Amy Galbraith Photography Blog


Weddings | The Only Shot List You Need

Posted in Weddings

bride talking to ring bearer at wedding

I’ve been asked many times from my clients if they need a shot list. There are about a bazillion Pinterest posts that provide engaged couples with a list of 101 shots your photographer “must” capture. While I think this can be helpful, I think it’s pretty unnecessary to provide your wedding photographer with an extensive shot list. First of all, your wedding is NOT going to look like any of those weddings you’ve been ogling over on Pinterest. Why? Because your wedding is going to be UNIQUE! Just like you 🙂 Also, every experienced photographer knows the shots that are necessary to make a great photographic story. So a shot list that reads something like “bouquet, bouquet with shoes, dress on hanger, father walking bride down the aisle, etc, etc” is just cumbersome and stressful. Your photographer should be able to arrive at your day and be in the moment with you, capturing details and moments as they come along, not checking off boxes on a tedious shot list.

There is, however, one shot list that you really need. That is, the family portrait shot list. This is the one shot list that I absolutely expect my clients to provide, and for a few reasons.

1) Although I consider myself to be a documentary wedding photographer, I think it’s so important to have formal family portraits captures on your wedding day. It’s one of the few times throughout your life that you’ll have everyone together and looking their best.

2) I don’t know who your family members are. While Uncle Jim may be super special to you, I might not include him on a standard list of family portraits so if you want a picture with Uncle Jim, I should know about it! Also, if you have any separations or divorces in your family, it’s helpful for your photographer to know about it so they aren’t putting people together in a photo that really don’t want to be photographed together. That’s just awkward for everyone!

3) It helps the day run smoothly. I highly recommend setting aside 15-20 minutes right after your ceremony for the family portraits. I know this doesn’t sound like a lot of time but believe me, if I have a list, that’s all I need! Plus, my goal is to get the family portraits finished as soon as I can so that you can go enjoy the rest of your wedding day socializing with all of the special people you invited. Also, doing the photos AFTER the ceremony works better than before the ceremony. Doing them before puts unnecessary time limits on the portrait session and inevitably somebody is going to be running late, especially if they have little ones!

So how should you set up your shot list? First, you need to include names. Since I don’t know who your family members are, it’s helpful if I have a list to work off of that includes names. Second, be sure to keep combinations simple. Having an individual portrait with every family member will take up a lot of time so consolidating some of these is your best bet. Finally, include your significant other in the photos. It seems silly to me when people split the couple up during family portraits. After all, weddings are a joining of two families so why not have your new family member in the portraits? It’s one thing to want a photo of you with just your mom or just you and your parents but keeping your new partner out of all the family portraits might make them feel like they aren’t a part of the family.

Here’s a sample “shot list”. These of course are with a hypothetical family 🙂

* bride and groom with bride’s parents – Steve & Sarah with Joan & Mark
* bride and groom with bride’s parents and siblings, in-laws, grandparents – Steve & Sarah with Joan & Mark, Brett & Jane with Addie, Mable & Ed
* bride and groom with both families – Steve & Sarah with Joan & Mark, Brett & Jane with Addie, Mable & Ed, Dan & Nancy, Matt, Joe & Brianne, Grandma Evelyn
* bride and groom with both sets of parents – Steve & Sarah with Joan & Mark, Dan & Nancy
* bride and groom with groom’s parents – Steve & Sarah with Dan & Nancy
* bride and groom with groom’s parents and siblings, in-laws, grandparents – Steve & Sarah with Dan & Nancy, Matt, Joe & Brianne, Grandma Evelyn

What happens if there are divorces or other complicated family scenarios? The best is to check with each family member and see how they would like the photos set up. Does mom have a new boyfriend and should he be in the photos? If your parents are divorced do you want a photo with them together or separate? Your photographer will be happy to work with you on this and knowing everything in advance will be super helpful so that everything runs stress-free during this time of day. Even if it adds on more shots than the list of above, it is totally worth it to make sure everybody is happy!

If you have a large family and your aunts and cousins want photos with you, my best advice is to do one large group shot of each family rather than breaking things down individually. This will save you lots of time and by this point you’ll be itching to get to your cocktail hour!

