Updated: Dec 18, 2021
I want to keep this one brief and targeted mostly towards any photographers shooting a wedding day, especially if you are at the beginning of your career. These tips below should help you just a little bit more throughout the day and save you a lot of headache and worry!
...If you can find even 10-20 minutes in the morning, do something that will warm up your body and get you moving. I like to go for walks/jogs in my neighborhood, do yoga in the living room, or go for a quick session at the gym...
1. Food and Water!
This might sound obvious, but don't forget to eat and drink water before and during the wedding day!
It really can be a simple thing to forget when you are rushing around and have so much to do, but being hangry will really keep you from doing your best work. There have been more than one wedding where I needed to leave from home very early and forgot to have breakfast or bring any snacks/water for the day. Then once you arrive to the wedding, things start moving along so quickly that you hardly find time for even a Clif bar.
I highly recommend preparing some food for yourself the night before. This could be a breakfast that is quick to grab and eat like overnight-oats or a big peanut butter & jelly with extra fruit on the side. Also prep a lunch that is easy to eat at any point and anywhere without a mess, like a sandwich or wrap. Small snacks throughout the day definitely help too, like protein bars or trail mix.
Finally, a good reusable water bottle will go a very long way. I have a 32oz Hydroflask that keeps water cold all day (especially nice for hot summer weddings!) and sometimes bring an extra gallon to keep in my car just incase. Dehydration will probably mess you up more than any other single thing. Bartenders at reception halls are usually great with refilling your water, be nice and leave a tip for them!
2. Gear Prep
Your cameras, flashes, lenses, memory cards, batteries, and much more are going to be pretty important to have, right? And it can feel like a real mess if you try preparing all of these things the morning of the wedding.
First thing I always start with the day before the wedding is getting all of the batteries I will need and charging until they're all at full capacity. I still bring my battery charger to the wedding just incase most of my batteries start running low (this has saved me a few times).
The 64gb memory cards that I use are more than enough for a single wedding day since I format every card to start them fresh (backup any files that are on your card before wiping them!) I also delete files throughout the day to save space on the card.
Camera sensors should be cleared of dust, and lenses should be wiped clean. I also make sure to double check that both of my camera bodies have matching settings like white balance, ISO, date/time, focusing modes, etc. The less of these things that you have to worry about at the start of the wedding day, the better you'll be able to focus on getting your shots.
If you have a second shooter/are a second shooter, make sure ALL of you and the other photographer's cameras are synced up on time. It can be really frustrating if your timecodes are even 30-45 seconds apart, because photos won't flow correctly when editing/exporting. This timecode difference can be fixed in Lightroom but is better to avoid from the start.
3. Personal Prep
As mentioned above, sometimes as the photographer we get so caught up in worrying about our gear and the photos that we need to capture that it can be easy forget about handling the basics. We talked about food and water above, but your own personal care is also extremely important to presenting yourself as a professional.
Guys, make sure to shave or clean up your facial hair please. Not a good look to let the easy stuff like this slip.
Everyone, I suggest having 1 or 2 outfits picked out specifically for shooting weddings. One can be for warmer summer months and another for colder winter months. I usually like to keep it basic with either a white or blue button-up shirt, black or dark blue dress pants, and brown leather shoes/belt. Ideally during busy wedding season you should keep this outfit cleaned/ironed/set aside only for wearing at weddings, that way you never have to spend a minute worrying about what you should wear or ironing any wrinkles. At the very least, try picking out an outfit the day prior to the wedding so that you are sure of having something ready.
Also remember that a wedding day is a lot of physical work, running around, and heavy lifting! If you can find even 10-20 minutes in the morning, do something that will warm up your body and get you moving. I like to go for walks/jogs in my neighborhood, do yoga in the living room, or go for a quick session at the gym. It can really be a strain on your body to jump right into the physical activity of a 8-12 hour wedding day without a good warmup.
Thank you for reading and please check out my Youtube channel for more photography vlogs/tutorials! Contact me anytime for inquiries of weddings/photoshoots.