As a professional wedding photographer, you spend months helping your bride and groom prep for their special day. From the engagement shoot to the wedding day timeline, you take time to ensure that your couple is prepared for everything leading up to the wedding. Along with ensuring that the bride and groom are prepared, it is also crucial that you feel prepared as well, especially on the morning of the wedding!
Here at ShootDotEdit, we love to educate and help you find better solutions to growing your business. In order to feel your best before a shoot, it is important to have a consistent routine. Every wedding photographer’s morning-of ritual is unique, and we asked some of the industry’s pros to see what they do before their events. Their answers can help you better prepare yourself and have a more successful shoot.
Continue to Build Trust
Leading up to the wedding, you take time to develop a meaningful relationship with your couple. As the wedding day arrives, it is crucial to continue to build trust with them. Making efforts to reach out to them, or learning important family member’s names can make a large impact on the relationship you and your couple already have. The more they can trust you, the easier it is for them to become loyal customers!
Wedding photographer Terra Cooper has a morning-of wedding ritual that consists of reviewing the plan the couple wrote for the day, as well as making attempts to memorize names of the bride and groom’s immediate family and bridal party. She knows that the more she can talk to family members by using their first names, the more personalized the entire experience becomes.
“I go over the bride and groom’s questionnaires they sent me to make sure I have everything fresh in my mind, as well as their parents’ names. I try to use names as much as I can, because it is more personal and helps to nurture our relationship.”
Prepare Necessary Gear
Without a well-constructed plan for the morning of the wedding, it can be easy to forget something important, such as a piece of gear! Adding this step to your morning routine helps avoid any stress you would face if you left any equipment behind. With all of the thoughts going through your mind, making a list of the items you need to bring can help you keep organized and stay focused.
Denver, Colorado photographer Kellie Coughlin has a consistent routine to go to her studio the morning of a wedding and carefully organize all of the gear she plans to use for the day. By allotting herself plenty of time, she can arrive to the event confident and ready to shoot.
“After getting dressed, hair done, makeup on, I head over to my studio at least one hour before departure time. I spend time laying out all my equipment and making sure batteries are charged, memory cards are formatted, and that I have all my lenses.”
Pack your Must-Haves
Regardless of where the wedding shoot is, your job as a photographer can be strenuous. Not only are you carrying your gear the entire time, you are standing, walking, and possibly running to capture images. Since you need to be at your best during the shoot (and you may not be eating until dinner), it is important to bring along snacks and water to keep you going throughout the day.
Connecticut photographer Sarah Lehberger packs food and drinks that will help her feel her best as she photographs the images that matter.
“When I first started out, I packed my cooler with two cans of Red Bull, a bag of chips, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. After about five years, I switched to granola bars, a banana, a few water bottles, and I’d drink a kale and fruit smoothie before heading out the door. Health matters!”
Share a Moment with your Couple
When the wedding day approaches, the bride and groom are anxious and excited for the ceremony and meaningful moments with the people closest to them. Over the past few months, you have spent time building a relationship with your couple. Before you head out to shoot the wedding, do something that shows them you are excited to be a part of their big day.
Wedding photographer Donal Doherty makes it a habit to share a post on social media highlighting the wedding he will be shooting that day. By doing this, he is personalizing the experience for his couple and making them feel special.
“In the morning, the first thing I do is post on Facebook about the wedding that day, usually an image from their pre-wedding shoot. Something like – ‘Beautiful day for Sarah and John’s wedding at Lough Eske Castle – see you soon!’”
Give yourself Plenty of Time
Though the wedding shoot can provide obstacles and stresses, it can be helpful to remember that you get to spend the day with a couple you love working with, and you get to produce beautiful images of their wedding day. Give yourself plenty of time before the wedding to relax – this way, you can arrive stress-free and prepared for any challenges that may happen.
Virginia photographer Katelyn James developed a morning-of wedding ritual that allows her relax before the long day of shooting.
“We allow PLENTY of time to get to weddings so that we can have a nice breakfast and relax before we hit the ground running. I read over our couple’s questionnaire a few times, and then we arrive early enough to scout the area and find a first look and a bridal party portrait location. This really helps the flow of the day!”
In addition to sharing something on social media, allotting plenty of time to get ready, and packing your gear and essentials, remember to have some fun in the morning! When you arrive to the wedding, you want to be energized and focused on shooting a great event.
Before each wedding, photographer Abbey Kyhl loves to increase her energy levels by listening to music and dancing! This gets her motivated to shoot and reminds her that a positive spirit can go a long way when working with her couples.
“On the way to any wedding, I always pump up the music and get myself in a great mood. No matter the wedding, I want to be a fun, positive person, so a little dance party and some caffeine before definitely helps with that!”
No matter what your ritual is, make sure that you are doing something that will help you feel confident and prepared to capture great images. Do you have a unique morning ritual that you typically do before each event? Share with us in the comments! To learn more ways to share your unique brand message with ideal clients, download our Guide, 7 Branding Mistakes Wedding Photographers Make (and How to Fix Them)!