Do You Need a Wedding Photography Shot List?

Do you need a wedding photography shot list?

When it comes to wedding planning, there’s a ton of information to help you plan the best day ever. In the wedding planning industry, there seems to be several “hot takes” thrown around. From color palettes to wedding favors, there’s probably a controversial opinion. So I figured I’d share one of my hot takes and answer the age old question of — “do you need a wedding photography shot list?” Let’s dive in. 

What to Know about a Wedding Photography Shot List

As a Minnesota wedding photographer (and past bride), I know just how important photos are. It’s no secret that the wedding industry is a huge one; not to scare anyone, but let’s do a numbers check:

Weddings are expensive. So when it comes to wedding photography shot lists, it’s no wonder why couples are pretty passionate about them! Of course couples want to ensure that their dollar is stretching and working for them. 

Shot Lists from a Wedding Photographer’s Perspective 

Pros of a Wedding Photography Shot List

There are additional instances where a shot list is beneficial. For example, I’ve had a bride who really wanted to make sure I got a photo of her grandpa watching the ceremony. Because I went into the wedding ceremony with this in the back of my mind, I was in-tune with catching grandpa smiling. 

Additionally, I incorporate a version of a shot list for every wedding I photograph. For family photos, in particular, there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of. When I sit down with my couples to walk through their wedding day timeline, I have them create a family photos shot list. Whether a couple has a blended family or both extended families are in attendance, there are so many people to keep track of! 

A family photo shot list is also vital to avoid any tricky family dynamics (both for your benefit and your photographer’s). If there are any tricky family dynamics that your photographer needs to be aware of, make sure to voice them ahead of time as a head’s up. Looking for an example to put together your own shot list? Check out The Knot’s article on family wedding photo groupings!

Cons of a Wedding Photography Shot List

Now it’s time to spill the tea on why you might not want to rely solely on a shot list for your wedding day. When you hire a photographer, you are putting your trust into their expertise. Hiring a wedding photographer is more than just hiring someone to take some photos on a list. 

A wedding photographer is there to document the moments – both big and small. For my clients especially, I value offering a variety of photos. Some are more documentary and candid, while family photos are traditional and posed. When you give your wedding photographer a shot list, it can actually limit their creativity and shift their focus. It’s no coincidence that many couples’ favorite photos are actually the impromptu, candid moments. 

Minnesota Wedding Photographer | Alyssa Ashley Photography

If there’s one peace of advice I can leave you with, it’s to lean into the reason why you booked your photographer. And if you’re not sure how to go about finding the perfect wedding photographer, you can actually check out the blog where I cover exactly that! 

Happy wedding planning, sweet friend! And of course, be sure to follow along on the ‘Gram for more wedding planning tips.



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