Are you hiring an event photographer? If so, you might want to create a shot list.
An event photography shot list is essentially a checklist of every key moment that needs to be captured. Whether it’s a portrait of a bridesmaid giving a toast, a candid shot of clients, or a shot of a landscape venue— an event photography shot list records this down to its last detail.
Having a shot list ensures that your event photographer will know what to focus on. It’s an important communication tool so that you get exactly what you need.
This article is your one-stop guide to understand what an event photography shot list entails, its importance, as well as a comprehensive guide of 46 shots for you to include into your own lists.
What Should You Include in Your Event Photography Shot List?
Description of the Required Shot
What exactly does the required shot look like? For starters, an event photography shot list entails the photos that absolutely need to be included. To provide your event photographer with a more comprehensive guide, feel free to provide visual examples you expect your photographer to capture. For events with multiple key speakers, VIPs or stakeholders, do include information on your key personnel— the more the merrier! Add images of your stakeholders, titles, as well as key parts of the event to help your photographer better decide how and what to focus on.
Time and Location
When and where does this shot take place? As with any event, providing a timeline of your expected shots will help orientate your photographer to be at the right place, at the right time. Should the camera point to any sponsored products that should be subtly featured in the background? Should this be taken before or after the guests arrive? Let your event photographer know these details so they can better time the perfect shot.
On-Site Contact Information
Who should my event photographer go to for help if needed? The sheer volume of people and number of key personnel to capture may be overwhelming, and that’s all part of the fun! Make sure you provide the details of a person-in-charge in case your event photographer needs assistance in capturing these key moments.
Why Are Event Photography Shot Lists Important?
To Discern Your Purpose
Every shot should have an intended purpose. By listing your shots, this allows you to view them at a birds’ eye view and to streamline any repetitions or unnecessary shots. With a tight timeframe, event photography shot lists help you and your event photographer ensure the efficacy and value of each moment captured.
To Be Properly Equipped for Your Event
With sample images and detailed descriptions of each event, this ensures that your photographer is well prepared for your occasion! Wide-lens shots of your venue, portrait pictures and candid shots may all require different camera lenses, lighting and stands. Providing your event photographer with a shot list hence minimizes any last minute hiccups, essentially helping you ensure the accuracy of all your photographs taken.
To Please Your Stakeholders
Your stakeholders are the key personnel who need to be included in your photographs, one way or the other. While a vast repertoire of shots may include guests and your extravagant venue décor, having an event photography shot list that includes the guests of honour or VIPs ensures that you capture the people who are integral to the event.
A General Guide
If you’re unsure of where to begin, you can always start from these 4 categories and add more details to your event photography shot list as you go along. Eventually, you should string these shots in a timeline to help your photographer visualise the flow of your event as well as to allocate sufficient time for every slot.
Do you have any specific décor or sponsored products that absolutely need to be photographed? Include these shots that are unique to your event, and your photographer is sure to capture your required close-up shots.
In almost every occasion, there may be important stakeholders who comprise the backbone of your event. List them down as key personnel— be it your VIP, Guests of honour or the Bride and Groom’s parents, and your event photographer will be sure to take portraits of them.
Does your venue leave your guests wonderstruck? Include the interior and exterior of a venue into your shot list! Your event photographer will be sure to turn up before your guests to immortalise these key spaces before their arrival. Additionally, arriving early provides your event photographer with more time to familiarise themselves with the area before the main event.
An event is never completed without your happy guests! Frame up their candid laughter, handshakes and poses— there are a myriad of possibilities to work with, and these stakeholders undoubtably form an integral part of telling the story of an event.
46 Essential Shots You Do Not Want to Miss
Wedding Shot List
- Bride and groom dressing up
The first look—everyone’s interested in portraits of your bride and groom’s wedding makeover, and your wedding photographer should be there to document this all the way!
- Bride putting on garter with bridesmaids looking on
Did you know this tradition dates back to the Dark Ages, where it was considered good luck to take home a piece of the bride’s clothing? It’s watered down now, but still a sight to capture!
