How I Prep Before Photographing A Wedding

As of Saturday my 2017 wedding season is wrapped! Paula and Terrance had the honor of being my final couple to get married this year, and their wedding was a really good one to end on! Look out for a bright pink blog post with their wedding day coming soon. It's always bittersweet when my wedding season ends for the year. Sweet because it's a huge weight off my shoulders (literally and figuratively!) to not have weddings to shoot for a while, but bitter because I'm really gonna miss all that I love about photographing weddings! But, I'll gladly welcome this winter break :)

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As I was prepping for last Saturday's wedding, I made a mental note to blog about what my prep looks like in the week leading up to a wedding day. Pretty much every photographer's pre-wedding week will look different and, to be honest, mine looks different from wedding to wedding too, but there's some things I definitely try to stay on top of in the days leading up to a Saturday wedding. So, here's what it looks like for me:

Monday before the wedding:

  • Finalize the timeline with the couple's wedding planner. I'm usually in contact with the planner months before the wedding, so the week of is when I have their final timeline in line with my timeline

Tuesday:

  • Second timeline to second shooter and go over the details of the day.
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Wednesday:

  • Scout the venue. Now this is rare, but if my schedule and the location allows for it, I like to visit the venue before the wedding day to get an idea of what the light is like and where I might shoot different portraits of the day. 

Thursday:

  • Save the wedding timeline to my phone. Last year, another photographer told me he saves the timeline as the background on his lock screen and that was just genius to me! So now, I do that and have a few printed copies with me too if needed.
  • Create an inspiration board. I like to save this as the home screen on my phone. It has some posing ideas that will be helpful for each specific wedding. For example, if I know I'm shooting a 15+ member bridal party, I'll include photos with big bridal parties. 
  • Charge all batteries. I take 4 camera batteries and 16 rechargeable AA batteries to every wedding, so I can't wait til the morning of or even the night before to make sure they're all charged. I start charging them as early as possible. 

Friday:

  • Empty all memory cards. I learned the hard way on this one. I once showed up to a wedding where I was second shooting and the memory card loaded in my camera had the previous weekend's wedding already on it! I didn't even realize it until my card filled up close the ceremony and I had to frantically replace my card in the middle of the day. Always show up to a wedding with empty cards!
  • Pack camera bag. It's super helpful to do this the day or even two days before just in case you realize something is missing. For example, I once forgot all my business cards at home because I was rushing to pack the morning of the wedding!
  • Fill up gas tank. Again, I learned this the hard way. Nothing is worse than running behind the morning of a wedding and realizing you need to stop for gas before heading to the venue!
  • Browse online for inspiration. I especially like to do this in the hotel room the night before if I'm at a destination wedding. I look through weddings from some of my favorite photographers to get my creativity spinning.
  • Text the bride for last minute reminders and excitement. I like to let her know how pumped I am to see her in the morning and remind her to get a good night's rest.

Saturday:

  • Sleep in if possible. If I'm all prepped and I don't have to arrive til the afternoon, I like to sleep in til around 9 or 10 :)
  • Eat a good breakfast. Green smoothie, pancakes, eggs, yummm.
  • Pack a lunch, snacks, and water. Even if I might not have time to sit and eat between arrival and dinner time, I like to at least have something to nibble on in the middle of shooting. Swedish fish or Trader Joe's dried mangos are my go-to snacks for sugary energy.
  • Have fuunnnn!!! I'll spend some time in prayer and envision myself having an awesome and creative day!