While not everyone is a fan of traditional pre-wedding posed photography, there’s still something so charming and chic in it’s simplicity.  This royal portrait is a perfect example of getting it right.  Lots of personality. Perfectly imperfect.

Portrait by Alex Lubomirski

Making a list of must-take shots is still the best way to ensure your photographer captures the people who are most important to you.  Seeing them written down will also let you know how long you will have to smile.  Rule of thumb when planning time for portraits is 3 minutes for photos with 5 or fewer people, 5 to 7 minutes for the big group shots.

List your cast of characters like a Playbill so that your photographer and planner know the number of people they will be coordinating, and how much time to allocate to the pre-wedding portrait session.  List each name, relationship to the couple and role in the wedding party.  For example:

John Doe, brother of the groom, best man

Jane Smith, friend of the bride, bridesmaid

Once you’ve listed everyone, group your shot list according to who will be together and when.  For instance, you might be able to get your family photos completed before “first look”, bride with her family, groom with his, which will make the group portrait session much faster pre-ceremony.  And if your first look isn’t happening until ceremony, then everyone posing for photos will be eager to get to the cocktail hour, including you!

Select a meeting spot with your photographer and planner, then stagger arrival times based on the shot list.  Your family can take photos first, followed by your bridal party.  Invite your grandparents to come at the end of the portrait session, so they’re not sitting around and waiting too long.

Choose shots that you’ll either want in your album or that you’ll to want to print and frame.  If not for yourself, do it for your grandmother.

How to Create Your Wedding Photo Shot List