I am sure part of you is like "what do you mean, we have to make photo lists? I thought you said not to give your photographer a shot list to work from?!?!" This is true, but there are a couple of places where I think an exception should be made: Family formal photos and a small list of "must have" shots.
Let's kick this shindig off with the family formals.
This is a super important list for you to make for a couple of different reasons.
- Not all family dynamics are the same, so you don't necessarily want your photographer working from a standard set of shots for these.
- If the photographer has a specific list of names and groupings to work from, this part of your day will go much smoother. The photographer will just go down the list taking the photos while their assistant gathers the next group, making an efficient process out of what could have been an experience closely akin to herding cats.
So, what we recommend doing is taking some time well before the wedding to create a list of every family grouping you want during this time. And when I said every family grouping, I mean every single one. If you want a picture of you and you parents AND a picture of you, your honey and your parents, list those out separately. Not only will this ensure you get every single photo you want, but it also means you will get an accurate idea of how much time you need to schedule for these photos when you are making your timeline for the day.
BIG NOTE: Make sure you are working on this list way before the actual wedding day. If you try to make it last-minute, there will be people you forget and then we'll have trouble when the time actually comes. Also consult with parents and future in-laws to make sure you get everything one they want captured. If we don't consider this, parents will start requesting specific shots at the end of the formal photo time which could cause us to quickly get behind schedule.
In your planner, go through and start making this list in the space provided. When you have your finished list, count up how many photo and multiply it by 3 min each to get the total amount of time you need to schedule for family photos. If this time is over an hour long, you may want to consider condensing some shots or finding time to get photos with certain family members in the photo booth or at the reception.
MUST HAVE SHOTS
This section of your planner is to jot down any photos you want to take that fall outside of the standard realm of wedding photo (rings, bouquet, kiss, details, getting ready, BMs and GMs etc). This may include a photo at a certain location or with a certain item that is super important to you. It's anything you think your photographer may not already know to capture or that you need specifically created to commemorate someone or something. These should be unique shots that are specific to you and your wedding.
You want to keep this list to a bare minimum because, as we have said before, if your photographer gets stuck working from a long, specific list of shots you want, they won't be able to see the wedding as it is happening and other things will be missed and your whole wedding album will feel disjointed.
If these shots require something super special on your photographers part, let them know as soon as possible so they can plan and account for it. They are working on a very detailed timeline on their end so they know they can capture everything you want. Throwing in something at last minute may mean sacrificing another important shot OR not being able to adequately capture what you are asking because they weren't prepared for it.