My last piece of advice? Be sure to let everyone who is in the formal family portrait session know that they are in the formal family portraits. Sometimes if you are doing a group shot and an aunt or uncle has already run off to the cocktail hour it can be impossible to find them and frustrating for everyone. Another example would be if your sister has a boyfriend and you want him to be in the shots. Sometimes this isn’t a given so be sure to let him know to avoid any awkward moments during this time.

I sincerely hope this is helpful for couples working out their final wedding day details. I’d love to hear any other advice you have on creating the perfect family shot list!

Monroe Senior Photos | Katie

Posted in Seniors

high school senior leaning on fence at a farm

I photographed Katie’s older brother’s Monroe senior photos a couple of years ago at their family’s property. The place is simply stunning with wide open fields, a big beautiful barn, and a quaint little pond. I was thrilled to hear that Katie would be graduating soon and excited to return to their property and photograph her with her beautiful horse Warren. I always think it’s a great idea to incorporate meaningful parts of your life with your senior photos. Whether it be your pet, musical instrument or sports paraphernalia, it makes your senior session even more unique to you! Katie is full of spark, adventure, and hopes to study interior design in California at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I wish Katie lots of success as she finishes her senior year!

We are so excited to announce our Class of 2018 Senior Ambassadors tomorrow! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to find out who the lucky ladies are!

First Family Vacation | Arizona

Posted in Travel

3 month old baby being held up in the palm trees

Life has been pretty crazy these days with a 3-month old. While I feel like I’ve settled into the rhythm of taking care of a baby, it certainly isn’t easy, or predictable. So we thought, why not take a flight? Haha, I’m sure most new parents don’t feel this way but with Banks’ grandma and grandpa out of state, it’s a must. My parents hadn’t seen the little guy since he was only one week old and you can only have so many Skype conversations before you really want to be together in person! So now here we are on the other end of our first flying family vacation with a baby and it feels great! Honestly it was pretty easy. We had chosen evening flights which I would say definitely worked in our favor as he slept nearly the whole time. I could see the look of fear when the person sitting in the window seat saw us setting up shop but little Banks proved to everyone that babies can be great while flying! We even had a layover on our way home, including a delay which put us pulling up in our driveway at 1:30am and we all survived. Thankful we had our Ergo baby carrier to keep him swaying and soothed!

baby sleeping on airplane

Being in Arizona was wonderfully refreshing. We spent days lounging by the pool in the backyard, laying on beach towels and watching palm trees sway, showing Banks the desert flowers and getting our full dose of Vitamin D. And after this lousy spring in Seattle, I can definitely say that we needed it. I got to see my sister, best friend from high school, and other family members who were so excited to meet Banks for the first time. I’ll spare you all the details of everything we did down there and release what you’d rather see instead – adorable baby photos. So hear ya go! Banks looks great in sunny weather, don’t you agree? 🙂

Tibbetts Creek Manor Wedding | M & I

Posted in Weddings

bride and groom laughing at tibbetts creek manor wedding

I’m excited to share this beautiful spring wedding from last year at Issaquah’s Tibbetts Creek Manor. Megan and Isaac’s day was filled with so many moments that brought even me to tears (although I could have blamed it on pregnancy!) The bond that these two have just melts my heart and it was evident on their wedding day that they are deeply loved by so many people. One of my favorite details from their wedding was the hand-written notes on the table runners written by the couple to each of their guests telling them how special they were in their lives. They had also put together their own centerpieces made from empty wine bottles. Rain forced the ceremony under a tent but the couple didn’t hesitate to get out and enjoy some intimate moments together amidst the grounds’ gardens after their “I dos”. It was an honor to be a part of Megan and Isaac’s wedding celebration and I thank them for all of the beautiful moments they shared with me and my camera.

