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Shot Lists

Now, not all photographers like to get a list of pictures that must be made. It disrupts our concentration and we often find that we worry so much about getting every image requested that it ruins our concentration and sense of flow of the wedding.

However, there is one list I like to have. It is a list of group pictures that are important to you. This is tremendously helpful. With the list I can efficiently go through the shots and we have more time to work together on the portraits.

Enlist an assistant. Pick someone who is familiar with the group and can help identify people for the pictures and get them together. This way, while I am working on one group he or she will be gathering the next group.

Commonly requested group shots:

  • Bride and groom’s parents with bride and groom
  • Bride’s parents with the bride and Groom
  • Bride’s family with the bride and Groom
  • Groom’s parents with the bride and Groom
  • Groom’s family with the bride and Groom
  • Brides maids and grooms men with bride and groom
  • Brides maids with bride and groom
  • Grooms men with bride and groom
  • Entire wedding party (usually for groups under 30 people)

Keeping the list short will allow us more time to work together on the sunset portraits and ensure we get some spectacular images. If you have a long list of must-have group shots then it might be a good idea to consider a “Day After” shoot or even a “Trash the Dress” session the next day.

Timing is Everything

Getting married on the beach in Costa Rica means that timing is everything!

When planning your wedding day make sure to hold the ceremony early enough so there is time to make the pictures before the sun sets. This close to the equator our afternoons are very short when compared to the northern and southern latitudes. In November it sets as 5:15pm and in June it sets at 6:05pm.

I suggest the following schedule for a summer wedding. Be sure to adjust it according the time of year of your wedding. I use this clock to find out what time the sun will set in Costa Rica.

  • 4pm Start Photography
    In this time I will make pictures of you and your family as it is getting ready for the wedding. These are fun pictures that capture the ritual and chaos of everything that happens before the wedding.
  • 5pm The Ceremony
    The ceremony usually will not last beyond 20 minutes. At this time the light is still good which will allow me to concentrate on the activity of the ceremony without using artificial lighting.
  • 5:20pm Pictures on the Beach
    This hour before the sunsets is when the light is magical. It is coming in from the side and just above which means it is great for portraits. As the sun approaches the horizon and the sunset brings out its colors we will begin to photograph against the backdrop. We can even photograph for about 10 minutes after the sun has set… while it is still very nice it is not as spectacular as the images made at the peak of sunset.
  • 6:15pm Onwards
    It’s up to you! Cocktails, dinner or an all out party!

Check the Tides

If you are still deciding on the date for your wedding then you might want to check the tides. For beach weddings you want to have as much room as possible to set up the ceremony site, especially if you have a group of over 20 people. For portrait sessions low tides are also great because it gives us a lot of room to work.

Some beaches are narrow, and at high tide there is no room at all! Fortunately at low tide these beaches open up a nice area of sand that will easily accommodate you and your guests.

See this Puntarenas Tide Chart for the tides on the Pacific or this Limon Tide Chart for the Atlantic.

Surfs up!