Why I Don’t Ask For a Wedding Day Shot List

October 22, 2021

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Boho Wedding with Peach and Khaki, Succlents and Pampas Grass at BASH in Carmel Indianapolis Indiana Wedding Photographer

If you’re a bride searching Pinterest before your wedding day, chances are you’re going to find a lot of posts like “20 photos you want to get on your wedding day” or “The 300 MUST-HAVE shots to tell your photographer to get” … I’ve seen them and I just roll my eyes at them. As a bride, it’s definitely a good idea to know what images mean the most to you and communicate that importance to your wedding photographer. But this crazy list of “bride with new sister-in-law”; “bride with bridesmaids walking and laughing”; “Bridal party toasting with champagne” is 100% unnecessary.

Classic Laurel Hall Wedding Photography by Courtney Rudicel Indiana Wedding Photographer

If photos of your grandma and grandpa’s reaction to seeing you in your gown for the first time is something you want then, by all means, let me know that ’cause that’s not super standard. We absolutely want to know that! Other than a short list of super-important images (and I’m talking like 3-5 max), I don’t ask brides for a shot list on their wedding day. I feel really strongly that as a bride, you should be working with a wedding photographer who you TRUST to get all the important photos and a shot list shouldn’t be required. Here’s why:

On any given wedding day, I have a running list in my head of every image that I want to get. This is everything from the lists you can find on the web (“groom putting on tie” check! “bride with each individual bridesmaid”…got it!), to things that are specific to the couple, like a hanky that the bride will be carrying that her mother and grandmother both carried down the aisle.

The Sixpence Wedding Venue Indianapolis Indiana a wedding photo by wedding photographer Courtney Rudicel

This list is typically compiled a couple of different ways. First: I’ve been educated by a nationally recognized wedding photographer (who charges $10k for weddings so she’s obviously doing something right) to know what the important shots are and what couples love to see. You don’t need to worry about me getting the bride and her dad coming down the aisle or a sweet shot with the groom and his mama….trust me, girl, I’ve got that covered! While each wedding and couple is unique, there are enough similar elements that I’m a pro at knowing what I need to capture to have truly done my job well.

The Sixpence Wedding Venue Indianapolis Indiana a wedding photo by wedding photographer Courtney Rudicel

Secondly, I’m in touch with the couple leading up to the wedding to make sure there are no surprises. For example, if the bride is surprising the groom with a boudoir photo book, LET ME KNOW ’cause, girl, you’re going to I want photos of his face seeing it! Or if the father-daughter dance is going to turn into a flash mob, you better believe I’ll have my lights all set up to capture every second of it. By doing this, you can relax and truly enjoy this day because you know it can unfold exactly how you planned and TRUST that I won’t miss a beat!

Romantic Earthy Autumn Wedding Fort Wayne Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

But by far, the most important reason I’m so passionate about saying no to a shot list is that even though every wedding has similar elements, each day is also completely unique because of the PEOPLE who are part of it. If I’m so focused on a piece of paper with a thousand to-do’s, I could miss a tearful hug between a groom and his mama, or a group prayer with a bride and her maids or grandpa cutting a rug to Twist & Shout on the dance floor! And if we’re being honest – those are the moments that really matter!

Romantic Earthy Autumn Wedding Fort Wayne Wedding Photographer Courtney Rudicel

It is my passion and PURPOSE in this industry to SERVE my couples. And for me to serve them properly, I need to be fully present from start to finish to really capture this day in its entirety. From the moment I get arrive, I get in the mind right and I’m always on the lookout. My camera is never far and I’m always ready to capture that candid moment.

Classic Spring Blush and Grey Wedding at Chapel Road Retreat Fort Wayne Indiana Wedding Photographer

As your wedding photographer, I vow to do my very best to capture all the typical shots that make up a wedding day and look great in an album. And I also vow to be completely in the moment so you have more than just photos of people and things. I vow to deliver photos of moments and memories. And I may even surprise you with a photo of you sneaking that quick kiss with your new hubby!


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I’d love to chat about your wedding day dreams!

Courtney is a Wedding Photographer in Indiana. Her specialty is joyful, timeless and playfully romantic wedding photography for classic and timeless couples and educating photographers on how to build a business that delivers an unforgettable client experience. Within Indiana, she serves Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Lafayette, Bloomington and South Bend. Areas in surrounding states that she serves: Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, Ohio; Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is available for destination weddings. Contact her for investment details and reserve your date.

xo, Court

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As a creative wedding photographer, I'm always refining my eye for shooting artistically but I also understand the importance of preserving ALL the elements of your day. You'll feel confident knowing your gallery will include jaw-dropping portraits that feel natural, candids that embody your unique connection, along with every detail of your celebration from start to finish. All this while having someone behind the camera who feels like an old friend. 

aN intentional wedding photographer turning your love story into art.

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Most couples book their wedding celebration with me as far out as 18 months. Get in touch to reserve your date.

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