Category: Helpful Hints

The Official Photographer vs Guest Photographers

We have all seen the exuberant guest standing next to the official wedding photographer during the formal shots at the alter.  Sometime it looks like the guest is getting in the way and distracting the attention of the family and wedding party, and sometimes they do.  It is true the official wedding photographer is typically short on time for the formal alter shots and is under pressure to get great shots quickly and get on to the rest of the day.

I always have a detailed shot list that the couple and I have build before the wedding.  It is also true that that list seldom goes as planned, Uncle Joe is out having a smoke or Aunt Sally wants to get a shot of her kids with the bride.  The photographer has got to be prepared for distractions and interruptions.  That is where the guest comes in.  Many guest don’t know the couple may get all the images from the photographer, or the want them quicker to share with family.  In my opinion they have as much right as the photographer to be there.  




A photographer working with a plan, competent at what they are doing should be able to make time for others to photograph the couple.  The photographer can politely ask the guest photographer(s) to wait until they have finished with a certain setup and then direct the couple’s attention to the guest.  After a bit of time the photographer can then take back the attention of the couple and move on.  If time is critical and the guest is delaying shooting, the photographer or couple should request the guest to stop until there is adequate time.

In almost every alter or formal situation the photographer uses additional off camera powerful lighting.  The guest photographer with their point and shoot or DSLR with a pop up flash can rarely match the image quality.  Let guest photographers shoot as long as it does not set your schedule back.  Make it fun.

What is a “Standard” Wedding Shot List?

As with anything, one person’s interpretation of something can be very different from someone else’s.  This is certainly true for the shots a couple wants for their wedding.  So often when I ask the couple about what specific images they want for their wedding day, they will often say “Oh, just the usual”.  I have working list that I think are good for weddings, but the shots are not for me, they are for the couple.  For almost every wedding, the couple and I review and make a list for the formal alter shots and a few others.  That leaves out a major portion of shots!

I am now sending couples what my standard list is so that they can see if there is anything not on the list they might expect.  One example is the ring shot.  My interpretation of the ring shot is a close up still life of the rings off the couple’s hand and on a simple surface like a piano.  Some couples interpretation is a shot of both of their hands with rings.

Talk to your photographer about what YOU expect to be included in your day, make lists.

Below is my working list of shots for a wedding.  This is the MINIMUM of what I expect to shoot for a wedding.  Hopefully the couple and I have talked and we have added to and modified this list.


Download the document here:

PreCeremony Girls

  • Hair/makeup
  • Dress
  • Dress with BM dresses
  • Flowers
  • Zip, Button, Bow
  • Jewelry on
  • Shoes on ,Veil on
  • Bride with each person
  • Bride with Bridesmaids group
  • Individual portraits

Bride Portraits




PreCeremony Guys

  • Food, drink
  • Bestman holding rings
  • Suits and stuff around
  • Getting dressed
  • Details
  • Individual portraits
  • Groom Portraits



  • Musicians
  • Details
  • Parents and Grandparents seated
  • Procession
  • Groom’s first look
  • Handoff/kiss
  • 2 front rows
  • Holding hands
  • Bridal party, group & single
  • Wide views
  • Details with ceremony background
  • Vows/ring exchange
  • Kiss/post kiss
  • Signing
  • Bride & Groom exit
  • Bridal party exit



  • Bride & Groom with Officiant
  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s family
  • Bride & Groom with both sets of parents
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s family
  • Bride & Groom with Bridesmaids
  • Bride & Groom with Groomsmen
  • Bride & Groom with adult bridal party
  • Bride & Groom with complete bridal party
  • Bride & Groom with little people
  • Bride & Groom
  • Bride


Bridal Party Casuals

  • Bridal party groups, at least two
  • Line of girls walking
  • Line of guys walking



Series of shots with the Bride and Groom in different situations, in different poses, shooting from far showing a lot of environment to close ups



  • Bridal party entrance
  • Cake cutting
  • Toasts
  • Prayer
  • Dances
  • Room details
  • Party shots
  • Family groups
  • Rings closeup