Wedding Photography Checklist

Authored by Sylvia Colette Branch in Photography
Published on 10-01-2009

A Wedding Photography checklist is an essential tool for executing a successful collection of wedding photos. A wedding can be a highly stressful time for the couple. They want everything to be just right. They also want to have a personalized record of this time. Your job as the wedding photographer is to document their special day in the way they want it to be remembered.

Learn about the Bride and Groom

Find out their particular vision for the wedding photography. Are they looking for a sophisticated formal account, mostly black and white, a quirky fun style, or a more photo-journalistic approach? You will want to learn about their unique personalities. Discover the simple things that set them apart. Learn how they first met and where the proposal occurred. Ask about shared hobbies and future plans to get a feel for the people you are dealing with.

Visit the Location

Take time with the couple at the location if at all possible. See if there is any particular landscape or architectural settings they want to use in their pictures. Knowing their preferences on this matter beforehand helps when making your plans. Even if they cannot be there with you, scout out the possible opportunities for arranging your formal shots.

Prepare Checklist

A well thought out checklist will avoid misunderstandings and forgotten shots. Show the bride a basic list and then brainstorm all the other must have photos. Be sure to discuss family dynamics. Know who the bride wants to be grouped together and who to avoid grouping together. Asking for a designated person from the family to help in pointing out individuals can save a lot of trouble on the day of the event and allow the bride more freedom to enjoy the day.

A Wedding Photography Checklist will include categories such as;

  • Bride getting ready for the ceremony
  • Groom getting ready for the ceremony
  • Ceremony shots
  • Formal pictures
  • Reception photos
  • Photos with particular guests

Creating a detailed shot list from this outline will help keep you on track.

Scheduling Time Blocks

Keep things moving by organizing the time the subjects involved need to be present. This allows you to confidently call individuals and release them without worry. As does knowing how many people will be involved in the formal photos. If the extended family is extra extended, being able to think through the set up ahead of time is a wise idea.

A general rule is to allow one to two hours for the bride and groom alone, one hour for the entire wedding party and thirty minutes to an hour for family portraits. Show the couple your plan ahead of time, so they will know what to expect and can make adjustments if necessary. Communicate with them that every shot added to the list adds approximately two minutes.

Attention to Detail

In addition to the shot list, you’ll want to take candid shots of the people involved as well as documenting the details, all the things the bride painstakingly chose. Taking a close up of the flowers, menu, table setting, shoes and backs of the dresses add a nice dimension to the wedding album.

Take the time to make a detailed list. Then be aware of your list at all times. Wedding photos are for a lifetime. Err on the side of excess rather than miss a once in a lifetime shot.


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