Are you wondering how to best list your wedding photography requests and what level of specific detail is necessary for our uses?
For your own purposes you’ll probably start by listing your requests followed by a 2nd column of your partner’s list of similarly ordered groupings.
Throughout your wedding day there are moments and portrait groupings that we already plan to capture. I’ll list those below so that you don’t have to type redundantly. Along the way I’ll share what you could list for us that would be helpful.
However you list them, as a photographer I end up pasting the requests into my version of your wedding timeline. I’m interested in when & where I’m going to best capture that moment, those details, or that grouping of loved ones. In light of that I’ve listed shots in that order here.
- Editorial Detail Photos: Your Invitation and any other stationary, jewelry, the gown, shoes, veil, the full ring set, anything else that would make a great lay flat still-life photo about your wedding day.
- Bride’s Finishing Touches in the makeup chair.
- Dressing Candids. attendants and parents helping each other with buttons, ties, etc.
- Wedding Couple Dressing. Traditionally you’re getting ready independently however we’ve had couples get ready together as well. This is most often a parent and an honorary attendant such as a best man getting involved with helping dress.
- Reveals. Often there is a reveal once our bride is dressed. This is where those that haven’t seen our bride in the gown yet get a first look at her. Typically a parent or both parents are present for the reveal and then afterwards there may even be a reveal to the bride’s attendants if they weren’t already present for dressing.
- Bride’s Portraits – After our bride is dressed we tend to spend about 10 minutes getting portraits of her solo, featuring her in her gown and styling. This could be taken in her childhood bedroom, a family room, back yard, nearby park, the hotel.
- Groom’s Portraits – A nice set of portraits of our groom solo looking freshly dressed. This often includes details of the tie, cufflinks, custom features of the suit, socks, etc.
- Parents Portraits – When parents are present for preparations, which is usual, I also create my parent portraits. e.g. Bride with Father, Bride with Mother, Bride with both parents.
- Sibling Portrait – Sometimes, when all siblings are present, especially if we’re at the family home for preparations, we’ll get you and your siblings together as well as your…
- Immediate Family Portrait – If your whole immediate family is present we’ll capture this shot of of our bride or groom with their parents and siblings. This doesn’t include any spouses of the siblings at this point because our couple is not yet together. We’ll add in everyone’s spouses and any of our couple’s nieces and nephews later.
What to list?
If there are particular goals for preparations then list those. If there are special people (other than wedding party) present during prep that you’d like a portrait with then let us know.
Bridesmaids Jumping on Bed – I can not be held responsible if your bed collapses. 🙂
Grandma & Me – My grandma will help my mom get me ready so any candids of her would be great. I’d like a portrait with her too after I’m dressed!
Bride in Mom’s Garden – Mom is proud of her back yard garden. She did all the landscaping last year. She wants a portrait of me and her in the main lane of the garden before we leave the house.
Bride Parents with Portrait – A picture of my mom and dad holding their wedding portrait and recreating the pose.
The Groom’s Socks – The bride’s face is printed on his socks. Please get this detail!
- Ceremony Location and Decor Details
- Ceremony Program & Ushers handing them out
- Guests Arriving if possible we capture guests walking into the space, finding seats, mingling.
- Line Up / Pre-processional Moments When our wedding party and our bride with her parent or walking attendant line up for the processional one of our team stays back to capture some of those sweet moments whether its excitement or nerves.
- Flower Girl & Ring Bearer getting ready, Portraits when possible
- Symbolic Rituals & Activities – e.g. Vows, Rings, Crowns, Kiss, Candles, Communion etc.
- Officiant Speaking
- Parents Listening
- Guests Observing
- Recessional – The wedding couple and each attendant couple walking out down the aisle.
- Fanfare Exit – when applicable – We capture our couple exiting the ceremony space or church with confetti or fanfare. We want to capture guests having fun and our couple running out.
What to List?
You might list specific ceremony details of emphasis or notable unique goals you have for the ceremony coverage. Useful descriptions or backstory can help if you’re sharing about a special person, item, or unique traditional ritual.
The Arbor & Uncle Frank – My Uncle Frank (tall with white mustache) made the Arbor were getting married under and it will move to our back yard after the wedding.
Rose For Grandma – My Grandma will be seated on the front row and I’ll bring her a rose after the candle lighting.
Grandma and Bride in Garden – Grandma will be arriving a half hour early at the ceremony site so that I can make a portrait with her in the garden she planted out back.
First Kiss with Guests in Background if you can get that angle please do.
I’m using the common terms Bride & Groom here to represent 2 members of our wedding couple.
This list as shown takes about 2-3 minutes per group so about 20-30 minutes.
1 The Couple Together
2 Bride’s Immediate Family: Bride’s Parents, her Siblings with their spouses and kids
3 Bride’s Maternal Extended Family: Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents on Mom’s side.
4 Bride’s Paternal Extended Family: Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents on Dad’s side.
5 Bride’s Parents w/ Couple
6 All Parents w/ Couple
(bride’s family is finished after this photo)
7 Groom’s Parents w/ Couple
8 Groom’s Immediate Family: Groom’s Parents, Siblings, Spouses, and Kids
9 Groom’s Maternal Extended Family: Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents
10 Groom’s Paternal Extended Family
11 The Couple with the Wedding Party. Can include Ushers, Ringbearers, and Flowergirls too (can be omitted if we already have this group during photoshoot time and we’re trying to save time)
How to Make Us a Family List
I recommend taking our exact list above and its order (it’s most efficient order we’ve found). Then leave the titles of the group intact “Bride’s Immediate Family” but updated by perhaps helpful details such as “The Jacksons: Mom Janet, Father is Deceased, 2 brothers and a sister, 2 with spouses/partners included, 6 nieces and nephews include our ring bearer and flower girls.”
