How do you make a Shot List?

Your guide to getting great photos

Shot Lists. Maybe you have heard of them maybe you haven’t! What a shot list is, is a “must-have” list of photos for your wedding day, particularly outlining what group photos you need and who those people are so that your photographer can easily coordinate and snap photos of family members, friends, etc.

What shots to include in your shot list, if desired:

  • Pictures with parents, siblings, family friends: Include their first and last names, as well as how you want them grouped. For example: do you want one with just you and your grandmother? One of both sets of siblings? Then one of both sets of siblings + parents?
  • Wedding party: Do you want a photo with each person + you or will group shots do?
  • Guests: Do you want a photo of all the guests in one big group shot (if possible) or photos of you with each of your guests during table visits or cocktail hour?
  • Special events: Give your photographer a heads up about anything unique you have planned that you want them to capture like a surprise performance or first dance moment.
  • Any detail shots you want: Maybe of your tablescape, of a family heirloom, or of a piece of jewelry you are wearing
  • If you want your photographer to capture specific events like getting ready photos, or your mom zipping up your dress, or your grand exit. They will most likely already be snapping photos of these, but if it’s important to you, make sure to make note of it and let them know!
  • And specific stylized photos you love. I recommend highlighting no more than 3 of these. After all, you hired your photographer because you love their style, so I would let them do their thing and capture candid moments of you vs. overly posed shots. But, if you have your eye on something unique and specific that you have seen in their portfolio that you love, let them know you love it and that you would love to get that shot if possible!

Here are my best tips for easily getting those group photos on your shot list!

  • Assign one person from your wedding party or a close friend that will be there the whole wedding that knows the people on your shot list to meet the photographer on your wedding day. They can then point out all the people on your shot list to your photographer and make sure they don’t wander off while you are trying to do group photos! Your friend then can work with your photographer to quickly get group shots done as seamlessly as possible!
  • I usually find the easiest way to order group photos is start with the largest group possible and then slowly take people out. For example, if you want lots of family photos, start with all extended family, and then take out everyone except nuclear family, then take out different generations (like cousins first, then grandparents) until you are just left with yourselves + your parents. Boom, you’re done with family photos!