Why you should ignore those pesky 'Must have shot lists' and embrace the candid!


Ok, so I am 99% sure that there will be a lot of photographers out there knodding/cheering/dancing in agreement with my next few statements!

*But before we get right into it, a small disclaimer*

Please do not misunderstand my reason for writing this post!
 I am not usually a photographer who gets sent 'shot lists' - this might be because my clients are all after very candid photography. So I am not writing this from a bitter mean spirited place. And secondly I am not writing this to bash wedding photography blogs. On the contrary I eat, sleep and breath wedding blogs. They are the most useful and amazing place to promote wedding businesses, as well as a place to inspire and help all you amazing couples out there when wedding planning (because lets face it, it's a bloody mine field!). I actively encourage you to get yourself over to an awesome wedding blog!

However I have recently noticed an increase in some of the most influential blogs posting 'Must Have Shot Lists'. I am hoping to explain a few reasons as to why as photographers WE really really hope you will ignore such lists whether they be posted on blogs or pinterest.


Obviously the first thing that most newly engaged couples do, is take to social media. Because, where else do you go? You haven't done this before! So advice and tips are needed! Whether it be wedding blogs, pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. You need to know where to start. And finding your perfect wedding photographer is in no way an easy task! So when you are repeatedly told left right and centre that you HAVE to give your wedding photographer a shot list, what other choice do you have than to take it as gospel?

Because, Pinterest and Instagram and Wedding blogs can never be wrong right? 


As amazing as wedding blogs, Pinterest & Facebook are, that article listing all those must have shots which you read so engrossed, I can 99% guarantee that it is NEVER written by a seasoned professional wedding photographer. Stay with me, and I will explain why!


Reason #1

We live for the candid moments

Most photographers, especially myself, are natural/candid wedding photographers we LIVE for the spontaneous unplanned moments! So when we get an enquiry that says 'we are after natural, candid photography of our day' we all do a little happy dance inside!! The beauty of the natural moments is that they are completely spontaneous. No planning, no posing, they just happen! And we are there to capture the moment they unfold. The hilarious reactions, the tears, the celebrations. Everything!


Reason #2

When you pose a moment, the moment loses it's meaning

When I first started, I got asked for a few specific things, and for certain images that couples would like re-creating. These were moments that I couldn't imagine staging. The reason being, is that it was a naturally occurring moment that the photographer was lucky enough to capture. Myself and many other photographers wouldn't re-create or stage naturally occurring moments because when you do this, they lose all there meaning. When you look back on it in days, week, months or even years to come, it wouldn't hold the meaning you would want it to.

This leads me directly onto....

Reason #3

When you stage/pose a moment you lose the emotion! 

Spontaneous moments are true beautiful representations of how you are feeling on your wedding day. The more a moment is posed/staged it really starts to lose the true emotion within that specific moment. Whether it be tears of happiness, laughter or even pure joy! 


Reason #4

Everyones wedding would look the same

The last thing a photographer would want for any of their couples is for every wedding to look the same. Especially me! I NEVER EVER shoot the same thing in the same way twice. I always try to and capture all the commonly occuring parts of any wedding in a creative, unique manner! Because nobody is going to hire me if every wedding looks the same!
And that's what shot lists seem to do. Those pesky lists which people promote so vigorously, encourage everybody to get the same shots as the last wedding! This is something that totally baffles me!
Because each couple is unique, they have their own personal tastes and styles. So why would you want to be the same as everyone else? You are unique and 1 of a kind ;) 


Reason #5

The candid moments are the ones you will cherish forever

Whether it's watching your Grandma do a shot of straight vodka, or someone dropping red wine down themselves, someone a little too tipsy tripping over themselves, or some freaking awesome shapes being thrown on the dance floor, I could go on! Without fail, when couples message me after the wedding, the images they always mention are the hilarious spontaneous moments! As well as their friends and family and even random strangers! I can't tell you how many times the above image has been brought up in random conversation. This is why natural is best!!
You can't plan for them, you can't make them happen, you just have to wait and watch your day unfold! 


Reason #6

Preconceived ideas don't support creativity

Photographers thrive on creativity. So when we have a list of shots we tend to shrink and wither under the lack of creativity. That's not to say that we can't take something and make it quirky and unique. Believe me, we can. But what I do mean is that we like to keep things fresh and new, and not be expected to shoot every wedding, the same every time.

 With every wedding we have a standard set of images which as photographers we know are expected of us for example, the dress shot, the shoe shot, the first kiss, the walk up the aisle. The trick is, that we do them in a clever, creative and individual way, that's what sets us aside from others. However for the most part, what really gets our creative juices flowing is keeping things unplanned, relaxed & spontaneous!

Reason #7

Over planning

This might sound crazy to all you organised ladies and gents out there, (I'm defo one of those). But there is such a thing as being TOO organised. On the lead up to the wedding, you definitely won't find anyone telling you 'oh gosh Lucy you're too organised'. Because everyone knows organisation is key on the lead up.

However on the day of the wedding there definitely is such a thing as too organised.
Your wedding day is the one time you should switch off, have fun and enjoy, so when you over think things and plan too much, you find that you are filled with panic, anxiety and worry about all the things you feel you SHOULD be capturing/doing. 

My advice........Breath, relax and let the good times roll. Because your photographer is there to help keep things running smoothly, and direct you in the best possible way.
Whatever will happen, will happen. Whether it be rain, sunshine, storms, the kids are running riot, your Mum doesn't like her dress, someone shows up wearing white..... SHOCK HORROR!

Just roll with it! Trust me, you will thank me!


Reason #8


If you have made it this far I applaud you! So bear with me I'm nearly finished. 
One of the most important reasons to ditch those 'Must have shot lists' is your personality!
When you let someone else dictate what images you should or shouldn't have on your wedding day, you can really over shadow your own personality, and start adapting the personality of a Pinterest bride or groom. Which 9 times out of 10, isn't the real you.

So embrace your day, embrace those natural moments & have all the fun!
Because blogs don't decide what are the must have shots....


Keep scrolling to see some more amazing candid moments from the last few years!