Secret to Getting Great Wedding Photography Portraits at Your Wedding


Shaun dips Kelly at the end of their first dance photo by Seattle wedding photographer Daniel Sheehan on the Skansonia.

Seattle Wedding Photography By A Wedding Photojournalist

Weddings can be very stressful for the bride and groom. It is hard to make a great photograph of a relaxed wedding couple if they are stressed out over too many details of their wedding day. One proven way to reduce the stress level during their wedding is to get help from a wedding-day coordinator. This can be someone hired for the task or it can be someone recruited from the ranks of friends or family.

While the bride and groom may prefer to plan out all the events of the day, the coordinator is given the responsibility of all of the little details that can cause the bride and groom to get stressed out and prevent them from relaxing and enjoying their wedding day. Then they can be photographed looking their best, relaxed and not preoccupied with the goings on around them. The will smile more easily with the anxiety missing and in general the wedding photographs will be better for it.

The one detail that I have found to reliably improve the process of making the posed formal portraits of the wedding party and family members is to insist that the bride and groom prepare a shot list at least a week or two before the wedding.

This is simply a detailed list of everyone they want to include in the making of formal portraits. Listing the actual names of everyone makes it easier to work with. It should look something like this:

1. Bride and Groom with John and Mike and Sally.

2. B&G with Bride’s parents - Jack and Kate

3. B&G with Groom’s parents – Kit and Kim

4. B with Bridesmaids _ Cat, Rita, Bea and Blanch

5. B with Roger, Frank Peter and George

6. The entire wedding party

7. Etc…. but try to keep it from going much past #12.

The shot list goes to either the wedding day coordinator or a good friend or relative who already knows the majority of these folks. (It helps if they have a drill sergeant attitude. It’s funny, but in my experience it seems everyone knows just the perfect person to give it to). It functions like this:

When the photographer is making the first photo on the shot list, they are rounding up the people in shot 2. and holding them in the on deck circle. Then when the first shot is done, he says next and they proceed to the location to be photographed in their turn. Then the folks in shot #3 are gathered up to stand by. This continues until the end of the list.

This allows the bride and groom to not have to make any stressful decisions on the day of the wedding. It also helps them to know exactly who to tell to come early if the photos will be taken before the ceremony. That is also a stress reducing factor in itself. Take the portraits before the wedding for for a more relaxed wedding day for sure.

For true to life wedding photojournalism by a real photojournalist the right choice for telling the story of their day is to hire a professional.

Daniel Sheehan is a Seattle wedding photographer. His Seattle wedding photography is created in an artistic, editorial fashion with classic photojournalism style. He photographs weddings using a subtle, unobtrusive, story-telling approach and creates artistic documentary wedding photojournalism. Photograph above by Seattle Editorial Photographer and Seattle corporate photographer Daniel Sheehan. In addition to weddings, Daniel specializes in photojournalism for publications and corporations and is a Seattle portrait photographer. Visit his child portrait photographer and family portrait photographer website called Great Kid Pix.