“I refuse to photograph a wedding.” We often hear other photographers say this.
The stress and anxiety of a wedding is not always easy to handle! Let’s be honest… we’re not JUST the wedding photographers. At times we are the planner/coordinator, and even a therapist!
We’ve often photographed weddings where our list of responsibilities wasn’t necessarily what we were hired to do. A bride’s dress loses a button, a centerpiece was not placed on table 8, and the officiant’s microphone is malfunctioning.
All scenarios I can think of off the top of my head where we, as the photographers, came to the rescue.
While playing these rolls, it is important to watch the time and stay on schedule. When the ceremony starts, don’t miss the groom’s first reaction (and make sure your image is in focus!).
“I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may now kiss your bride.” It’s important that photographers don’t miss this important shot (and make sure your shot is properly exposed!).
Family photos… where is grandma? We only have ten minutes to do family photos. All of these thoughts running through your head a million miles-per-hour can be terrifying! This is the biggest day of their lives and you have one shot – you can’t mess this up.
Okay, now BREATHE!
Breathe and let’s go through some things that have helped us cope with the stress and anxiety of a wedding.
7 METHODS FOR MANAGING THE STRESS OF A WEDDING DAY
Sometimes I catch myself forgetting to do the obvious. I hold my breath to get photographs in focus and just right. My mind is racing as I am planning my next move, I can’t catch a breath. Stop. Step aside… take 10 seconds to take deep breaths. Gather your mind and continue.
- FORGET ABOUT IT!
When I first started photographing weddings, my stress began weeks before. The day of the wedding, I couldn’t think about anything else other than how nervous I was. You want to prepare for your event but then forget about it. During the ride to my weddings I play music I love… sometimes coldplay… sometimes Lil’ Wayne (don’t judge)… and I forget I’m going to work. Clear your mind and remember a scattered and stressed mind does work at it’s best.
Prepare timelines and shot lists. Meet with your bride and groom beforehand and learn their wants and expectations. Make sure you, the bride and groom, as well as all vendors are on the same page.
- PICK YOUR SPOTS
Arrive at the venue at least 30 minutes earlier than scheduled time (if the venue isn’t too far – you can even go before the wedding day!). As soon as we arrive we walk the whole venue and pick our favorite spots in terms of lighting, and then background.
Before each of our weddings we have a brunch date. We get in a nice hearty meal so we have fuel for the day. No one likes a hangry photographer. We also take a backpack cooler with snacks and LOTS of water! Stay hydrated and don’t let your blood sugar drop. Take care of yourself!
- REMEMBER YOUR PURPOSE
Don’t doubt yourself. Remember that they chose you for a reason. They saw your talent and potential and have built trust in you. So now, trust in yourself. Before each wedding, I have a pep talk with myself and it goes like this – “You got this, remember and apply everything you know. They booked you for a reason, you are a damn professional.” Hey… it works for me!
- BACKUP GEAR
It is SO important to have a backup camera and lens! Thankfully, we’ve never had any issues with our camera malfunctioning on a wedding day, but we have heard HORROR STORIES of other photographers who only had ONE camera, which malfunctioned on the wedding day. Having backup gear covers you and your business.
After photographing 30+ weddings a year, they have become less stressful with time. We’ve learned the ins and outs of a wedding, how long each section of the wedding typically takes, and how many safe spots we need to add into the timeline for the surprise issues (which always tend to arise)!
If you’re stressing out about your next wedding, keep these 7 methods in mind. And for some motivation, just think about what we’re able to provide our couples. This is the happiest and most wonderful day of people’s lives. How cool is it that this is our job… and at the end of the day when you hit send on that final gallery, the fulfillment you get is so worth it.
SO, just BREATHE, determine your WHY, and do the very best you can on your couple’s special day! By doing so you will have captured beautiful moments for their grandchildren to cherish decades to come.