Wedding Shot Lists


Feb 27, 2023 the Bergreens, Marc and Brenda Submit a Comment

By Carina Delaine

I know I'm not the only one that shudders at the thought of the shot list for wedding photography. There must be a scientific term for this phobia, like wedshottelphobia. Whatever brought you to this page, allow me to convince you that a shot list is a piece of paper that inhibits creativity and breeds anxiety.

It might not be a piece of paper; instead, it might be an app, an excel file, or a Pinterest board. I'm not a fan, so I don't really care.

I am aware that the shot list was created for a purpose. In order to recognise and address that, I'd want to first discuss the significance of a shot list before offering you some substitutes that will enable you to achieve the same ends while taking better wedding images.


You're welcome to disagree. The fact that there are many different clients to serve and we are not the best fit for everyone is one thing I have come to realise over the years, which explains why there may be so many photographers.

Both photographers and wedding couples will find this information useful. See the YouTube video or read the blog post below.




A photographer must be aware of the crucial elements of a wedding day. That's presumably where the shot list came from, in my opinion. You must capture the bride as she gets ready, including the following: 1. applying makeup 2. styling hair 3. zipping up the dress 4. donning the veil.

You must first take pictures of the small things, such as your outfit, shoes, jewellery, perfume, deodorant, toothbrush, and pants. All of the above.

Indeed, we must be mindful of the various times of the day in order to be conscious of what we are photographing. It's crucial for a novice photographer to become familiar with the components of a wedding. The key is to learn the language.

But if a photographer follows the shot list, they might say, "hold, can you pretend to zip off the dress again so I can capture that shot," instead of snapping a picture of the mother sobbing as she sees her daughter in her wedding dress.


A shot list forces the photographer to pause genuine moments in order to capture the shot list. The shot list should instead be utilised to highlight the key times to watch for.

I'm not sure how many weddings you need to attend in order to pick up the language of wedding photography and learn what moments to look for. Most likely, it varies from person to person. Also, what is significant might differ from person to person.

I advise you to determine it and then attend that many weddings. Learn about the components of a wedding day so that you can be ready. You will learn that wedding days are typically predictable, thus the last thing you want are your wedding pictures to be too.

I want the images I present a bride to be personal, distinctive, and moving. not expected. She will want to remember the photo of her shoe peeking out from under her dress as she takes her first anxious step down the aisle. A photo of her shoes might be a photo of any bride's shoes.

B) Learn about your partner's priorities.

The priorities of the couple must be known to the wedding photographer. A shot list shouldn't be a general one if you're going to have one. It must be a customised shot list for your couple.

The groom had his dress specially made by his grandfather's tailor, while your bride may not give a damn about her shoes. Perhaps the venue provided the decorations, but the bride's aunt created the bridesmaid outfits. If you're going to have a shot list, you should include items like these on it.

It's actually less about the things than it is about the people, in my experience, when you take the time to ask your couple what is important to them. It involves dancing with their college mates, my father escorting me down the aisle, or my grandmother and her grandchildren.


It is important to emphasise that a shot list for wedding photography can be a piece of paper that reduces stress and increases creativity. When you're focused on achieving a specific photo rather than capturing what is happening, a shot list might pull you out of the moment or, worse, ruin it. Moreover, a shot list may cause you to take the wrong pictures for the wrong subjects and waste time on unimportant subjects.

In my opinion, the shot list for wedding photography promotes a culture of consuming. The main focus of a wedding should be getting married, not all the extras. Brides are under a lot of pressure to make their wedding appear like it belongs in a magazine, but that is not what counts most.

Although the table's gorgeous flowers and candles are excellent for enhancing the atmosphere, that is not the tale we are portraying. That is merely the scene, and those are merely descriptive details to heighten the emotions. The couple, as well as their friends and family, are the story's main characters.

Last but not least, a photographer needs time and space to see the story and capture it meaningfully in order to be creative. It takes presence and clarity to see a moment develop and to be ready to capture it in a great shot. That's very different from scurrying around and shooting a lot of photos of things on a list.


Don't worry; I would never abandon you without a suitable replacement for the shot list for wedding photography.

1) Simplify and condense your shot list.

If you find it difficult to let go, start by making a brief, simple shot list. For a few reasons, the shot list should be as minimal as possible.

If your shot list contains 1000 items, you will be anxious about getting 1000 shots, which will prevent you from responding to the actual events of the wedding day.

Since most couples only have a few real priorities, I can concentrate on those and avoid wasting time on the others if I can identify what those are. Even though you still want to take pictures of everything you see, if the bride simply chose the first design that appeared, you can save time by skipping the invitations and not spending ten minutes shooting them.

You may now concentrate on conveying the story of the wedding day without constraints, expectations, or a predetermined formula because you have liberated your creativity.

B) Examine your priorities and style.

As a photographer, you must define your priorities and build an own style. Your priorities and style should be evident through your website, portfolio, and client meetings. You should consider the priorities and style of the photographer you choose as a bride.

It would be a mistake to employ Bergreen Photography if you detest pictures of couples in natural settings. Our website makes it very obvious that we work with adventurous couples and take them outside for landscape photographs, including on cliffs and in the snow. In fact, what matters to us about your shoes is that you are competent enough to walk in them so that when you're standing on a rock you don't fall down. That is definitely more essential to us than shoe photographs. In addition, if I see that you adore your shoes, I'll probably incorporate them in my photograph.

Choosing the best photographer or attracting the right clients requires matching priorities and style.


I have notes and a list of family photos even though I seldom use shot lists. I make care to understand the priorities of my couples, and if there are any that go beyond what I usually do or pay attention to, I make sure to have a written record of them so that I am aware of them.

A shot list is only used on the wedding day since it makes things simpler and more effective. The occasion is when taking family photos. Many couples at many weddings place a lot of importance on the family photos. But, nobody actually appreciates hanging out while waiting for family photos to take place. We are able to go quickly, efficiently, and easily through that section of the day when we have a list prepared in advance and organised in an effective sequence.


Conduct some introspection to decide what matters most on the wedding day. Are they the items in the shot list? Or perhaps it's the private exchanges between significant individuals. If you really think about it, the aspects of a wedding that are most important to remember are those that you can't plan for, in my opinion.

A wedding photographer's mission is to capture this momentous occasion so that the happy couple, their families, and anyone else who missed it can look back on it and learn about it. The important parts are the tears and laughs. It's the tales of tragedy or genuine happiness.


So, I advise you to discard the shot list for wedding photography. For the sake of your creativity, throw it away. For the sake of your couples, throw it out. And discard it in order to prevent the industry from becoming more consumerist and materialistic.

Our free comprehensive e-guide can help you prioritise your preparation if you need it.


Colorado-based photographers Marc and Brenda Bergreen specialise in wedding photography and commercial work. This husband and wife team's photography undoubtedly captures their passion for adventure and love. Be sure to visit their websites (adventure | wedding) for more images and to follow Marc and Brenda on Instagram. This essay was first published here and is being republished with permission.