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  • Writer's pictureShannon Ritter

Wedding Shot Lists |Shannon, should I have one?

Updated: Apr 4

Here at Shannon Ritter Photography we believe that too many previous brides and grooms are telling wedding couples what they should be doing. If you are early in the wedding planning process I am sure you have heard from your aunt who got married decades ago, your friend who knows all of the things about everything, and perhaps the stranger who noticed your ring. This is Rachel Green, yes she married into the perfect name, and yes she had a shot list. One of the reasons this was really helpful was because Mrs. Rachel Green wanted all of the portraits! She scheduled two hours of portraits on her wedding day. Rachel created a Pinterest board with 42 pins of photos that she really loved. I then used this board to plan our portrait time. From Rachel's Pinterest board/shot list, I created a location list including pictures at the beach, on the boardwalk, leaving the church, in a garden setting, and details of the day.

Rachel's Pinterest board showed me what she was excited for on her wedding day. I coordinated guests outside the church for a few things specifically. I wanted to be sure that guests closest to the couple would have the ribbon wands. I asked guests to move in close for the exit and to fill the frame. Rachel and I both agree that her photos depicts the perfection of HER day.

After 5 years of owning my family photography business I started training to be a wedding photographer. Nearly six years later and countless weddings, I have had couples with and without a shot list and both have ended up with great portraits! A wedding shot list can be a helpful tool for both photographers and couples ensuring significant details and favorite venue locations are captured during your big day. After the pros and cons list you are able to see photos from Rachel's wedding that were not on the shot list.


  1. Organization: A shot list helps in organizing the photographic process by outlining the specific moments of importance and locations at your venue. You will notice that I mentioned that number of photos that Rachel had on her Pinterest Board.

  2. Communication: Pinterest served as a great communication tool between the Rachel and I. It helped me understand what she was planning and going to be the most excited about on their day.

  3. Memory Aid: Weddings are hectic, and I have shot weddings that portrait time was cut drastically short. Like only 7 minutes of portraits short. I was able to create lots of shots in those seven minutes but I would have loved to have a shot list in my back pocket during that stressful moment.

  4. Efficiency: I have a tried and true group/family shot planning list so that we are not chasing down people during the cocktail hour/family photos. Ask my previous couples, we do not loose wedding portrait time due to family/friends. I don't consider family photos part of your shot list! Rachel did have a shot list and I did use it during transportation to other portrait locations. My second photographer also checked things off of this list while I was working with Mr. & Mrs. Green.


  1. Rigidity: One of the main drawbacks is that a shot list can make the photography process feel rigid and less spontaneous. The reason I don't shoot exclusively with venues is because I love being creative and curating photos that are proof of what happened during your wedding day. If you want a photo of you and your love bird standing in the same spot as every other couple at your venue I am not that photographer for you. Now, if you are looking to incorporate the steps of your venue into your wedding portraits and would love to sit and cuddle while you give your tired feet a rest, or have pictures of your spouse carrying your dress, or going down the steps to your first look you are my kind of client.

  2. Overlooking Moments: Focusing too much on the shot means your photos are missing spontaneous and genuine moments that happen during your wedding day. These candid moments are often cherished by couples and where you are able to see your most genuine moments.

  3. Limited Flexibility: Wedding environments can be unpredictable, and a shot list might not account for changes in weather, or other unforeseen circumstances. A strict adherence to the list limits the ability to adapt to these situations. I talked about this in the blog post of Rachel's wedding and the 10 day weather forecast.

In conclusion, while a wedding shot list can be a valuable tool for ensuring important moments are captured, it's important to strike a balance. A flexible approach that allows for spontaneity and creativity, along with a well-thought-out shot list, can result in a well-rounded and personalized wedding album which is my top priority.


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