Your shot list has huge implications on the day.

A successful event timeline hinges on a well thought-out and executed shot list. Especially if you’re getting ready in a different location than your ceremony venue, there are multiple moving parts to consider. So pour yourself a glass of wine and don’t put this one off.

Think of your shot list as the photos you’ll frame or know you’ll include in your album.

The day with your photographer will likely start with the last 30 minutes of your hair and makeup process. A few photos of the final touches before you get dressed is enough to capture the sentiment of the experience. If you plan to exchange gifts or have any surprises planned be sure to let your photographer know so they can capture your pure emotion.

You’ve Been Warned: Hair and makeup can really trash a room

If you’re getting dressed in the same room as hair and makeup you’ll probably need to put your wedding party to work. Between room service, overnight bags and enough eyelashes and hairspray to make everyone look flawless your room is probably not close-up ready. Ask your wedding party to tidy up a bit for the photographer. If you have your heart set on a specific shot of the gown or bridesmaids’ accessories think through how this will need to be styled and come prepared. Your photographer doesn’t travel with a Pinterest prop closet.

Are you doing a first look?

Personally I’m a fan. I wasn’t always in this camp, and didn’t do one myself, but over the years I’ve seen such pure love in these few private moments that they’ve become some of my favorite photos to look back on. On the downside, depending on your event timeline the light may not be at its most photogenic around your first look. Talk to your photographer and explore the possibility of a 2nd sunset couple’s session. This allows you to enjoy cocktail hour and have the prettiest of photos.

Who makes the formal photo cut?

I suggest keeping this list to a minimum. Each grouping of people will take between 3-5 minutes to capture, so choose wisely or you’ll be spending hours in front of the camera. You likely don’t need photos with each of your aunts and uncles. Most shot lists will look something like…

  • Couple with Grandparents (side A)
  • Couple with immediate family – side A (parents, siblings, significant others of siblings)
  • Couple with side A (parents and siblings only)
  • Couple with side A parents only
  • Side A parents alone
  • Bride/Groom with side A parents (together)
  • Bride/Groom with side A parents (individually)
  • Bride/Groom with his/her siblings
  • Couple with Grandparents (side B)
  • Couple with immediate family – side B (parents, siblings, significant others of siblings)
  • Couple with side B (parents and siblings only)
  • Side B parents only
  • Couple with side B parents only
  • Bride/Groom with side B parents (together)
  • Bride/Groom with side B parents (individually)
  • Bride/Groom with his/her siblings
  • Wedding Party (side A)
  • Wedding Party (side B)
  • Full Wedding Party

Provide the first name of everyone in each grouping.

This will allow your photographer to call each name and get the group together in record time.

Let everyone know when and where to meet.

Make sure you communicate with everyone you’re asking to be ready to before the ceremony so they know when to be dressed. If you’re doing photography during the cocktail hour be sure to alert those who need to stay behind from the ceremony. Once they join the party, you’ve lost them.

{image credit: White Loft Studio}