Why Ditch the Shot Lists

Weddings are special.  Like, so, SO special!  Is there another time in life where you can assemble all your favourites in one place to celebrate the love between two people?  Nope.  It’s huge.  Trust me when I say that as your wedding photographer I completely get just how important your wedding day is.  I understand that you want your story to be told and that you’ll relive the day through your photos for years to come – that’s why you hired me.  So why then, you may wonder, do we not ask our couples to create a shot list for us to work from on a wedding day?  Surely we don’t want to miss anything right?  Well yeah, that’s exactly right, but we approach things a little differently than you might presume.  I’ve composed a little list of reasons to chuck the shot list in the hopes of making your life a little easier and your photos much better.

#1.  We are story tellers.  When you hire a wedding photographer who takes a documentary or photojournalistic approach to their work it means you’ve hired someone who wants to capture the true nature of your day and then tell it in a creative way.  It’s our job to preserve authenticity, not to check off boxes on a list.  The image below of Emily’s Grandmother watching her get dressed is so unique and I couldn’t have duplicated something like this with the same effect.  It’s one of my favourite images from this wedding and it happened because I was watching, not reading.Toronto wedding photographer, Calgary Wedding Photographer, Baxter Creek Golf Course, Baxter Creek Wedding, Kawartha Lakes Photographer, Peterborough Wedding Photographer, Durham Region Wedding Photographer, pink and gold details, navy suits, Rice Lake Ontario, Ontario Weddings, cottage wedding kawartha

#2.  Shot lists are distracting.  Think of it as driving while you’re studying a map.  Sure you may get where you need to be, but what about all the beautiful things you’ll miss along the side of the highway?  Shot lists distract us from what is actually happening and often cause us to miss the delicate in-between moments that are where your story truly happens.  If I had been busy combing a list I would have never caught this little gem that really shows Amanda & Ben’s personalities.Black Creek Pioneer Village Wedding, Hipster Wedding Toronto, YYZ, Toronto Weddings, Purple and Gray Wedding,

#3.  Lists aren’t guarantees.  You’ve imagined your wedding day for a long time – you’ve probably even got some dreamy fantasies of the way things will go down.  That’s great – we want you to be excited about all that stuff (trust me we are probably just as excited to see what will happen)!  Making a list however, doesn’t guarantee that those moments you’d like captured will occur.  We don’t want you to be disappointed when you get your photos because your dad didn’t gasp when he saw your dress.  I could ask him to gasp and we could do the reveal 3 times till we had the right reaction I suppose.  Yeah we could manufacture moments like this but wouldn’t you rather remember truth instead of how your photographer made you repeat everything?  The loveliest moments usually happen when you least expect them.  These beautiful bridesmaids & flower girl were being so sweet on a sofa – this shot wasn’t posed at all and I just think it’s adorable.Century Barn Wedding, Cavan Ontario, DIY wedding, Kawartha Lakes Wedding, Kawartha wedding photographer, durham region wedding photographer, cobourg wedding photographer, rustic wedding ontario, barn wedding ontario

#4.  Pinterest shots belong to someone else.  Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE PINTEREST, I’m on there all the time.  I love seeing what my brides are pinning because I’m a sucker for beautiful decor and scenery.  What we all need to understand though, is that when it comes to wedding photos (portraits specifically) the shots that wind up on Pinterest are someone else’s moments.  The reason they are popular is because the stars aligned and everything worked out to make a beautiful photo.  Could we try to recreate some?  Sure.  But I feel that it’s far more valuable to instead put that energy into making our OWN beautiful moments.  We don’t want you to look back on your photos and have the exact same pose as 15 of your friends who also asked their photographer to rip off someone else’s shot.  Let’s make memories that tell the truth instead of copying someone else’s.Century Barn Wedding, Cavan Ontario, DIY wedding, Kawartha Lakes Wedding, Kawartha wedding photographer, durham region wedding photographer, cobourg wedding photographer, rustic wedding ontario, barn wedding ontario

I think if you didn’t get why we do what we do before reading this you probably do now.  We ADORE our couples and totally eat up a good love story.  We are so blessed to work with people who understand that real moments are where it’s at!  If you’re the type of bride who has a list of 80 must have shots, that’s ok, there is nothing wrong with that – but when you hire your photographer take the time to make sure he/she is the right fit for your needs.  If you want your unique story told in a hands-off sort of way, we just may be the team for you so drop us a note over on the contact page. xo

  • Cy Sawyer said:

    Great read, excellent points and beautiful images! Nice job.

    • jenvanson said:

      Thank you Cy! I appreciate you stopping by :)