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  • Writer's pictureVlad Kolesnikov

THE Shot List

Hi! This has been the subject of many wedding photography forums, a frequently asked question by clients and overall a very important aspect of the wedding day when it comes to photography and how to plan the wedding day, I hope that this post brings a little more insight and help to both photographers and future brides alike.


Here are some examples of shot lists from popular Wedding Blogs



While it is not realistically possible for every wedding to have the opportunity to make each and every photo on this list happen, this is my comprehensive list that I have come up with that I believe covers all the essential photos for a wedding day album and I hope you For practical purposes I like to break up the wedding day into several sections, the Pre-Getting Ready, Actual Getting Ready, Ceremony, Portraits, Cocktail & Reception. What is Pre-getting ready? Regardless of what time I am scheduled to arrive I always arrive at least 30-60 minutes early to get a feel for the venue on the day of and get some establishing shots as well as brainstorming some shot ideas for later. At this point you should be somewhere half way through makeup and hair. This is also a great time to take care of all the Detail photos such as: Dress, Shoes, Rings, Jewelry, Florals, invitations, both individually and as a flatlay/setup. All of this usually takes between 30-60 minutes 1. Establishing shots of venue (Interior & Exterior)

Reception space at David's Country Inn in Hackettstown NJ




2. Dress Hanging

Dress on the vine covered exterior of David's Country Inn in Hackettstown NJ




3. Shoes



4. Jewelry




5. Rings




6. Flowers - This includes boutonnieres & corsages as well




7. Invitation/Stationary




8. Flatlay/The Whole Setup




- Getting Ready -


At this point makeup should mostly be done and everyone has that glowing wedding day look and is ready for some group photos! This is when we start working together to get your shots and making sure that the rest of the day is as fun, exciting, whimsical, serendipitous and stress free as possible. The timing of the getting ready can ultimately set the pace for the rest of the day so this is very important point to coordinate with your vendors. This part usually takes around 60 minutes for photo coverage and this is where we get all the essential "getting ready shots" 1. Bride getting Makeup

Bride getting touchups at The Garrison Wedding Venue & Country Club in Garrison NY




2. Bride getting Hair




3. Group shots with bridesmaids in getting ready outfits




4. Bride alone with the dress


Bride getting ready to put on the wedding dress at The Garrison Country Club in Garrison NY



5. Zipping up the dress

Mother Helping Bride with Dress at Fountains Resort in Middletown NY



6. Moment alone with Mom - This is a great opportunity to share some special mother daughter words before the ceremony!




7. Putting on shoes

Brides Sister helps with her shoes at the Marina Del Ray in Bronx NY




8. Putting on earrings

Bride putting on earrings at the bridal suite at Le Chateau in South Salem NY




9. First Look with Bridesmaids

First Look with Bridesmaids at Le Chateau in South Salem NY




10. First Look with Dad - This is also a great time to spend a few intimate moments with family before the ceremony!




1 1. Bridal Portraits in Dress - Bride is ready!



12. Back of Dress shot



Grooms Coverage is typically much easier to handle and can be accomplished in as little as 30 minutes.


  1. Groom Details (Cufflinks/Watch/Shoes/Belt/Jacket)




  1. A few candids of guys being guys




  1. Best Man helping with Jacket




  1. Groom putting on cufflinks



  1. Groom putting on Shoes



  1. Portraits of Groom dressed




At this point there is a split in timelines depending on whether you opt for a "first look" before the ceremony or not.


If you plan on doing a first look, we will first position your FH to create a scene that can unfold in a natural and authentic way for us to capture. Spend a few minutes alone, then let us make a few formal portraits of you two to commemorate the moment.


1. First Look with Future Husband!



After the first look is complete I like go into the Portrait bloc of photos, or If you plan on doing a church ceremony without a first look, then this bloc of photos gets moved to after the ceremony/cocktail hour.


- Portraits -

This Covers Family, Bridal Party & Couples Portraits (2 hours)

Some Portraits in the Garden at Le Chateau in South Salem NY



Anyway, immediately after the first look/ceremony is the best time for everyone's least favorite part of the wedding day!!! FAMILY PHOTOS! As tedious and frustrating as they may be, they are some of the most important photos from your wedding day. They celebrate the presence of your family on a very historic day in your life and these are the photos that often get printed and framed, not necessarily by the bride and groom, but your immediate and extended family will be very grateful for having them.


Timing around ceremony/first look makes it easier to corral everybody and get through these photos as efficiently and pain free as possible since everyone should be more or less in one location and ready to have their picture taken. Once a background is chosen The bride and groom will stay in the same position as we rotate through different family groups.