Omit Irrelevant Groups If the groom’s maternal extended family isn’t coming to the wedding or something like that then cut that from our list.
Note if anyone has a disability that we should know about that requires special care in photographing them. “The groom’s father is in a wheelchair but wants to stand for photos, can only stand 30 seconds at a time.”
If there are divorced and remarried parents or something then we’d add immediate family photos for your mother and step father followed by a shot for father and step mother. Etc. We’d simply be adding some additional immediate family groupings. You can augment our list to add those into the most appropriate spot.
One time we got a special request to take the groom’s family portrait in a garden adjacent to the church rather than up front inside. We saved the immediate family photos till last on the list and did those outdoors in that garden after the church exit.
We consider this time an opportunity to get creative and be somewhere other than our ceremony space. In some cases, when our couple sees each other prior to the ceremony, we make this set of photos prior to the ceremony.
- Bride with all her Attendants (2-3 different variations) – Bridesmaids, Bridesmen, Maid of Honor, Man of honor, Flowergirls. We’d get walking, perhaps twirling, lined up straight, spaced out. Some variety. Usually a couple different settings if time permits.
- Bride with each attendant – We call these one on ones. It would be our Bride with each of her attendants one at a time. These take about 45 seconds each.
- Groom with all his attendants (usually but not always groomsmen)
- Groom with each attendant, best man, etc
- Couple with Entire Wedding Party – this can be with and/or without ushers, ring bearers, flower girls, etc.
- Couple Together & Individually – We want to spend at least 20-30 minutes with our couple in a variety of settings. We want classic poses, candid poses, movement, and stillness. Variety. Some fun, some romantic. Tell us what you’re most excited about.
Helpful Listed Items?
Bride or Groom with Subsets of Attendants – If requested we’d get shots such as the Bride with the 3 bridesmaids who are her cousins, Bride with 2 bridesmaids she grew up with in the neighborhood. Groom with his Siblings.
We had one couple note that they wanted a picture together with the couple who introduced them to one another at a wedding several years earlier. We did that 4 person shot during our wedding party time since that couple was in the wedding party.
Keep in mind that the more nuts we go with wedding party groups, the less time we have with our couple together.
Specific Pose: If there is a specific pose like “under the veil together”, location, or other groups want then feel free to suggest those and/or share a PDF or Pinterest board with me.
- Details of Cocktail Area such as guest sign in book or place card table.
- Guests Mingling at Cocktail Hour
- Details of the Dining Room includes Cake, Tablescapes, Whole Room, Signage, Favors, you name it.
- Specialty Cocktail – If applicable.
We spend the final 15-20 minutes of cocktail hour capturing your room details prior to the guests sitting down. We also set up lights and prepare for your dinner introductions and the start of dinner hour.
List for Us
Note for us if there are any key people you want a photo with during cocktail hour or any specific detail that might slip our attention. e.g. a small detail carved into the handle of the cake knife. I may not have seen it and only photographed the entire cake vs. getting a detail of the knife handle as well.
- Introductions – Guests cheering, you all entering one at a time.
- Toasts – Guests listening and reacting, the person toasting, the couple listening and enjoying toasts.
- Cake Cutting or other Rituals – Are there any bread breaking rituals? We’ll capture it. Simply listing it on the timeline gets it captured by us. You don’t have to also list “Cake Cutting”.
- Table Shots (Not Usually) – We spend a lot of time focused on guest coverage all day and so we don’t recommend table shots. If we must, it’s fastest if the couple is not in the photos (everyone wants to greet and chat and it’ll wind up taking at least 1 minute per table). If toasts ran long and dinner is down then we have to sit and eat when we have time and may not be able to photograph every table. For this reason and others, we don’t guarantee table shots nor recommend them but we can explore the possibility on request.
AFTER DINNER reception
- First Dance – Whether you do this before or after dinner, we capture it. Just make sure it’s on your timeline and that we’re in the room before it starts. 🙂
- Parent Dances – We love it when these are at least 90 seconds long or more and really love it when parent dances precede the first dance.
- Traditional Dances – Please list any traditional dances for us if they aren’t already on the timeline. This could be a Hora, Money Dance, or others.
- Guests & our Couple Dancing
- Guests Sitting and Mingling
- Guests Enjoying Photobooth or other Features of your Reception
- Sweets Table or Late Night Snacks
Other things to list?
Friends or Coworkers Are there any friend or college alumni school groups you’d love a group shot with? It can take 3-5 minutes to round these up with loud music pumping but might be worth the shot! Let me know and let your DJ or band know.
End of Night Shot – If you’re interested in leaving your dance floor for 5-10 minutes we can capture some kind of dramatic night or twilight scene with you two. Let us know. Or let us know on the night of your event. We can play it by ear.