Venue: Tibbett’s Creek Manor
Catering: Veraci Pizza
Floral Design: Crossroads Flowers
Cake: Hoffman’s Fine Cakes & Pastries
Hair: Lisa Ettreim with Mosaic Salon & Spa
Makeup: Make-up by Mey
Dress Designer: Wtoo
Dress Shop: La Belle Elaine’s

Discovery Park Senior Session | Vivian

Posted in Seniors

stylish senior session at discovery park

If you haven’t noticed already, I spend a lot of time photographing at Discovery Park! The Class of 2017 LOVES Discovery Park – and I can see why! We have tall flowing grass, views of Puget Sound, and endless golden light. It’s also not very crowded on weeknights when I typically do my sessions. Sessions in September are always my favorite as we just get the longest, prettiest dreamy light. Vivian’s session was everything that I love about a Discovery Park senior session. Vivian will be graduating from Woodinville High School this year. She loves spending time with her friends when she’s not focused on her studies. After she graduates, she hopes to attend the University of Washington and study business. Her session turned out so beautiful! Wishing Vivian the best of luck for her senior year.

Did you know we are now accepting applications for Senior Ambassadors for the Class of 2018? Find out all of the details on how to get a free session with me here.

Education | Engagement Session Styling Tips

Posted in Engagement

well dressed couple sitting on bridge in snoqualmie washington

I have several spring sessions coming up and thought this would be the perfect time to discuss a few engagement session styling tips! I get a lot of questions about this and can definitely see why. Most of us grew up taking family portraits where we all wore the same shirt or some mixture of denim and white. Luckily, it’s much more in fashion to be yourself in today’s world of portraits. Here are a few tips I have:

couple posting at lake serene during their engagement session

Choose a simple color palette that coordinates with the season and wear what you feel good in. For any season, I like neutral tones with splashes of color. I love The Perfect Palette for inspiration on unique color combinations.

couple wearing plaid at mount baker during engagement session

Don’t be afraid of patterns. Just because your honey wants to wear his plaid flannel doesn’t mean you have to be void of textures. Combining floral prints and stripes can be a fun option or even polka dots and plaid!

couple dressed in peacoats during engagement session at discovery park in seattle

Keep your outfit changes simple. I recommend couples bring 2-3 outfits for their engagement session. You could bring something more casual and something more dressy but the simpler you can make it the better so you aren’t spending the better half of your session prepping in the bathroom. Bringing items that can layer is always a smart choice!

girl in cute hat during fall engagement session at stevens pass

Accessorize! I love accessories to finish off the perfect look. Think a cute hat for spring or summer or a textured scarf in the fall. Guys, don’t be afraid of this! I love scarves on men or even a simple watch can really bring an outfit together.

well dressed couple with professional makeup during engagement session on bainbridge island

Ladies, opt for professional hair and makeup. Not only is this a great way to pamper yourself on the day of your session, but you’ll be glad you did when you see your photos. You always want to wear a bit more makeup than usual for professional photos to make your features stand out. Check out Yessie Libby, she’s one of my favorites in the Seattle area!

I’ve pinned all sorts of ideas on my Pinterest page so feel free to check it out if you need some inspiration! Also, just because this is titled for engagement sessions doesn’t mean the same principles can’t apply to family portraits. As long as you don’t show up in matching white t-shirts and khaki pants I’m a happy lady 🙂 Do you have any other great tips on what to wear? We’d love to hear them!

Happy shopping!

Spring Mini-Sessions | April 9, 2017

Posted in Announcements, Family

We had so much fun photographing mini-sessions in the fall that we’ve decided to add in a spring edition as well! A mini-session is an abbreviated version of our regular portrait experience. Need a last-minute senior session, quick maternity photos or some beautiful shots of the kids to give to mom for Mother’s Day? Then this is for you! A spring mini-session is $300 and includes the following:

20 minutes of photography for up to five people
(additional family members welcome at $25/per person)
One location and outfit
In-person viewing at our location in Seattle
Set of 10 High-Resolution Digital Files
$100 print and product credit

Please note this is a ONE DAY ONLY event. We will be holding up to eight mini-sessions at Carkeek Park on April 9, 2017. This event will happen rain or shine, with the only exception being incredibly high winds or thunderstorm. So get out those spring colors and come enjoy some of the beautiful blooms the PNW has to offer!