After several years of shooting weddings I have devised a method which effectively gets all the most important family groupings while leaving room to incorporate any additional requests. Also it is helpful at this time if someone from the bridal party is present to help with locating and corralling different family members into the photos. Here is THE list, and it works best when it goes in this order so people don't have to keep stepping in and out of photos. If there are any unique family situations please let me know ahead of time so we can discuss a personalized shot list for this bloc of photos. The more prepared everyone is for this section the quicker and stress free it will be. While I am starting with the brides family first, who goes first really depends on which family is most readily prepared and present. (Depending on how many people there are this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes 1. Bride + Groom (right before the start of family photos is a PERFECT opportunity for a classic, traditional full length photo of the both of you looking at the camera.)


2. Bride +Mom + Dad

3. Bride + Mom

4. Bride + Dad

5. Bride + Groom + Brides Parents

6. Bride + Groom + Brides Parents + Brides Siblings

7. Bride + Groom + Brides Parents + Brides Siblings + Brides Siblings S.O.s

8. Bride + Groom + Brides Parents + Brides Siblings + Sibling S.O.s + extended family (aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents etc) 9. Additional combinations from Brides Side 10. Bride + Groom + Brides Parents + Grooms Parents (This is one of the TOP requested family shots)


11. Groom + Mom + Dad

12. Groom + Mom

13. Groom + Dad 14. Bride + Groom + Grooms Parents 15. Bride + Groom + Grooms Parents + Grooms Siblings

16. Bride + Groom + Grooms Parents + Grooms Siblings + Grooms Siblings S.O.s 17. Bride + Groom + Grooms Parents + Grooms Siblings + Grooms Siblings S.O.s + Extended Family

18. Additional combinations from grooms side. 19. Additional combinations involving both sides (cousins photo/Grandparents Photo etc)



Once all the family photos are out of the way we move onto the Bridal Party. These photos are usually pretty quick. This bloc is anywhere between 15-30 minutes


  1. Full Bridal Party

Fun Bridal Party shot in the back plaza of the VIP Country Club in New Rochelle NY


  1. Bridesmaids Looking at camera


  1. Bridesmaids having fun


  1. Bridesmaids individuals with bride - This is actually 3 photos. 1. standard. 2. looking at each other. 3. Personality Pix!



  1. Groomsmen Looking at camera



  1. Groomsmen having fun



  1. Groomsmen individuals with groom (This is the same as bridesmaids with the exception of switching out the laughing shot for a nice formal handshake photo.

  2. Additional bridal party combinations


Portrait session for Bride & Groom 20-60 minutes If you are looking for a picture perfect editorial style wedding gallery, this is your time to shine. Its just you, your FH, and your photographer for 30-45 minutes. Or if you prefer a more candid approach I still encourage all couples to take some time to explore the venue and create some lasting memories together on your wedding day.








Depending on whether you had a first look or not, the ceremony will happen either right before or right after the Portrait Portion of the day. The advantage of having the first look is being able to get all the photos out of the way earlier on in the day which lets people relax a little more in the afternoon, but also a little less traditional. To each their own. - Ceremony -


1. Establishing shots of ceremony space

Ceremony Space at David's Country Inn - Hackettstown NJ
Ceremony Space at David's Country Inn - Hackettstown NJ


2. Details of ceremony space/florals

Ceremony Florals at Le Chateau
Ceremony Florals at Le Chateau

3. Guests mingling

Ceremony about to begin at David's Country Inn - Hackettstown NJ
Ceremony about to begin at David's Country Inn - Hackettstown NJ


4. Entrances

Father walks his daughter down the aisle at The Garrison - Garrison NY
Father walks his daughter down the aisle at The Garrison - Garrison NY



5. Joining at the alter

Indoor Ceremony at Le Chateau in South Salem NY
Indoor Ceremony at Le Chateau in South Salem NY



7. Important ceremony traditions

Sometimes its the Knot thing, sometimes its the Sand thing, sometimes its crowns, sometimes its tea, but its always important in starting a new Family Tree (Greek Crowning ceremony at The Glen Island Harbour Club


8. Reading the vows

Bride and Groom Vow reactions during ceremony at Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle NY
Bride and Groom Vow reactions during ceremony at Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle NY

9. Ring exchange

Bride & Groom Exchange Rings during Ceremony at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie NY
Bride & Groom Exchange Rings during Ceremony at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie NY

10. First kiss

Bride & Groom First Kiss at The Garrison Garrison NY
Bride & Groom First Kiss at The Garrison Garrison NY


11. B/G/Bridal Party/Family exit.

Bride & Groom Ceremony at Davids Country Inn Hackettstown NJ
Bride & Groom Ceremony at Davids Country Inn Hackettstown NJ

The Classic kiss at the other end of the aisle after the ceremony at David's Country Inn



While many photographers take this as a time to relax and break for the day I believe cocktail hour is a great opportunity to capture some of the other guests at your wedding. In addition to getting photos of the completed reception space and some of the food. Here are the shots I try to get during cocktail hour! (60minutes)


1. Food

Antipasto Table at Cocktail Hour at Glen Island Harbour Club New Rochelle NY
Antipasto Table at Cocktail Hour at Glen Island Harbour Club New Rochelle NY

Antipasto table at the Glen Island Harbour Club


Food is an important part of the cultures that we choose to embrace, and there is good money spent on the preperation and presentation of the food at every wedding. While commonly overlooked as unimportant food is very often one of the most commonly requested photos (but only after the final gallery has been delivered.... so note to photographers. take pictures of the food. make it look nice. its worth it.


