Welcome to hell.
Just kidding. Kind of.
It’s officially summer, it’s officially one of the hottest on record, and it’s officially wedding season, swimming season, summer vacation, time to show off that bikini because you faithfully did your pinterest workout everyday season, and Orange Is The New Black, Did They Really Kill Jon Snow season.
It’s that precious time of year where you go from being emotional over the father daughter dance, to a very different type of emotion when a memory card fails. It’s when you decide if you want to look uber professional in all black, and risk heat stroke, or dress like a guest, and lose your “on-sight” professional aura. The struggle, my dear togs, is real.
Lest we forget, we’re also standing and bustling through each wedding for 6, 8, 10, and 14 hours, (unless you got an Indian wedding, in which case, you’re beyond us all) fighting for the ability to capture portraits, not cell phone cameras, get all the detail shots while having a bridesmaid lean over our shoulder to tell us she had a secret pinterest board she wants you to take a look at because she’s *just sure* the bride will want all of those shots as well, and for those of us brave enough, getting up the next day and shooting another one.
All that being said, I’m here to remind you that YOU STILL MATTER. I know, it’s our time to edit and crank out weddings in 7 to 14 days (yes, you can take longer, no, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to take three or four weeks) while upkeeping a blog, updating our social media daily, taking classes to make sure we’re on top of our game, OH, and maybe also seeing family, husbands, kids, best friends, etc. And I’m aware that you have to work like it’s the end of the world as we know it, because come winter, we’re gonna be relying on what we make now to survive–if you’re a full time sort of tog, everyone else, carry on.
I know it sounds like I’m trying to overwhelm wedding photographers, but that’s not my intent. At all. My hope is to provide you with several tips to help you keep your sanity, give you some much needed validation that downtime is just as important to you as it is to the people who legally get 2 full “Leave my problems at work” days a week, and give you a goal to pace yourself towards – Winter Vacation.
1. Ibuprofen and a 5 hour Energy right after the ceremony is the best advice I have ever received from a photographer, ever. Honestly. Just as you’re having to face several hours of awkwardly trying to look busy while waiting for the next “thing” to happen, it’s nice to know that your feet aren’t going to be punching your brain in the face for the next few hours. Try it. Seriously.
2. The “Nature Is Kind Of An A-hole” Kit:
-Tweezers (Because Ticks)
-Bandaids (preferably the sushi shaped ones, because they’re adorable)
-A tiny bottle of Whiskey. Just….just in case.
Keep that kit in the back of your car, or get compact sizes and keep it in a plastic baggy (spills happen, people) in a side pouch of your camera bag. You’re welcome.
3. BRING ANOTHER OUTFIT. Pants tear. Skirts rip. Wine spills. Blood drips. Infants explosively spew vomit and fecal matter simultaneously. IT HAPPENS. So be prepared.
4. Prep in advance for when you get finished. That might mean prepping a meal you just have to throw in the microwave, oven, or your mouth, as soon as you walk through the door–or maybe you might order glorious takeout-regardless, have some good food awaiting you when you get home. Chill some wine. Have the AC going full blast in your room. Take a long, glorious shower or bath. Whatever helps you wind down and get rest and mental and physical relaxation, do those things.
5. Make an editing schedule. If you’re one of the people who’s figured out that outsourcing your edits is the best thing since sliced bread, I salute thee. Way to make your life about 800% easier, I’m sure you’re probably enjoying pool time right now, you sly minx. For the rest of you who may have the same control-freak issues that I face, I totally understand. Until we find that unicorn editor that can give us the freedom to also read thought-provoking novels by the pool, I recommend a schedule. Pinpoint your goal completion date for each wedding, and work backwards. Delivery, Blog Post, Final Touches/Look Over, RAW/Batch editing, Culling, Sneak Peek, etc. Totally doesn’t have to be in that order in any way, that’s just an example. Just figure out what you can *reasonably* do in a day (while still giving yourself time to eat, poop, and see other human beings) and make sure you stick with it. I even give myself a “pillow” day, where I can move my work to that day, should something come up that doesn’t allow me to finish when I was supposed to. Try it!
The most important tip is really that you make sure to take your time off seriously. Guard it as jealously as a Bieber Fangirl would guard Bieber’s Twitter Feed–with irrational, almost religious fervor. Like it or not, stress manifests in ways that can affect your cognitive abilities, sleep, interactions with other people, and can cause physical issues, like headaches, depression, anxiety, etc. If you find yourself trying not to scream in panic because another bridesmaid is opening up Pinterest, I think it’s safe to say you need a vacation. Don’t let it get that far. Make time to relax and unwind without pressure or fear of deadlines at least once a week, and MORE if you can. I’m giving that as a bare minimum guideline, don’t feel guilty if you find you need several days to recover. There’s nothing wrong with knowing your limits and taking care of yourself.
What about you? Have you found any great tips, tricks, and post-wedding rituals that you use to keep your cool and make wedding season a little easier? Share your awesomesauce advice with the rest of us!