couple sharing first look in front of the mountains

How to Get the Most Out of Your Photographer

Including the Perfect Wedding Day Photo Shot List

There are many different ways to maximize what you get from your photographer. Some main points to start with are to share inspiration, create a plan together, and then just focus on being present and engaging with your guests. The following tips will help you get more from your photographer, and also enjoy your wedding and your photos more thoroughly.

Share the Love

Part of what makes the best photographers excel at their craft is pulling inspiration from their clients. Because every couple is unique, if you share your story and what you love about photographs, the more in tune they’ll be with you. Some clients may love an editorial portrait more than a slow shutter candid moment, and if your photographer understands that then they’ll know what to pursue given the limited time they have with you and your event. Sharing inspiring images with your photographer, whether they captured them or not, can help them draw inspiration for your wedding day photography.

Photo courtesy of Stetten Wilson Photography, Planning by Amorology

Communicate Your Priorities

Communicate your photo priorities to your photographer. To do this, think about what you’d like to see in your gallery. Do you value seeing the real, not-so-perfect candid moments that unfold naturally than the perfectly posed and styled moments? Look through your wedding day timeline and ask yourself, if two things are happening at the same time, would you prefer the photographer to be in one place instead of another? Whether it be photos of the small décor details, guests at cocktail hour, your stationery suite, the signing of the marriage license, or the cake cutting, make sure your photographer knows what you really want to be captured. Ask your photographer the price for hiring an additional shooter to cover a smaller portion of the day, so everything you want is reflected in your final photo gallery.

Wedding Details
Photo courtesy of Stetten Wilson Photography, Planning by East Made Co.

Schedule a Timeline Consultation

Schedule a meeting with your photographer at least six weeks before your wedding date. Use this time to discuss the timeline, must-have photos from your shot list, different photography locations, etc. You can also discuss expectations for the deliverables from the day. Plan and coordinate a timeline that’s reasonable for the photos you want. Your photographer can help you understand what it takes to get certain shots while considering the timeline and location. Being prepared in this way helps everyone stay calm and positive if something shifts on the wedding day.

Coordinate Meal Times

Make sure that you or your wedding planner have communicated to your caterer that you need to feed your photo (and potentially video) team at the same time that you and your partner eat dinner. This is important so that your creative team can be there during the most important moments of the day and also perform at their best. No one wants photos of them eating and no one wants something epic to happen while their photographer is breaking for dinner.

Photo courtesy of Stetten Wilson Photography, Planning by In Any Event

Gather the Little Details

If having photos of all the little details is important to you, we suggest pulling together your dress, shoes, rings, jewelry, stationery suite, custom favors, etc., and set them aside at the start of the day so that they can be photographed first. Having this kind of easy access will help the photographer be more efficient on the event day.

Be Present

The photos you get will match the level of energy you bring to the day. Your photographer will be there to encourage you to take a quick moment, briefly step back, appreciate the love around you, and soak it all in—then get back onto the dance floor! Trust that the photographer will step in and provide guidance if something needs to happen. You’ve set yourself up for success and now the one thing you can do that will have the biggest impact on your photos is to be present and enjoy the people around you.

Reception Tablescapes
Photo courtesy of Stetten Wilson Photography, Planning by Estera Events


Wedding Day Photo Shot List

Detail Shots

  • Invitation Flat Lay
  • Bouquets & Boutonnieres
  • Bride’s Accessories (Rings, Shoes, Bracelets, Perfume, Handkerchief, etc.)
  • Groom’s Accessories (Pocket Square, Watch, Shoes, Bowtie, etc.)
  • Vows or Vow Booklets
  • Welcome Bag
  • Custom Items (Matches, Napkins, Favors, etc.)


Getting Ready

  • Pajama Photos
  • Hair & Makeup Touch-Ups
  • Putting on Wedding Dress
  • Adjusting Groom’s Bowtie
  • Opening Wedding Day Gifts or Cards
  • Candid Interactions



  • Individual Portraits (Full Body & Close-Ups)
  • Camera-Aware Portraits
  • Candid Portraits
  • Seated Portraits
  • Walking Portraits
  • Environmental Portraits



  • Wide & Tight Shots
  • Décor
  • Programs
  • Processional
  • First Look Reactions
  • Guest Reactions
  • Exchanging of Rings
  • First Kiss
  • Recessional


Wedding Party

  • Posed Group Shots
  • Moving Shots
  • Candid Shots
  • Smaller Groupings



  • Wide & Tight Shots
  • Décor & Installs
  • Table Setting
  • Dancefloor
  • Stage
  • First Dances
  • Speeches
  • Reactions
  • Food & Drink
  • Cake Cutting
  • Traditional or Cultural Elements
  • Ambiance Shots
  • Dancing
  • Exit Shot




All photos courtesy of Stetten Wilson Photography


View the full feature in Volume 1 of The Aisle magazine

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