Sessions are not limited to any one style of photography. Families, high school seniors, couples, pets, and kids of all ages are welcome. If you are interested, please email me at to secure your spot. We will have the following times available:

9:00am – 9:20am
9:30am – 9:50am
10:00am – 10:20am
10:30am – 10:50am – BOOKED
11:00am – 11:20am – BOOKED
11:30am – 11:50am – BOOKED
12:00pm – 12:20pm
12:30pm – 1:00pm


Bothell Family Portraits | The Nolans

Posted in Family

bothell family portraits alone the river

I absolutely love when I have the opportunity to photograph families throughout different times in their lives. The Nolans are one of those families! I had the pleasure of photographing their oldest daughter’s senior portraits. They had a family session last spring and now their youngest daughter will be graduating! While I haven’t really done a lot of family sessions in the past, I am hoping to start doing more. With the start of my mini-sessions last year and several of my past wedding clients starting their own families, I can definitely see a lot more in my future 🙂 The Nolans chose Bothell Landing Park for their family session. I love this place because it has a ton of different backgrounds. There’s a beautiful river way, boardwalk through tall grass, tall woodsy trees and even some urban style settings. I really love how there’s a mix of some traditional posed and some fun candid shots as well. My hope as a family photographer is to help bring out personalities to result in a more natural set of images. Here are a few of my favorites from their session! Spring is just around the corner so if you are considering booking a session with us, please reach out to

We are just about to release information for our Spring Mini-Sessions! Mark your calendar for April 9. Stay tuned for more information 🙂

seattle wedding at the ruins | tony & kayley

Posted in Weddings

Bride and Groom at The Ruins in Seattle

I met Kayley while working out at Strength Studio, when owner Susan introduced us. I love how not only does Susan care about the fitness of her clients, but she cares about their businesses, interests, and lives outside of the studio. Because of working out at Strength Studio I’ve met authors, donated to charity, and connected with mothers of high school seniors. It’s basically like a family and I was thrilled to meet Kayley because of it. Speaking of family, that’s what Tony and Kayley’s wedding was all about. Tony and Kayley each have their own children and it was so beautiful to see the families come together for the celebration. I had gotten to meet the whole group when I photographed their family session in Seattle earlier last year and they were all just wonderful to be around. It was clear from the get-go that Tony and Kayley have a very special connection. They chose to have their Seattle wedding at The Ruins. I was living on Queen Anne at the time and was right up the street from the place. I seriously had no idea this little gem existed! The outside of the building is nondescript, but the inside opens up to a magical palace of chandeliers. Kayley had her dream wedding gown custom-made by Seattle’s one-and-only Luly Yang – needless to say, it was absolutely stunning! These two kept a simple color palette and classic theme, and chose one of their favorite local bands to keep the party rocking all night long! Scroll on to see all of the magical touches of Kayley and Tony’s wedding day.

Venue: The Ruins
Catering: The Ruins
Floral Design: The Ruins
Cake: The Ruins
Hair Stylist: Jennifer DuCharme
Makeup Artist: Tina Jewett
Custom Wedding Gown: Luly Yang
Band: Hit Explosion

Amy Galbraith Photography is a documentary Seattle wedding photographer focused on capturing candid, natural, emotion-driven images. We still have a few 2017 dates open and now have our 2018 calendar open for booking! Email for more information about booking her for your Seattle wedding and beyond!

a proposal on lake washington | ryan & ali

Posted in Engagement

I always get super giddy when someone contacts me about photographing their proposal. Ryan got in touch with me right before Thanksgiving asking if I would be available to meet him at Carillon Point to photograph his proposal to his girlfriend, Ali. Of course there was no way I could turn him down! I love the anticipation of waiting for a couple to show up, me hiding away, knowing that the lady is going to get the surprise of her life. Ryan and Ali were a bit late showing up to the site that we had agreed upon. I started to become worried and finally got a text from Ryan saying he was incredibly sorry but they were finally on their way! Later I found out that it took some convincing for Ryan to get Ali out as she hadn’t been feeling all that great. He ended up telling her it was a work function where he was getting an award at in order to get her to come! Of course she was over the moon when she realized that she would be getting a sparkly new piece of jewelry to wear on her finger. And no, he didn’t have a work function, but a romantic dinner for two planned to celebrate. Congratulations to Ryan and Ali!