2. Decor & Reception Details



3. Wide shots of cocktail and reception space

Reception Space at Le Chateau South Salem NY
Reception Space at Le Chateau South Salem NY

Reception Space at Le Chateau South Salem NY
Reception Space at Le Chateau South Salem NY



4. Candids of people mingling

Guests Mingling at Cocktail Hour at the Surf Club New Rochelle NY
Guests Mingling at Cocktail Hour at the Surf Club New Rochelle NY

Cocktail hour at The Surf Club in New Rochelle NY




5. Informal group shots of guests

Candid Group Shots
Candid Group Shots



6. Sunset Photos

Bride & Groom at Sunset in Garden at Le Chateau South Salem NY
Bride & Groom at Sunset in Garden at Le Chateau South Salem NY

Sunset shots in the back garden at Le Chateau


Bride & Groom at Sunset in Garden at Le Chateau South Salem NY
Bride & Groom at Sunset in Garden at Le Chateau South Salem NY

Sunset shots in the back garden at Le Chateau




7. Bride & Groom room showing.

Bride and Groom Dance at Glen Island Harbour Club New Rochelle NY
Bride and Groom Dance at Glen Island Harbour Club New Rochelle NY

Bride and Groom rehearse their first dance before the reception at Glen Island Harbour Club




- Reception -

A.K.A. The Fun Part (usually around 4-5 hours) Lots of dancing, lots of candids, some formalities.

  1. Entrances

Bride & Groom Reception Entrance at Le Chateau South Salem NY
Bride & Groom Reception Entrance at Le Chateau South Salem NY

Making an entrance at Le Chateau


  1. First Dance Close ups

Bride & Groom First Dance at Davids Country Inn Hackettstown NJ
Bride & Groom First Dance at Davids Country Inn Hackettstown NJ


  1. First Dance Wide Shots

Bride & Groom First Dance at the Marina Del Rey Bronx NY
Bride & Groom First Dance at the Marina Del Rey Bronx NY

Epic First Dance moment at The Marina Del Rey in Bronx NY


  1. Speeches/Blessings

Wedding Reception Speeches at the Garrison Garrison NY
Wedding Reception Speeches at the Garrison Garrison NY

Speech time at The Garrison



  1. Group shot of Speakers + Bride + Groom

Bride, Groom & Bridal Party Toast at The Garrison Garrison NY
Bride, Groom & Bridal Party Toast at The Garrison Garrison NY

Bride & Groom with Maid of Honor & Best Men after a toast at The Garrison


  1. Parent Dances (Father Daughter + Mother Son)

Father Daughter Dance at Falkirk Estate & Country Club
Father Daughter Dance at Falkirk Estate & Country Club

Father daughter moment at the Falkirk Estate & Country Club



Mother Son Dance at Glen Island Harbour Club New Rochelle NY
Mother Son Dance at Glen Island Harbour Club New Rochelle NY

Mother Son Dance at the Glen Island Harbor Club


  1. The Band/DJ/Entertainment

Wedding Band Performs at Le Chateau in South Salem NY
Wedding Band Performs at Le Chateau in South Salem NY



  1. Cake Cutting

Bride & Groom Feeding Each Other Cake at Rustic PA Wedding
Bride & Groom Feeding Each Other Cake at Rustic PA Wedding

Bride & Groom Cutting the wedding cake and feeding each other as part of the Cake-Cutting-Ceremony! (Yes this is a ceremonial tradition, and while it often gets overlooked, I believe its a very significant and meaningful moment in the wedding day. Whether it be a private cake cutting or a designated part of the reception... its important.




Boquet/Garter Toss

Bride About to Throw Boquet at Marina Del Rey Bronx NY
Bride About to Throw Boquet at Marina Del Rey Bronx NY

Groom Garter Toss Marina Del Rey Bronx NY
Groom Garter Toss Marina Del Rey Bronx NY


  1. Night Shots

Bride & Groom Posing Outside Villa Borghese in Wappingers Falls NY
Bride & Groom Posing Outside Villa Borghese in Wappingers Falls NY

Bride & Groom posing outside the Villa Borghese in Wappingers Falls NY




Thats IT! That is my fundamental wedding day shotlist! I am always looking to grow and expand this list so if you think of any additional photos that I may have missed or if you found this post helpful then please let me know in the comments!


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