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Why Giving Your Wedding Photographer an Extensive Shot List isn’t a Good Idea

November 7, 2017

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Hi I’m Morgan! I’m a photography educator and Raleigh, NC newborn photographer and family photographer.

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Why You Shouldn’t Give Your Wedding Photographer a Crazy Shot List

“So, I have a Pinterest board of all of these different poses I want to do on my wedding day. Is that something you’ll do?” THIS is one of the most common questions I get asked as a wedding photographer.

And I’ll tell you all what I tell everyone who asks me this question. Yes, I’ll try my very best to accommodate your request. BUT, it’s also my job to set realistic expectations. The exact circumstances under which we’ll be taking these photos are likely different than what you’ve seen on Pinterest. The lighting is different, the environment and background are different, and the people are different. So I’ll recreate your requested shot to the best of my ability, but please know that it’s not going to be an exact replica.

I also suggest that you narrow it down to just a couple of poses that you really love instead of handing over a shot list of 20 different poses to your photographer. Unless of course you want to be your photographer’s worst nightmare, and then, by all means, hand them the list of 20 different poses.

By this point you can probably sense that the Pinterest question is not one of my favorites. And I hate to be the one to break the silence, but it’s not a favorite for most wedding photographers, and you deserve to know why.

Why Wedding Photographers Don’t Like Working off of Pinterest Boards

When you hire me as your wedding photographer, I assume you’re doing so because you trust me. You love my work and my style, and you want your wedding photos to look similar to weddings I’ve shot in the past. You are hiring me to do my job, and you trust that I’ll do it and do it well.

If you then hand over your Pinterest board that’s chock-full of wedding photos that you want taken on your wedding day, I feel confused. Did you want to hire me as your photographer? Did you want your photos to look like I took them? Do you trust me to do my job? Or was there someone on your Pinterest board that you would’ve rather hired?

As a wedding photographer, I take great pride in my work. I continually educate myself so that I can do my job to the very best of my ability. I work hard at what I do, and I do it so that I can consistently deliver a product to my clients that they’re over-the-moon-happy with. I do it so that my clients know that they can trust me to document their wedding day in only a way that I can do it. Suffice it to say that when someone hands over a different photographer’s work that they want replicated, it stings a little bit.

Not only does it sting, but it’s stifling. I have a pretty regular routine of running a wedding day. I know which poses I’m going to do with you. I know from experience what works and what doesn’t work. And because I value getting to know my clients, I also know what will work with you specifically and what won’t.

When I have to cut my usual routine short to fit in all of the Pinterest poses, you’re missing out on what you hired me to do. I can’t do my best work, because I’m creatively stifled by trying to remember to fit in every single thing you requested. It’s like Morgan has left the building and Pinterest photographer has arrived. Once again, you’re not utilizing me for what you presumably hired me for.

Why you shouldn't give your wedding photographer an extensive shot list

Don’t Try to Recreate Someone Else’s Day

Beyond the fact that it’s slightly insulting to your photographer, you’re also doing yourself a disservice. These photos that you want so badly? They’re from SOMEONE ELSE’S wedding day. So instead of really soaking up your own wedding day and the unique parts of it that can only be found on your day, you’re running around trying to recreate someone else’s wedding day.

You’re going to stress yourself out, and you’re going to exhaust yourself, your husband, your bridal party and your photographer. Believe me when I say this is not a recipe for a joyful wedding day – both for you and for everyone involved in your photo taking circus.

If there are certain moments you want captured or certain people you want photos with, that’s totally and completely different. If, for instance, you want the first look with your dad photographed or you want a photo with a distant relative who’s really special to you or there’s a special detail you’ve worked months to perfect and you want that photographed, that’s a different ballgame. Those are moments that unfold naturally, and your photographer will likely be happy to accommodate you.

Hire a Photographer You Trust

I say all of this to say hire a wedding photographer who you trust. Hire a photographer whose style you absolutely love. Hire a photographer who you’re comfortable with – someone you know you’ll be able to be your most natural self around.

If you do this, you shouldn’t feel the need micromanage your photographer. You’ll know that they’ll document your day exactly how you want them to.

And ultimately, this results in a more joyful, happy and stress-free wedding day for you. That’s what I want for all of my brides, and if you’re getting married, it’s definitely what you should want for yourself.

  1. Whitney says:

    Love your work and agree completely! Your clients should hire you for you and what you do!

  2. Brandie says:

    Oh this is beautifully written advice! Enjoying your wedding day without the added pressure of recreating someone else’s is the most important thing and ultimately leads to a much joyful experience!❤️

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