Wedding Photographer’s Survival Tips for the Wedding Season
Survive the wedding season with our tips and tricks
We chose to be wedding photographers because we LOVE weddings. We love shooting moments of love and celebration between people and it’s fantastic to be a part of so many beautiful love stories. But with the exhilaration of having shot a gorgeous wedding comes the crash of having worked for days without proper rest and sleep. And it’s inescapable during the peak wedding season in India. Our weddings go on for days without break and often run late into nights and start early in the mornings. And we need to stay on top of our game at all times and at every wedding.
Our most basic strategy is to just power through the tough days. But that’s not all we should do. To be able to deliver our 100% to our clients, we need to be at our 100% during the wedding. And while powering through and surviving on energy drinks might work a few times, there’s only so much time before our bodies give up. So we’ve come up with a basic survival list for all the photographers out there.
#1 Start planning in advance
Planning for the wedding begins before the wedding even begins or you even reach the venue. Communicate well with your clients to know the flow of the events. Make sure you know about the details of the functions and are aware of what is happening where and when. When you arrive at the location, do a quick scout around. Knowing the good photo spots will save you from being in a panic when you’re in the middle of a ceremony and pressed for time for a couple photo.
Never underestimate the advantage of taking care of logistics beforehand. If you have two back to back weddings, keep a buffer time in between for you to travel, reach the next location and rest a little before you have to get in action. Planning some things in advance will save time and energy during the wedding.
#2 Prepare for contingencies
We’ve said this countless times before, anything can happen during a wedding. Cameras and memory cards malfunction, batteries run out, flights run late and the weather takes a turn. Don’t wait until a disaster strikes to figure out what you’re going to do; plan for some of the common failures, have backup equipment ready, keep a few hours buffer while travelling and plan ahead for bad weather. Even when you plan for everything, there is always something that can go wrong. So be calm and do the best you can at the moment.
#3 Wear smart but comfortable shoes and clothes
As people who are on their feet for hours at a stretch at weddings, you should invest in a pair of good, solid and comfortable shoes with thick soles. Yes, you need to look good but you also need to be comfortable while shooting long hours. Shooting while your feet are hurting is counterproductive to getting good photos. If you’re wearing juttis to compliment your kurta, you can get it custom padded for comfort. Slip ons are the best for Indian weddings, as they’re easier to take off at a second’s notice, should you need to be at a pooja quickly.
Find stretchy pants that look smart but can also be comfortable to run around and jump up and down for the day in. Having a few functional accessories can make it easier for you to move around to shoot. You can get custom-made pants or kurtas with multiple pockets to carry around extra batteries, memory cards, and triggers. Sling bags or wristlets are also a good way to carry your photography accessories.
Image by Onam Giri
#4 Stay hydrated and eat well
It can be sooo tempting to get that plate of jalebi and rabri or stack your plate with the butter naan, but also remember that this is just one of the 20 weddings you’ll be shooting in the season. And eating well is key to staying energetic enough to be able to shoot all of them well. With the crazy schedule that Indian weddings have, it’s possible that you go from shooting one event right into the next without having time to grab a bite or eat too much all at once. So it’s better to keep snacking throughout the day and avoid large meals. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to do that, keep a few protein bars or energy-boosting snacks like nuts in your camera bag.
It’s also really important to stay hydrated. Avoid too much fizzy, sugary or caffeinated (tea and coffee) drinks. They only make you more dehydrated. Just grab a few smaller water bottles and keep them handy while shooting. Or grab fresh juices whenever you can.
#5 Emergency Repairs and First Aid
Carrying a gaffer or a duct tape is a big must while on a wedding assignment. It can repair and hold everything in place – broken stand or a softbox, flashes on a wall and anything else you can think of. Apart from that remember to carry a strong thread like twine, and multi-purpose tools like a swiss army knife always come in handy. Don’t forget to keep the sharp objects in your check-in luggage if you’re travelling by flight.
Keeping a first-aid box is a no-brainer. Like we said, weddings are unpredictable; so be prepared for headaches, stomach upsets, flu or a cold. Carry band-aids and bandages, an antiseptic liquid, mosquito repellants, and pain-relief sprays. This all seems obvious, but we might forget the first-aid in favour of packing our cameras, lenses and other photography equipment.
#6 Have a Support System
We’re all in agreement that the wedding season is exhausting. It comes with a lot of work, sleepless nights, long travel hours and working weekends. So having a group of photographers that understand your frustrations and can offer you support and suggestions can really make a difference. When you’re down in the dumps, these group of people will be the ones who can relate to what you’re going through. You can look for photographer’s Facebook or WhatsApp groups either in your city or larger groups across India. After all, no matter where we work or live our challenges and experiences remain largely the same.
We hope that these will tide you over this wedding season. Of course, there are a lot of things to be added to the list. There is always something more to be done when it comes to weddings. But even during all this chaos, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy your work. After all, we’re all going to miss these hectic days when the season is slow. We, wedding photographers, are quite the workaholics!
What would you add to this list? Do let us know your tricks to survive the wedding season. We’d love to know!