How We Prepare for a Wedding as Photographers
The night before a wedding our kitchen looks like a city scape with the amount blinking lights of batteries charging. Beyond charging batteries, there are a few different things we do for our pre-wedding routine to ensure that we are fully prepared to capture anything that comes our way for our clients. Here's what that looks like for us:
1). Charge all of our batteries (including spares). While not overly complicated, there are a lot of different batteries we need to charge to make sure that we don't have any unexpected battery issues. (Even though we do this, we still pack chargers with us as well.) We start this process first since it can take a while to complete. Here's a list of everything that need charging for our gear bag:
- 8 lithium camera batteries (1 per camera + 1 spare per camera)
- 2 Drone battery packs
- 5 lithium flash batteries
- 24 rechargeable AA batteries for non-lithium flashes & flash triggers
2). Clean our lenses. We check each lens for any smudges, streaks or dirt to ensure that there is nothing to prevent crisp images.
3). Clear our memory cards. We clear our cards so that we have a fresh start for the day and have full storage capacity. Of course, we don't clear other session images unless they are triple backed up (Two separate hard drives & on the cloud). We save our images immediately after a session, but I always double check before deleting anything.
4). Pack our bags. To each wedding we bring a photography suitcase, backpack & flash bag in addition to flash stands, tripod, clear umbrellas & our MagBox from MagMod. We usually gather everything the night before and put it in the car the morning of the wedding, so we can just hop in and go.
5). Read through the wedding survey & save key information. A month before each wedding, we send out our questionnaire to gather all of the information that we as photographers need to know for a wedding. This includes family portrait combinations, timelines, contact information, family dynamics we need to be aware of, etc. We review any questions with the couple after receiving the response to resolve any issues in advance. Reviewing the survey the night before is a very important step to ensure that we are in the know about everything going on during the day and to align our vision with the couple's. I also save important phone numbers, my own copy of the timeline for reference & create a phone checklist of the family portraits combinations and list of other important shots. This makes it super easy for us to call off names and breeze through the family portraits.
6). Ensure our car is good-to-go. We like to have a full tank of gas if we need to travel more than an hour to a wedding. If we are traveling a long way, we will make sure our tire pressure is good & check for any other concerns. We don't want our car to get in the way of coverage in any way. We also make sure that our back seat is clean in case we end up bringing the couple with us to a special photo location.
7). Hydrate. Hydration is key for those hot summer weddings and for us it starts the night before. Often, there isn't much time for drinking water during the actual wedding day, so getting it in before is really helpful to avoid that dehydrated "wedding hangover" many photographers experience.
8). Reach out to the couple. We like to send a short note to the couple to ensure that they know we are on top of everything and ready to go for their big day. This can help ease pre-wedding anxiety by assuring them that their vendors are taking care of them.
9). Get a good night's sleep. We end with the obvious: getting enough sleep to have the focus and energy to perform our best all day long.
Taking all of these steps sets us up well to relax and be creative for each wedding. We know that we're both physically and mentally prepared for everything that might come up, so that frees us to do our best work every time.