Happy Friday! Thought I would end the day with a little Friday wedding tip! I'm going to share some input on how to make a great "must have" photo list for your photographer. I've been photographing weddings for well over a decade now and I've seen lists that work really well and I've seen lists that have made my team feel like we are on a photo scavenger hunt. Making an effective list is important so that you are guaranteed to get the most out of your wedding day pictures. With that, I have compiled a list of my thoughts on what makes the best wedding day photo list.
1. Hire a photographer you trust will capture the obvious. If you do that, you don't need to put things on the list like: Bride and groom together. Dad walking bride down the isle. The Cake. The first dance. If you hand your photographer a four page list that includes obvious items they are left to sift through it to find the things that aren't obvious and possibly even apt to miss something if it is mixed in with a large list of unnecessary items.
2. Keep it simple. If you have creative ideas that you would like to see done, that is something to have a discussion about with your photographer before the wedding day and see how that fits with the photographers creativity and vision. I'm always happy to do that quirky shot that my client always wanted, on a bicycle or running on the beach. However a list that includes 20 "creative suggestions" doesn't leave much room for the photographer to offer their expertise to your day.
3. There is a right way and a wrong way to make a family photo list. If you are that person (like me) who has a huge family that includes mom's side and dad's side and the step family and 50 cousins and the neighbors who are like family, you'll want to list all of that out for your photographer so that you don't have to worry about one of those important groups being missed (and you don't have to think about it at the wedding!). However, there is definitely a way to make that list simple and easy for your photographer to understand. Start by identifying each group by who they are "The Neighbors", "The Entire Smith Family","The Smith Cousins" etc. Then list the approximate quantity of people in the group. It doesn't need to be an exact count but I have had clients say "it's a large group" meaning 17 people while other have said "it's a large group" meaning 250 people. As for the wrong way to make a list, writing out everyone's first name is probably the most difficult for you, but it's also more challenging for the photographer. I always say I'll know within a few minutes who your grandparents are, but I may leave at the end of the night and still not know who Joan and Bob are. So as an addition if you choose to add that information that is fine, however just knowing that we will be gathering the Smith Cousins is all the information that I need to get that group together quickly.
4. Put your list in a logical order. Try to put your family list in order from the largest group of people to the smallest group in each family. I always go through the list myself before the wedding day and also make sure that they are in the most efficient order, however it's definitely helpful when my client has already put a little thought into that.
5. Give your list to your photographer before the wedding day. This is helpful if there are any concerns with the timeline the photographer can address that ahead of time.
So there's my list of tips for making a list! It's important to note that about half of my clients don't provide a list at all. I always try to talk with my clients and chat about what pictures we are getting and if there isn't a complex extended family or unusual events throughout the day, often a list isn't even necessary. However when it is, it is important to make a strong must have photo list so that your photographer is able to best utilize their time. If your photographer is wasting time organizing a complex list or trying to find list of people that are poorly identified, that is time that they could have spent capturing more creative moments of your day.
A few group pictures that we've captured lately! Salisbury House in Des Moines (a personal favorite for weddings!), The vineyard at Calico Skies Winery (another great location!). A crazy bar stop where we were able to get some fun and casual friend pictures. As well as a stop in Le Mars for wedding day photographs.