How to Draft a Wedding Shot List

Once you’ve found the right wedding photographer and had your engagement photos taken, it’s time to start thinking the wedding shot list. A shot list is a brief list of photos that are “must haves” on your wedding day.

While a great photographer will already know which general pictures to take and how, it can’t hurt to brainstorm about specific moments you’d like captured. Some photographers will want to walk through a basic shot list with you and your fiance before the wedding so they have a clear idea what you’d like from your photos. But even if they don’t, it’s OK to reach out and provide a brief rundown of the photos you’d like to see in your album.

As you’re planning for your wedding day, provide your photographer with a small list of photos that matter most to you.

  • Family portraits: Make a list of those family members you must get a photo with.
  • You and your spouse: Are there any shots that are really important to you? Let your photographer know (but also trust their instincts).
  • Special details: Your wedding will likely have a lot of small details, so if any of them carry special meaning point it out to your photographer beforehand.
  • Special moments: Let your photographer know if the cake cutting or mother-son dance are especially important.

If you’re working with a videographer, loop him or her into your photo shot list and conversations with your photographer, too. “Photographers share the same space with videographers nearly all day, so we work together very closely,” says Leslee Leaming of Leslee Leaming Films. “Teamwork is important since we are both getting the same shots. My assistant and I take a mostly candid approach to filming, so we rarely ask couples to pose, but photographers have to do a lot of that, so we give photographers the lead in these situations while we stand back and capture it as it happens.”

Remember that your photographer does this for a living, so don’t feel like you have to list every single photo here. Think big picture, such as “photos with each of my bridesmaids” or “a photo with grandma.” Aim to have the shot list done two months before your wedding date. And if you’d like to get photos with family members and friends who aren’t part of your wedding party, give them a heads up beforehand so they know when and where to be available.