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Top 5 Tips: Wedding Day Challenges Faced by Pro Photographers

From late wedding day timelines, to unpredicted weather, to harsh or non-existent light, there are plenty of challenges that arise during the wedding day shoot. Because you still need to capture memorable images for your couples, how can you overcome the issues that inevitably happen?

Wedding Day Challenges

In our Online Training: Real Wedding Day Challenges Photographers Face (and How to Conquer Them), Collin Pierson shared his personal solutions to working through any day of problems to deliver unforgettable images to clients. Here are the top 5 tips you can use during your shoots to overcome any challenge that arises.

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Image by Collin Pierson

1. Pack an Emergency Kit

One of the first suggestions Collin has is to pack a wedding day emergency kit. There are a few reasons why you should have this readily available on every shoot. The first reason is because the wedding planner, who may have many of these items, may not be with the bride and groom all day long. You are with the couple throughout the day, so it can be valuable to keep a wedding day survival kit with you. Some of the items Collin packs in his kit are:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant (men and women’s)
  • Sewing necessities
  • Blotting papers
  • First aid kit
  • Aleve
  • Static guard
  • Tampons
  • Mints
  • Fashion Tape
  • Sunblock

Your emergency kit is valuable during various parts of the wedding day. If you are in a situation where you have something on the ground (mud, rain, dirt, sand), you risk getting the bride’s dress or shoes dirty. Because your bride invested time and money in her dress, it is necessary to have a solution for this challenge. To combat this, Collin brings a collapsible reflector to his wedding shoots.

Reflectors are sturdy, easy to grip, and can easily be packed with your other items. He places the reflector on the ground, with the side that has the coding on it (so you can easily wipe it off), and has his brides stand on it. When you can keep the dress or shoes out of harm’s way, your couple will take notice.

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Additionally, Collin includes black and white trash bags in his wedding day emergency kit. The black trash bags are helpful for when you have to go out in the rain and shoot. You can place the trash bag over your head and camera, poke a hole for your lens, and shoot quickly without adjusting the wedding day timeline. For a situation where you do not have a reflector to use for the bride to stand on, you can use a white trash bag instead.

Related: What should you have prepped before the wedding day shoot?

2. Dress Appropriately

When you shoot the wedding day, it is important to dress appropriately – both for your brand and for comfort. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and clothes, especially since you will stand and move around all day to capture images. Collin makes sure to dress to match his brand, but also wears clothes that are comfortable and not too expensive so he does not mind if something happens to them.

It can also be necessary to dress based on the weather condition. If you know you will shoot in extreme heat, make sure to note that when you choose your wardrobe for the day. If it is the middle of winter and you know you will shoot outside, make sure you dress for it and bring additional layers to keep warm (gloves, scarf, jacket, hat).

When you dress for comfort (and the weather), it will be easier for you to focus on the task at hand, which is capturing memorable images for your couples.

Related: How can you eliminate branding mistakes from your photography business?

3. Prepare for Weather Conditions

Depending on your location and time of year, inclement weather is a real challenge you will face during the wedding day shoot. From rain, snow, wind, freezing temperatures, extreme heat, and more, there are plenty of obstacles that you will have to overcome when it comes to weather conditions. The most important thing for you is to make sure you are prepared for any situation that comes your way.

We mentioned in the last success photography tip how important it is for you to dress for the weather conditions you will face. It is also necessary for you to think about your couples in the most extreme weather conditions. For example, Collin once worked with a bride for her portraits outdoors and the bride got heat exhaustion. To avoid this in the future, he makes sure that he places his couples in the shade and uses lighting equipment and wedding day poses that make it look like there is more light than there is in the location.

The same can be said for freezing temperatures or shoots in the snow. Keep your couples indoors as long as possible or look for locations where you can keep them warm while you shoot outdoors. A great example of this is once Collin shot with his couple outside of their hotel and kept them under the header, which was located right outside of the hotel.

An additional way you can prepare for weather conditions is to keep your gear safe. Make sure you know your specific camera and additional pieces of gear so you know whether it is weather resistant or weather sealed. In situations with inclement weather, a weather sealed lens can be helpful. Even if your camera has built-in protection, make sure not to leave it out in the rain for extended periods of time.

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4. Make the Effort

Unexpected challenges on the wedding day, especially when it comes to inclement weather, can be frustrating and cause you to scramble for a solution. No matter what the challenge is, make the effort for your couples to get the best images possible through any scenario. Collin urges photographers to work through fear or hesitation, so you can do your job and make your clients happy.

“Fear is the thing that prohibits a lot of photographers from reaching their full potential.” – Collin Pierson

Weather is a part of everyday life and is something that you can use your tools and knowledge to work with during your wedding shoots. Collin shares a list of things that are possible to shoot through (most of which he has worked through himself):

• Rain
• Hail
• Cold
• Boiling Hot
• Wind
• Ice
• Sleet
• Snow
• Tornado
• Tropical Storm
• Hurricane
• Fog
• Mist
• Impending clouds
• Waves

If your couple wants to shoot in these weather conditions, and it is safe to do so, make the effort for them. In a past shoot, Collin has shot with a tornado (yes, a tornado!) in the background, flooding, rainstorms, and much more. Even though these are things that might be challenging to work through, he found a way to create images that his clients desired. Your clients will be happy that you took the chance for them. Plus, it makes for a great story to share with your future clients.

5. Give Clients Assurance

With everything you do during the wedding day to overcome challenges, you provide your clients with assurance. They will feel more confident in you because you came prepared for anything that might happen. They will know that if something goes awry, you can help them. Little challenges for you may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is for your clients. The more you can do to help them through the day, the more they will remember the impact you had on them and their big day.

In Collin’s Facebook Group, Come Hell or High Water, he welcomes the photography community to share additional wedding day disasters and personal stories of how they overcame them. Join the group to continue learning new ways to avoid wedding day nightmares!

Wedding day challenges happen to every photographer, regardless of experience. When you are prepared, you can be more successful in your shoots and capture memorable images. Find out additional tips to help you through wedding challenges, specifically when it comes to lighting when you download our Lighting Guide for Wedding Photographers!

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