Why I Don’t Ask for a Shot List on a Wedding Day

If you’re a bride searching Pinterest before your wedding day, chances are you’re going to find a lot of posts that tell you all the photos you want to make sure your photographer gets on a wedding day. Heck, I’ve even written a post like this!

Family photo on wedding day. Maddie Peschong Photography.

As a bride, it’s definitely a good idea to know what images mean the most to you, and communicate that to your wedding photographer. If your sweet husband’s reaction to you walking down the aisle is at the top of your list, you ‘tog should definitely be aware that that image is a priority when the ceremony starts.

But other than that short list of super-important images, I don’t ask brides for a shot list on their wedding day. I feel really strongly that as a bride, you should be working with a wedding photographer who you trust to get all the important photos, and a shot list shouldn’t be necessary. Here’s why.

Bride and groom embracing by white fence on wedding day. Maddie Peschong Photography.

On any given wedding day, I have a running list in my head of every image that I want to get. This is everything from the lists you can find on TheKnot.com or Pinterest (“bride with each individual bridesmaid”…yup, check!), to things that are specific to the couple, like a hanky that the bride will be carrying that her mother and grandmother both carried down the aisle.

Mother and daughter embracing on wedding day. Maddie Peschong Photography.

This list is typically compiled a couple different ways. First: I’ve shot enough weddings to know what the important shots are, and what couples love to see. You don’t need to worry about me getting the bride and her dad coming down the aisle, or a sweet shot with the groom and his mama–I’ve got that covered. While every day is different, there are enough similar elements that I’m a pro at knowing what I need to capture to have truly done my job well.

Lavender and flower petals to show on newlyweds after wedding ceremony. Maddie Peschong Photography.

Secondly, I’m in touch with the couple leading up to the wedding to make sure there are no surprises. If the bride is surprising the groom with a trip to his favorite baseball team’s first home game of the season, I want to be there when he opens the envelope. If the father-daughter dance is going to turn into a flash mob, you better believe I’ll have my lights all set up to capture every second. This way, you can let the day unfold exactly how you planned, and I won’t miss a beat.

Outdoor wedding ceremony at Feathers at the Ranch in South Dakota. Maddie Peschong Photography.But honestly, the biggest reason that I’m so passionate about saying no to a shot list is because even though every wedding has similar elements, each day is also completely unique because of the people that make it up. If I’m so focused on a piece of paper with a thousand to-do’s, I might miss a tearful hug between a groom and his mama, or a group prayer with a bride and all her maids. And let’s be honest – that is the stuff that really matters.

Polaroid guest book with 'Capture the Love' sign. Maddie Peschong Photography.

I feel so strongly that a wedding photographer needs to be incredibly present during the entire wedding day to really capture it in its integrity. I feel like my job is to be a fly on the wall. Yes, I will absolutely make sure to capture all the typical shots that make up a wedding day and look great in an album. But I also promise to be completely in the moment so you have more than just photos of your wedding; you have photos of moments and memories.

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