It being a Friday, most people are relaxing and easing in to the weekend. Us photographers, on the other hand, are gearing up for the busiest time of the week for us. While I was getting ready and packing my equipment for another wedding, I realized that I had developed my own strategy of getting through a wedding. This blog is about wedding photography, but also about the weird things I’ve started to add to my list of necessities.
1. Food. And drinks
As I’ve mentioned during another blog, not everyone feels the need to feed the photographer. However, even if you are lucky enough to be working for a kind soul, often by the dinner time, you REALLY want to pass out. Depending on what a photographer’s approach to the day is, most start to work when the bride gets ready, meaning that you will be on your feet (or haunches/stomach/hanging from a tree) for a good 12 hours. If you clock in at 11 am, 7pm is very far off. Therefore (on the urging of my poor assistant who had to deal with a grouchy photographer) I pack a cooler bag with goodies. This includes a whole lot of unhealthy stuff (Lunchbars, Coke, Chocolate, Chips), but also a light snack for lunch, fruit, water bottles and Red Bull. LOTS of Red Bull. This stays in the car or wherever we find a spot.Part of the assistant’s job on the day is to make sure I eat and drink regularly, as I often tend to get caught up in the moment. It sounds pretty obvious, but it took me a couple of weddings to get this basic thing down.
2. Safety Pins
My grandmother always said that no women should ever be without one. This, as so much of what she said, is very true. Somewhere a dress will have a malfunction, a ribbon will snap, or the maid of honor may realize that due to her diet she’s lost so much weight that she is in danger of flashing the minister. I always have it on me, and I now even carry a small travel size sewing kit. Although strictly not your problem, a bride in tears does not make pretty pictures. Keeping everyone calm does become a photographer’s mission, as this keeps us on schedule, as well has photogenic.
The bride probably did not sleep well, didn’t eat and no one has a headache tablet. Again, a bride in pain does not equal good images. So I have that in my bag as well. Also, a bride may be a challenge, I didn’t sleep and eat and I need it.The groom may have a hangover after his bachelor party and needs it. Point is, somewhere during the day, someone is bound to have a headache. Be prepared.
Being the mother of a toddler means that I have a deep appreciation and love of an antibacterial wipe. The result is I have it in my handbag, car and every room of the house. I also pack it in my kit because you may get hot, lie down on the ground, get caught in a blizzard or sandstorm, or whatever the environment throws at you. This not only makes you feel comfortable if you can wipe your hands, it also keeps you camera and lenses cleaner.
5. An Umbrella
Stating the obvious, I know. Those umbrellas you see in the moody pics shot in the rain, someone had to remember to bring it. Make sure it’s you.
I shoot my weddings in duplicate, meaning that I have the same image on two memory cards. Having had the experience of being a complete moron and formatting a shoot not yet downloaded, I do not want to go through the stress of wondering if the data can be restored in case of a corrupted disc or corrupted human brain (such as mine).
A reflector is an easy way to enhance natural light. Sometimes you just want to lift the shadows a little, and still use only natural light, and this allows you to easily do it.
I always have extra batteries for the flash, remote trigger, cameras etc. You don’t want to miss the first dance because the battery died.
These are just some random tips I have for other people who are mad enough to love the chaos and craziness of wedding photography.