Should I provide my photographer with a list of photographs I would like?
This question is asked a lot and it has become a controversial issue for wedding photographers. In short, the answer to this is a resounding NO!
For any wedding couple, choosing your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions that you will make when planning your wedding. For years to come, long after the flowers have wilted and the cake has been cut, the photographs that hang on your walls will be the main reminder of your big day. The photographs are what you will show your children and grandchildren. They are the best way to capture the many magical moments from your wedding day and they are incredibly important.
So, it is completely understandable that many brides stress themselves out about their wedding photographs. They feel so much pressure to get the pictures perfect. They are worried that there will be photographs that they really want, that their photographer will not think to take.
Understandably, many brides think it is a great idea to send through the list of photographs that they want. This list, can be anything up to three pages long and unfortunately it will not help me or any professional photographer to do our job well.
Here is an example of the dreaded list that I am talking about: https://www.weddingsonline.ie/blog/wedding-photo-checklist
In my experience, as a professional photographer, there are so many reasons why creating this list is a not a good idea.
Relax! I Am Prepared!
When I meet a wedding couple I will go through their ideas and what they are looking for from their day. Making sure that we are on the same page is essential. I always send the couple through a list of tips and a questionnaire for them to fill out. This gives me all the information that I need to ensure that the style of photography that I have in mind, suits them and is what they are looking for. They can then leave all the work to me on the day, safe in the knowledge that I am well prepared. That’s what you are paying me for!
Experience and Instinct
For most couples, this is their first time as the bride and groom. As a professional photographer, I photograph up to 5 weddings a week. I have a wealth of experience and a strong instinct when it comes to getting the right pictures to capture each part of your day. I will see photographs that you may not even think of taking.
Every bride should go through a photographer’s portfolio before they make a booking. That is the best possible example of a photographers work and what they were able to capture for another bride. My portfolio speaks for itself and I pride myself on creating magical moments for every bride I work with. You can review my portfolio on my website www.dkphoto.ie
However, if I am fixated on ticking off the photographs on your list, I am not free to find the magic on your day. The laughter with your bridesmaids as the champagne corks pop, the flower girl watching with awe as your make up is done, the excitement on your face as you look at your dress that morning, the way your father is looking at you from across the room, your groom’s reaction as you walk up the aisle, the intimate glances you exchange throughout the ceremony. These amazing moments cannot be staged. You must trust in me to capture these magical moments as they happen naturally on the day. There is no list that can create these moments.
Forget about your photographs! You can see samples here : www.dkphoto.ie
The photographs that all my brides get the most excited about are the natural moments that I have snapped when they didn’t even realise I was there. You cannot fake excitement, emotion or joy. You cannot generate a special moment with your groom, your family or your friends. You are not an actress! Allowing yourself to enjoy and genuinely experience your day will make for an amazing photo shoot for the photographer.
It can be very difficult for a photographer when you find a photograph online or on social media that you want on your day. Each and every couples wedding day is unique. No two days are the same. We have to work with your location, your dress, your veil and everything that’s special about your day. I always recommend that we create a WOW photograph that is unique to your day, rather than trying to re-create a special moment from someone else’s day.
The Only List Needed
There is only one list of photos that I always ask for, from my Brides. As a family man myself, I know how important your family is on your wedding day. Understanding the family tree is very important to me as your photographer. I like to know how many family pictures you need taken and how the family dynamics work. That’s the only list I need!
Junebug Wedding blog wrote a piece last year about this subject. You can read it in full here: http://bit.ly/2oyyhuQ
My favourite excerpt is:
“LET THE MAGIC HAPPEN
While you may want every moment of your wedding to be perfect, those “perfect” moments you’ve seen in photos happened organically. If you hand your photographer a shot list with photos you found on Pinterest of newlyweds in cute poses, you hinder their ability to capture you genuinely basking in the glow of your day, in your own cute poses. What makes those photos you love so special are the authentic moments occurring without regard for the camera. When you and your photographer try to recreate something, you lose the natural element that made the image so striking in the first place.
More important than providing your photographer with a folder of your favourite Pinterest portraits is having excellent chemistry with them before the wedding day. If you truly love their photography style, feel inspired by their work, and click with them personally, we guarantee your photos are the ones that will inspire future brides and grooms.
– Nicola from Junebug Weddings
HOW TO HELP YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER WITHOUT SENDING PHOTO LIST
Should I provide my photographer with a list of photographs I would like?
Let’s focus on what you can do to help your photographer get the very best photographs for you on your day.
I am as eager to arrive on your wedding day as you are to see me. Please give good directions to all the places you are planning to go to on the day. Most importantly where you are getting ready, but also the church, hotel, and locations for photographs that you have chosen, like a park or beach. Post codes help a lot!
If you are getting ready in your family house and it’s not that easy to find, put a balloon at the gate! Your make-up artist, hairdresser, videographer, florist, and I will all thank you for it!
Communicate the Essential Details
Although I don’t want a list, I absolutely want to know the details that are important to you. There are photographs that you will want to get with certain people and in certain places. Perhaps your grandfather is visiting in the morning but not able to attend the ceremony, your Godmother has travelled from Australia and is doing a reading in the ceremony, your Dad restored the vintage car you are travelling in and he is driving you on your wedding day, or your Aunt lovingly made the wedding cake. I don’t see these details as a list. These details give me important information about what photographs you need on your day and helps me to capture the photographs that you have been dreaming of.
The Family Tree
Getting a family photo list is important as I need to know what family dynamics are important to you. I normally take a photograph of the bride with her parents and then build up the family, adding in siblings, extended family and the bridal party as we go along. If individual pictures are important with your Mum, Dad, Chief Bridesmaid, brother etc. just let me know. I recommend very close family for individual pictures as too many take up to much time.
The family portraits can take the most time on the day and can be the most painful pictures to take. It’s incredibly important to have someone reliable on hand to round up your family on the day. So much time is wasted when we have to wait for a missing sibling to arrive or are trying to locate the flower girl!
Here Comes the Bride!
I love to get a lot of photographs of the bride walking up the aisle and when the bride and groom walk out together. Help me achieve this by walking slowly. Say hello to your friends and family as you walk as these can create lovely moments. Enjoy yourself and take your time.
During the ceremony, hold hands and look at each other. There can be beautiful moments exchanged between a couple during the ceremony if you allow yourself to enjoy it. Take a deep breath and let go of your nerves. The more relaxed you are during the ceremony the easier it is for me to capture the happiness and excitement you are feeling.
So many couples actually marry their priest instead of each other! Nerves get in the way and they are thinking about what they have to say and do, rather than enjoying the moment. Face your beloved and look at them. This allows me to capture this incredibly special time.
Enjoy every minute and trust in the conversations that we have had leading up to your big day. I am a professional and I want you to be blown away by the amazing moments I have captured on your day. I am there in the background to watch you celebrate this magical time in your life. It’s my job to create the beautiful photographs that you will cherish forever and to capture the moments that surpass all your expectations. That’s what makes my job so special and why I feel so privileged to be part of your wedding day.
I love working as a wedding photographer and it genuinely means so much to me, to be part of my bride and grooms wedding days. It is my pleasure to help all my couples to have the best day ever and to take the best photographs I can possibly take.
If you use the tips and tricks that I have outlined above you will be helping your wedding photographer to capture your day in all its’ glory. But forget about the dreaded list. Focus on the details of your day and let the magic happen!
Should I provide my photographer with a list of photographs I would like? – I hope it answers all questions ! 🙂