Hey, this photo is © Frances Morency Photography

Should I give my Journalistic photographer a wedding shot list?

April 24, 2013 ,
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First and Foremost::

VERY IMPORTANT: The photography checklist can be a photographer’s guide, but it can also be their nightmare. A shot list can help your photographer is some aspects of their day, but you may also disrupt the natural flow of your wedding and creativity of your photographer to get all the shots on the list.  This shot list will greatly help a traditional photographer with a well laid out guideline to all the family and friend photos you request.   You also may have a photographer that won’t work from one.  The best advice we can give you is to let your professional assist you when it comes to what information they will need from you.

This is a great question! Here are my thoughts, from a photographer’s perspective:

A shot list is usually very restricting. The instant you send a professional a long list of generic must have photos they shift their focus to getting all of the pre-ordered shots rather than shooting the day as it happens. I had a client give me a Lengthy list of photos to shoot that I normally would have shot throughout the day, but I was so worried about this list and missing some shots that I ended up missing some great moments of the guests enjoying themselves throughout the day naturally.  Our job as professional photographers is to capture the family and friends, the dress, cake, rings, flowers, the kiss ect.  so a list of these shots is not needed …..it’s our job to capture these for you.

Here’s what I ask my clients to do before the wedding – I explain that I’m going to get the standard shots and I send a questionaire asking to prioritize the photographs you would like to have.   I also explain to clients that wedding days are unpredictable and we may have our formals time cut short or something else crazy might happen, so let me know (aside from the standard bride with parents, groom with parents, bridal party, bride and groom) a handful of MUST have photos so I can prioritize if we don’t have time to do all the combinations you were planning.   We want to know the must not forgets and the must haves…….like silk fabric from your mothers dress that is wrapped around your bouquets or a recreation of a mother daughter pose that your mom did with her mother at her wedding. Therefore as mentioned above, the details of the ” photo shot list ” will change depending on what type of photographer you choose, i.e. documentary/ journalistic or a traditional photographer. 


What style of wedding photography did you decide on?    Are you looking for a traditional approach with mostly posed images? Or do you prefer lots of natural journalistic shots in which the photographer is capturing the event as it unfolds and your guests may not even know they are being photographed.  Do you like fashion magazine inspired photography with creative edge and cropping style?  or would you prefer a photographer who combines all of these styles?

That’s me!   I’m a journalistic style, fashion inspired photographer with a touch of fine art.  Now that’s not to say that I don’t capture the traditional posed portraits because I do, but I focus more on the portraits of your grandparents as they hold hands, the tear running down your face as you walk down the aisle or the spontaneous laughter you share with your girlfriends or the guys in the photo below.  Many of these types of images would be lost if we were busy rounding everyone up for formal portraits.


journalistic candid wedding photographer

the groom getting ready at the RIU in Cabo


This is a father and son photograph that was a favourite amongst the family because it not only captured father and son, but it tells a story and you can feel the emotion in this image.  You just know dad is saying something here that means a whole lot to his son.  

journalistic destination wedding photographer

emotional photograph with the groom and his father

Now that’s not to say that I don’t work from a SHOT LIST, but I prefer to spend a little more time to focus on capturing the events as they unfold and give you these kind of images than working from a shot list that can easily take an hour to gather and organize everyone.  The best way to to get through the formal portraits easily is to have someone dedicated to organize and get everyone in the area and ready for their photo with the bride and groom.

The images below will show some differences between a traditional photographer and a journalistic photographer.  I can be completely unobtrusive and photograph your wedding without you even knowing that I am there or I can mix my styles and incorporate some formal posed photographs with my journalistic style.  It’s your wedding your way.


what you get when you give a wedding shot list

TRADITIONAL portrait of bride with mom and sisters

Now groomsmen photos can be formal or something like this.  These guys were the farthest from formal that I have ever photographed.  We could not get them to stand still if we tried, but then you get these types of images which I would much rather see in an album.  Makes me laugh every time!

candid captures during a wedding day

boys being boys a journalistic photographer dream

and…….below is a very fashion magazine oriented image and very UNTRADITIONAL

group shots of the groomsmen

editorial crop of groom photograph

The BRIDAL party photographed in a journalistic style.

bridal party with a journalistic style

bridal party not looking at camera and walking makes a great journalistic bridal party photo

and…….the all too familiar traditional wedding party pose.

traditional wedding party pose

very traditional photograph or a wedding party

Next I want to talk about my WEDDINGSCAPES.  I strive to create portraits you will be showcasing on your walls.

Now as important as the standard formal portrait of the bride and groom is I prefer to do portraits where I can incorporate my locations, travel destinations or unique backdrops that show where your wedding is taking place.  After all, you chose the location because it meant something to you.


the background is just as important if not more important to complete the image.


journalistic formal bridal portraits

journalistic wedding photographer

formal wedding portrait in a journalistic style

formal wedding portraits with bride and groom

beautiful portraits do not have to have the bride and groom looking at you

fine art wedding photographer in niagara

angles and triangles make this wedding portrait work

fine art wedding photographer

journalistic photograph with bride and location

barrie wedding photographer

journalistic wedding photography

and one with an EDITORIAL CROP

journalistic wedding photographer



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