I’m sure you’ve seen these posts online – these scary, long, intense lists of must-have wedding photos. It’s intimidating! Here you are, planning your wedding, trying to think of every detail, & now you need to plan & communicate every photograph that needs to be taken on your wedding day.
Surely, you must tell your photographer right away to look at this list!
Well, there aren’t 25 must-have photos, or 50 must-have photos. Just the other day, I received in my inbox another photographer’s email newsletter titled “127 Essential Wedding Images You Must Capture at Your Next Shoot.” Are you serious? I didn’t even bother opening this.
Why? First of all, if all I had to do was produce 127 images, I’d be done with my job in about 4 hours. I’d show up about 10 minutes before the ceremony, and leave 10 minutes after the first dance. I’d only need one memory card, one flash, & a golf pencil to check off all those little boxes on that list. Suddenly, your wedding day that you’ve planned & curated to reflect your personality & style has been neatly packaged into a stereotype of a wedding day.
There’s only one thing you need to do on your wedding day, & that is to trust & communicate with your photographer.
One of the first weddings I photographed, the bride, Jessica*, put together a three-page list of Pinterest photos she wanted. The pages were filled with her descriptions of the photos, making deciphering this list in a time crunch more stressful than a high school AP exam. This was not only difficult for me to receive on the wedding day, but it also really put the pressure on the entire wedding party to Get The List Done.
The bride was stressed. The groom was stressed. I was smiling on the outside, but on the inside my type-A personality was freaking out. We were not going to get through this list in time! And that’s my job!
Now, let’s compare Jessica to another bride, Leslie.* Leslie told me during our conversations leading up to her wedding that two things were important to her: photographs of her family, & photographs of all the reception decorations & details she’d selected. Leslie put together a detailed list of all the family photos she wanted, & gave it to me well in advance of her wedding day. It was a long list, but she’d planned well & had allotted enough time to make sure we got through family photos smoothly & with minimal stress. She even had her portrait time end a little early before the ceremony, giving me & the second photographer extra time to get those much-wanted reception detail shots before the ceremony.
Both Jessica & Leslie were planners, which I definitely love & appreciate; however, they had very different styles of communication & expectations. Both brides knew what kind of photography they liked, but Leslie took the extra step to prioritize & communicate that with me.
Let me know what’s important to you to photograph. Not everyone wants a photo of every table decoration, but if your sister hand-made every centerpiece & they are all meaningful – tell me that! Are you wearing a broach from your grandmother? Your mother’s veil? Cuff links from your grandfather? Do you have surprise guests showing up, & you want to be sure I know to capture the groom’s look of surprise? Let me know the stories behind the moments & objects makes your wedding day uniquely yours.
There are so many things you can’t plan for on your wedding day. Making a long list ensures you will only get just that list, & all the small & beautiful things that make your wedding truly yours may be overlooked in the hustle of checking off a list. Lists have a place, but your entire wedding day cannot be written down into 25 must-have moments. Let your wedding day unfold naturally. I’ll be there every step of the way to make sure your wedding is documented beautifully.
*Not their real names. Obviously. :)