If I could go back to when I was just starting out as a wedding photographer and tell myself the things that I’ve learned along the way, I would be amazed. If only I knew of these wedding day essentials 5 years ago, I would’ve been a lot further ahead. While I can’t go back in time, I CAN help other photographers NOW that are just starting out. It’s the whole reason why I started sharing more photography education and information on things that I’ve learned over the years!
As I complete each wedding and each wedding season, I ALWAYS analyze how things went. Are there areas that could and need to be more efficient? Organized? Consistent? As I’ve discovered new tools to help me advance and become all of those things, I can’t imagine ever going to a wedding day without these wedding day essentials. Let’s dive in:
I could write a whole blog post on the benefits and necessity of having an apple watch on a wedding day. (Side note: I may be biased towards Apple products because they’re the only thing I use. If you know of another watch that has these features, then, by all means, use that!). Of course, I love my apple watch for the time, but I also use it to put the entire wedding timeline on it (!!), set alarms for each portion of the wedding day so that I stay on schedule and I also add the family photo list that I can cross off as we photograph!
It’s also saved me a few times on a wedding day when photographing the ceremony. I remember standing on the far side aisle during the ceremony and realized that I was blocked in and couldn’t move to the middle aisle for the kiss! I quickly scribbled a text over to my second shooter so that she could move and grab the middle aisle kiss! Whew. I’m so thankful that I had my apple watch to do that! So, if that alone makes you buy a watch – I’m glad I shared it. haha!!
This is another main item that I don’t know how I lived without. This camera harness (pricey but worth it!) has given me so much more freedom while shooting. I photograph with two identical cameras, so I can attach my 50mm lens to one camera and my 85mm lens to the other. With the freedom of the harness, I can quickly pull up either camera/lens combo that I need to take a photo at any time! Not to mention the guests think it’s pretty cool too and often complement it.
It also allows me to be hands-free (super important) to help fix the train, hold the bouquet or anything else that I can do to help out, while always having my cameras on hand. The ONLY disclaimer about the harness is that it can catch your hair in the hooks if you wear your hair down. Also be aware that your cameras swing around, especially when you bend over.
I’m a HUGE water drinker – especially on wedding days. So I knew that it was important for me to have cold water on a wedding day. I’ve heard about swell bottles and their availability to keep water cold for up to 24 hours. (Now there are a lot of off-brand water bottles that do the same thing!) I’m super thankful to have cold water on hand when I need it most! Pro Tip: Don’t put ice-cubes in the bottle because they won’t melt!
This may surprise you as one of my very top must-have items on my list. But paired along with my water for hydration, I also ALWAYS bring a large Gatorade with me. I can feel it instantly through my body when I “re-fuel” with Gatorade. It gives me more energy and a sugar rush, which pushes me to keep going. I just choose a different flavor each time to switch it up!
Last but not least, I do not leave home without having the contact information for my bride, groom and maid of honor/best man. Typically I only need their information if we’re traveling between locations. I’ve learned this the hard way (again) to always, always, ALWAYS have any contact info and addresses for the places you’re going.
It was quite a few years ago in my very early stages of business that we were traveling for the bridal party photos. I told the bride and groom that I would just “follow them” over to the location – but ended up LOSING them on the way over. We got separated in traffic and I panicked because I didn’t know where I was going or how to get there. Thankfully, I was able to spot them and all ended well but I knew from that very moment that I would NEVER do that again.
You need to always know where you’re going and to also have the contact information to get a hold of someone just in case something would happen!! Since then, I have all of the contact information that I need with the wedding questionnaires that I’ve created in Honeybook. Now that I’ve integrated that into my workflow, I never have to worry about it again!
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