- Mother adjusting bride’s veil
It’s a big day not only for the bride, but for her parents too. Make sure to capture that sparkle in her mother’s eyes as she prepares her daughter for this memorable day!
- Bride pinning boutonniere on father
Make sure that your wedding photographer is there to capture your bride fastening the boutonniere to her father’s left label! It’s said to ward off bad luck, did you know?
- Bridesmaids and Groomsmen surrounding bride and groom
Gather your bridesmaids and strike a pose with the bride. Make sure to include your bridal décor—anything ranging from your wedding corsages, bouquets or even flower petals—go wild with it! For the groomsmen, show off your watches, your boutonnieres and bow ties; you’ll look so dashing.
- Church entrance
With towering marble arches holding up high ceilings, ivory steps leading to an opulent door and intricate stone carvings—churches are a sight to behold! Make sure your wedding photographer comes in early to snap pictures of its entrance, decorated interior and exterior before the guests arrive.
- Rings on pillow
It’s all in the details, and your wedding rings should definitely be photographed. Tie it well to a pillow and make sure it’s positioned well to show off its key features— a shiny rock, a slim band or its inner engravements.
- Guests arriving through doors
Guests streaming in are one of the most exciting parts of a church wedding. Everyone’s fresh and wearing their best, and we want every moment of it to be documented.
- Candid pictures of guests being seated
Are your bride and grooms’ families shaking hands, sharing a laughter or in an exciting conversation? Take a picture of the buzz!
- Parents being seated
A bride and groom’s parents are essentially VIPs of the wedding, so make sure to include key shots of them in your list.
- Band or choir playing in the background
Cathedral music is the epitome of peacefulness and grace. Make sure to snap a few shots of this elegant moment!
- Groomsmen and bridesmaids coming down aisle
You can’t miss this! Usually comprising of their best friends and family members, you should definitely include shots of the groomsmen looking dashing in their blazers and bridesmaids in their matching gowns.
- Flower children sprinkling petals
Capture the moment as these munchkins bumble down the aisle! A symbol of fertility and new life, these adorable flower girls are sure to win over everyone’s hearts.
- Groom at the alter looking on
A groom’s expression as the bride descends down the aisle is one of the most precious, raw moments you can photograph. It’s a culmination of emotions displayed all at once, and this is sometimes a real tear-jerker for everyone in the room.
- Bride descending down aisle
The moment that everyone’s been waiting for. Any professional wedding photographer should know that when the bride glides down the aisle, the camera should be furiously clicking away— it’s a moment to be immortalised. We want pictures of the stunning bride, the wonderstruck audience, the band playing in the background; all of it!
- Father giving away the bride
It’s always a precious moment to see a father give away his daughter. Make sure to capture this sight!
- Bride and groom at alter
Try a portrait of them—with the alter in the background, this is sure to be a sacred shot.
- Exchange of vows
Taking each other into holy matrimony? Adorable, love it, I wish it were me. Snap a heap ton of pictures of this one, we want to get these two lovebirds’ lifetime commitment in black and white.
- Exchange of rings
This is where you capture the groom placing a ring on his brides’ finger, and vice versa. Feel free to go closer— you want to be able to capture a closeup of these rings as well!
- Parents’ reactions
Are they tearing up? Do their eyes glisten with pride? Here’s a great time to snap a few shots of the crowd, especially the bride and grooms’ close family members.
- Portrait of “you may kiss the bride” moment
I cannot emphasise this enough— fire away! It’s possibly going to be quick and chaste (we’re in a cathedral, duh) so make sure to prepare well to this moment; it’s a kiss the couple’s going to want to fondly come back to for the rest of their married lives.
- Wide shot with groomsmen and bridesmaids looking on as they kiss
While the sweet couple is at it, we want to make sure to capture a wider angle of their groomsmen/bridesmaids gazing at them in triumph. It’s been a wild ride, and it’s only right to include their best friends in this special moment.
- Bride and groom exiting church
Snap a few pictures of them as they descend down the aisle, and then another few with their backs facing the camera. Capturing this is a slow decrescendo to the end of our first wedding segment.
