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Don’t get me wrong, I love being a wedding photographer. It really is a sweet gig. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and wonder how I ended up here – getting to do this. However, all jobs have their pros and cons. Being a wedding photographer can sometimes give you really long hours. It’s hard work being on your feet with dozens of pounds of camera gear hanging on you all day.
Ever heard the term “wedding hangover?” Well in photography land I always like to refer to this term as the way a wedding photographer feels after working a really long wedding day. This blog post has a few tips for surviving better, keeping your energy up and getting through long wedding days with ease!
- Drink Water! – Does this need an explanation? Working on your feet all the time, especially outdoors in the heat can cause dehydration and heat exhaustion. Drink lots of water and keep hydrated when you’re working long hours. I like to bring a stash of water bottles with me or rely on the fact that they’re usually provided at weddings.
- Camera Straps – Having a solid way of carrying your gear is more important than you might think. You need to pick a camera strap or support system that causes your body the least amount of stress. I’d rather invest upfront in an expensive harness like the Holdfast Moneymaker system than spend thousands on chiropractic care later. I really love the Holdfast harness because it distributes the weight of gear very evenly and I rarely come home with a sore neck or back anymore.
- Pack Snacks – I never know how a wedding day might flow. Maybe the minister won’t show up and the entire day will run 2 hours behind? Either way I gotta fuel to keep up with everything so I pack snacks in case we take a major turn off schedule for some reason.
- Comfortable Shoes – Comfortable shoes are integral to being a wedding photographer. While I won’t make any specific recommendations since everyone’s feet are different, what I will say is that you can definitely buy inserts, arch supports, etc. to make any existing pair of shoes more comfy for a day on your feet.
- Schedule a Break – A really long day is hard without a break to sit down and eat. I always make sure to let my clients know (in my contract and via email) that I’ll be taking a break to eat when they do. I’m not demanding about having a meal, or a hot one in particular provided for me. What’s most important is that I have time to sit down and have a break. You can add in meal clauses to your contracts as you’d like, but at the very least make sure you make it clear that during a 12 hour day you need a few minutes to sit down and eat too in order to keep doing a great job.
- Prepare in Advance – Weddings aren’t only physically taxing, but mentally as well. You could be entering someone’s world on one of the happiest and most stressful days of their lives. The more prepared you are in advance for all the possibilities, the better off you will be. If that means helping your clients create a wedding timeline, keeping your own emergency kit in your car for your clients, or building in lots of extra time throughout the day in case things go late….I just advise any wedding photographer to prepare in advance as much as possible. I like to arrive early to venues to check them out, plan photos, and sometimes I even attend the rehearsal the day before so I can be even more prepared for how things will go.
- Communicate – One of the biggest stressors I hear about from other wedding photographers is problems with other vendors, specific guests, etc. A great survival tip for dealing with these stressful relations is to communicate. Just remember everyone else is there stressing out too, and wanting to ensure everything goes perfect. Rather than holding a silent grudge at that guest who keeps getting in your shots, it’s totally okay to politely ask them to move. Be willing to communicate the things you need in order to get your job done to the best of your ability. Don’t be afraid to speak up! It’s totally possible to do it in a polite and friendly way and make sure everyone walks away happy.
- Spark – One of my favorite tools for keeping up the energy and positive attitude during a busy wedding day is Advocare’s Spark. I’m super happy my friend Sarah Perkins introduced me to it and I think it should be in every wedding photographer’s survival kit. I like to get the little to-go packets as my little energy boost/vitamin supplement to keep going throughout the day. It’s very easy to mix into a water bottle on the go! I’m going to put a link here to the Spark from my distributor (Sarah Perkins and her partner in crime Dave Glaser), because I like to support their small business. I highly recommend the Mango Strawberry flavor.
- Wine – When you get home and start importing those photos, put your feet up and have a glass of wine.
- Get Holistic – Before and after a wedding I like to do things like dab on a little lavender oil, or burn some lavender incense so I can be calm, cool, and collected for the day and relax when I’m done.