Updated: Jul 6, 2020
As a photographer, I guess I have a lot of opinions when it comes to the scheduling of a wedding. Before starting my business, I would be invited to friends and family’s weddings with the added phrase of ‘can you bring your camera with you?’ This didn’t upset me; I love photography and usually turn up to events with my camera strapped to my person, however when photographing as a guest you have very little responsibility to capture the WHOLE day. This of course all changes when you offer your photography as a service and I quickly came to realise that knowing the scheduling of a couples wedding day and understanding what happens to the shoot time when the bride starts to run overtime has prompted me to write this post about LISTS!
I myself LOVE a list, a checklist, a to do list, any kind of list which can be utilised to ensure I am providing the shots that the Bride and Groom are expecting. However, the list can be a demon in disguise, a task master and can result in untold stress for everyone involved!! Ok, so I have made it sound a lot scarier than it actually is, but here are a few points to consider when presenting your chosen photographer with a list…
Time- understanding the limits
Unfortunately, we have to start with a Con. Time is an expensive commodity on your wedding day, no amount of planning or scheduling will give you the amount of time you want to fit everything in and it has been my experience that when the couple start to run behind on time it is usually the photographers time which starts to suffer. This is when the photographer must make some important decisions about what is important to the Bride and Groom. I will always do my best to complete any list given to me because it takes the responsibility away from the couple, however when time constraints mean that having group after group of relatives, friends and family friends keeping the couple from their food and drinks, this is when the stress starts to pile on and I will usually consult with the couple about which shots are ‘Must Haves’.
Organisation – who’s Great Auntie Jean?
The obvious Pro of using a list is the organisation element. Giving a shot list means that the photographer can be confident that every shot the Bride and Groom wants will be achieved. When presented with this list in a consultation or before the big day I will always accept it happily with the understanding that there should be a Maid of Honour, Bossy Bridesmaid or in charge family member who can be relied upon to gather up the appropriate people, heard them to the photographer and fully appreciate the importance of this role. Without this link to your family circle, finding Great Auntie Jean who has just popped to the loo becomes a mission which draws out the process of group photo’s.
Creativity – why limit yourself?
Much with any art form, finding a balance between structure and creativity is a constant battle which we then apply commercially to wedding photography. Lists can be the death of creativity, there is no beating around the bush! My heart will drop when I am presented with a shot list as long as my arm and prefer to sit them down during my consultation and talk creatively about the things which really appeal to the couple. Group shots are important, Nans and Grandads, Mums and Dads- they all want to have a formal reminder of the day BUT don’t forget that your photographer is documenting your whole day. Group shots, couples’ shots, friends dancing, uncles drinking, aunts toasting- all these will naturally unfold throughout the day so when writing up your list perhaps cross out some of the extended relatives, family friends and multiple cousins!
So, with all this in mind- HAVE a list! BUT make it concise, always ask yourself that if time is limited on the day, which group shots do we NEED and then if the time allows who would we LIKE. Make sure to assign a trusted party goer the job of gathering guests, someone who knows the family and is assertive enough to keep everyone in check. And lastly, allow room for creativity. No one wants to stress or get fed up of being photographed so by keeping everything simple and trusting that your photographer will do all they can to capture your guests having the time of their life while enjoying the day is likely to be more enjoyable for everyone!
Family Shot List
· Brides parents
· Brides parents and siblings
· Grooms parents
· Grooms parents and siblings
· All siblings
· Both sets of parents
· Brides Grandparents
· Brides parents, grandparents, and Aunts/Uncles
· Grooms Grandparents
· Grooms parents, grandparents, and Aunts/Uncles
· Extended family/family friends
· Bride with Bridesmaids
· Groom with Groomsmen