- Pictures with family and extended family members
Outside the church, the bride and groom will usually spend a bit of time taking pictures with their groups of guests— most importantly, do include family shots into your list!
- Bride and groom entering getaway car
Where are these two lovebirds going? Probably to get ready for the evening wedding reception. Nevertheless, make sure to take loads of shots of them entering the vehicle, waving farewell, as well as the decorated car pulling out of the driveway!
Wedding Party Reception
- Décor pictures
Again, it’s all in the details! A wedding reception is the pinnacle of fun, and we want to capture all the special bits before the party begins. Make sure to include pictures of the wedding cake, food arrangements, table décor, champagne tower, guest book and more!
- Emcee portrait
What is a reception without an emcee! With a lively figure to stir up the crowd, make sure to capture portraits of this animated speaker, as well as the entertained audience.
- Speeches by best man, maid of honour and parents
Speeches filled with love and fun-filled experiences should not go undocumented! Make sure to capture these key stakeholders of the night, as well as to snap a few pictures of the bride and groom in the audience.
- Champagne toast by bride and groom
To thank the guests for sharing their special day, the bride and groom may raise a toast to the crowd. Make sure to take a few shots of this sight, especially if a short speech is being delivered.
- Cake cutting by by bride and groom
As with any big event, a wedding is never complete without a cake! Include into your wedding shot list the moment when your bride and groom slice their tiered cake hand-in-hand.
- Guests dancing in the ballroom
As the floor clears and the lights dim, the guests enjoying a round of ballroom dancing is a sight to behold! Take multiple shots of these different dance partner pairings, and it may warm your heart. For starters, make sure to capture the newlywed couple together, the bride dancing with her father, and the groom dancing with his mother.
- Family photos
With an outfit change from the church ceremony, make sure to take pictures for the bride and groom with their special family members and friend groups as well.
- Bride showing ring to bridesmaids
We want to see the biggest smile plastered on our bride, showing their rings off to their bridesmaids— it’s truly a key mileSTONE!
- Tossing of bouquet
Last but not the least, a fun-filled bouquet toss to end off the evening!
Corporate Event Shot List
- Happy attendees
Your guests play a key role in telling the story of your event. Make sure to include shots of your attendees posing with their arms around one another, caught in a candid handshake or even exchanging business cards—we want to see it all!
Your sponsors are easily one of the most important stakeholders in the room. Make sure to document their attendance as their presence could contribute to marketing ROI.
- VIPs and special guests
Aside from sponsors, your VIP and special guests’ presence should similarly be documented.
- Speakers and panellists
When including these stakeholders into your event photography shot list, it’s important to also consider capturing shots of the audience during a Q&A segment.
- Award winners
Portraits should be taken for these award winners, who are a key part of your event.
- Interior and exterior
Is your corporate venue extravagant and well-decorated? Make sure to include a landscape shot of the venue into your list— not only will this suggest to your event photographer to arrive before the event, it may provide them with more time to orientate themselves before the corporate event.
- Higher vantage point
Taking it from a higher vantage point may allow you to better include marketing features— i.e. sponsored banners, products or giftbags.
- Business name card and name tag
Are your guests mingling and exchanging their name cards? Capture this! It’ll look so good on your company’s event page or social platforms.
Sponsored banners may be part of the marketing agenda, so make sure to take multiple angles of these—a straight shot, subtly working it into the background, or otherwise!
- Sign-in notebook
Especially when VIPs or special guests are at the entrance, we want to make sure that their signatures are well documented in our attendance notebook.
- Food and refreshments
Often sponsored products, these pastries, drinks or snacks may need to be included into the shot lists to support marketing.
- Goodie bags
Guests should never leave a party empty handed, and goodie bags are just a small token to spice up the fun! Make sure to capture shots of these plethora of goodie bags to show your appreciation for the attendees.
You’re all set to create your own event photography shot lists! You can copy our list, or use it as a base to create your own.
While this guide offers nifty examples of what categories and shots to include into your own lists, feel free to always consult your professional event photographer on the details required and they should be ready to assist you.