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Should I have a photo list for my wedding photographer?


When planning your wedding, you may find many trusted wedding resources recommend giving your photographer a detailed shot list, doing so can be counterproductive. Sending a multi-page list of “must-have” photos may inadvertently offend your photographer. Professional wedding photographers know to capture essential moments like you with your maid of honor, the invitation suite, and your first kiss.

Before hiring a photographer, you should have reviewed multiple full wedding day galleries to understand the range of images they typically capture, including family formals, portraits, and detail shots. These wedding galleries should demonstrate that they can capture all the key moments plus many additional ones. If you feel compelled to list these basic shots, it may indicate that you chose a photographer you don’t fully trust.

It’s crucial to hire a photographer you have complete confidence in, as trust is fundamental in allowing them to document your wedding day effectively. Sending extensive photo requests can signal a lack of trust in their professional abilities, suggesting that you might need to find a different photographer who better meets your expectations.

bride and groom cuddling at wedding

Why it's impractical

Wedding days are inherently hectic, making detailed shot lists impractical, especially in Brisbane wedding photography. There simply isn’t time to sift through pages of specific photo requests while managing the unpredictable nature of the day. Delays with hair and makeup, missing family members, and other unforeseen issues often disrupt schedules. Photographers need the flexibility to improvise and capture the real events as they unfold. A lengthy shot list restricts this flexibility, preventing them from being fully present and responsive to the day’s unique dynamics.

Brisbane wedding photographers typically capture a comprehensive range of moments as part of their usual workflow. Adding extensive specific photo requests can overwhelm them and detract from their ability to document your wedding naturally. While it might not seem unrealistic to the couple, photographers—who have extensive wedding day experience—know what is feasible. If they required extensive shot lists, they would request them. Generally, photographers will ask for a basic group photo list but nothing more detailed.

Overloading your photographer with a multi-page shot list can undermine their performance, causing them to focus more on the list than on capturing organic moments and go against their specific style. This distraction can compromise the quality of your final photos. Every wedding is unique, and you should trust your Brisbane wedding photographer to document it as it happens, using their artistic eye and professional experience. 

A gigantic list restricts a photographer’s creativity and focus. If we’re busy checking off every detail, we’re not capturing your day authentically, which is a disservice to couples. Many love my work for its natural and fun style. Following a list would change how I make couples feel comfortable and get authentic images. Worrying about a list all day means potentially missing beautiful, spontaneous moments that are crucial to your story. Instead, trust your photographer to capture your wedding naturally, ensuring genuine and memorable photos. Trusting your photographer to do their job without overwhelming them with excessive requests will ensure that your wedding day is captured beautifully and authentically.

bride and groom holding hands

Family & Group Photos

Having a photo list for your group and family photos is a smart move. Group shots require coordination and can easily become chaotic without a clear plan. A well-organised list ensures that these essential images are not overlooked and helps the photographer manage the session efficiently. This is particularly important for large families or gatherings with numerous special groups.

For example, your wedding photographer may have a standard structure for family portraits, such as shots with the bride’s parents, followed by the bride’s parents and siblings. However, if there are specific groupings you want to include, such as college friends or a beloved great aunt, communicating these in advance is crucial. A tailored list ensures that no significant groups or individuals are missed, and it allows the wedding photographer to move through the session smoothly.

To maximise efficiency and ensure everyone is accounted for, prepare a detailed list with the names and relationships of the people involved. Share this with your wedding photographer beforehand and designate a point person from your wedding party to help round up individuals on the day. This way, the photographer can focus on their artistry, knowing they have the necessary guidance to capture all your cherished group photos.

bridesmaids hugging


In conclusion, while it may seem intuitive to provide your wedding photographer with a detailed shot list, doing so can often be counterproductive and may inadvertently hinder the organic capture of your special day. Trust is paramount when entrusting someone to document your wedding, and hiring a photographer whose style and portfolio align with your vision is essential.

Extensive shot lists not only limit a photographer’s creativity and flexibility but can also suggest a lack of trust in their professional abilities. Wedding days are dynamic and unpredictable, requiring photographers to adapt quickly and capture fleeting moments authentically. By burdening them with an exhaustive list of must-have shots, couples risk detracting from the spontaneity and genuine emotion of their day.

However, recognising the importance of organisation for group and family photos, providing a concise and well-structured list for these specific shots can be beneficial. This ensures that essential images are not overlooked and helps manage the session efficiently, particularly for larger families or gatherings with numerous special groups.

Ultimately, striking a balance between providing necessary guidance for group photos while allowing your photographer the creative freedom to capture the essence of your wedding day is key. Trusting in their expertise and vision will result in a beautiful and authentic representation of your cherished memories.


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