in the same room as you right before you walk down the aisle). And as I mentioned before, if your list contains moments that may not naturally happen, OR if the timeline gets crunched we may not have time to get everything on your list either.

The moral of the story is this: trust your photographer. You hired them to capture your live story as it unfold on your wedding day, the best way for them to do that is to be fully present.

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