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This post is part of the series, The Ultimate Guide To Being A Wedding Photographer — advice for running a successful wedding photography biz. Click here to view a list of all the posts in this series.
There’s a lot of hard work and preparation that goes into shooting a wedding—and you certainly wouldn’t want to forget anything! That’s why I’m sharing my very own wedding prep checklist with you!
You know you’re gonna show up, on time, ready to shoot their wedding day. But if you haven’t talked to your clients for a few weeks or even months, be sure to check in with them.
Shoot them an email one week to 48-hrs before the wedding. Let them know you’re excited for their big day, any last minute details they need to know, and what to expect from you.
Your clients have so much going on the week before their wedding day — and checking in let’s them know they have one less thing (you) to worry about.
I’ve already talked about how important vendor relationships are. So, help get that new friendship going by reaching out to the other wedding pros who you’ll be working with.
At my client planning sessions (4-6 weeks before the wedding), I’d get a list of all the other vendors my clients were using for their wedding. Then I’d email those vendors, introduce myself and ask if they had anything in particular that they’d like a photograph of.
By doing this you’ll set yourself apart from all the other wedding photographers out there — and let these vendors know that you’re a team player!
*Be sure to get the shots they request and email them over shortly after the wedding. More on that in the next post!
Shooting a wedding takes a lot of battery power.
Not just camera batteries (but get those charging!). There are also the AA batteries that go in your flashes and lights. And the AAA batteries that go in your triggers.
When I was shooting weddings I liked to use a combo of rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries… to make sure I had my bases covered!
For those rechargeable batteries, I’d start charging them a few days before the wedding.
Format them. Every time. Before every wedding.
Memory cards deserve respect… I’ve heard way too many stories about corrupted memory cards and wedding photos being lost forever.
Scary stuff. But one way to prevent it is to take good care of your cards.
If you’ve got a busy wedding season, make sure you have a system in place to rapidly backup your photos. Then format your cards before every wedding you shoot.
This helps the card to not get “confused” — from bouncing around to different cameras, etc. And can help prevent card corruption or failure.
The last thing you want, on a crazy wedding day, is to realize you’ve been shooting with finger prints on your lens!
So, make sure you take some time the night before to wipe down all of your lenses — so they’re crystal clear on wedding day!
How awful would it be to show up to a wedding and realize you’ve forgotten all of your memory cards?? Eeek.
Make a list of all the equipment (and other things) you’ll need for the wedding. Then go through the list, checking and double checking, as you pack your camera bag.
I spent almost my entire wedding career in Colorado, where I drove all over the state the shoot. The weather here can get pretty crazy… and I’ve driven through blizzards and floods to get to weddings.
Needless to say, it was important to have my route to the wedding venue figured out. And have a backup route just in case (cuz, yeah, the interstate got washed out during the flood-wedding… not fun!)
Figure out how long the trip will take you and be sure to add a nice “buffer” to make sure you get there early!
Go over the wedding day timeline to make sure you know what to expect and when. And if you are taking a second shooter with you — go over it with them too!
Then print yourself a copy and stick it in your camera bag.
(I always took a clipboard and pen with me, so I could stay on track of the timeline the whole day).
Even though you know when and where you’re supposed to be on the wedding day, it never hurts to have some contacts just in case things don’t go as planned.
It happens, bridal parties run late at the salon, groomsmen get stuck in traffic, whatever…
Get a few phone numbers of important people (maid of honor, best man, mother of the bride, etc.) who will be in the middle of the action. That way, in case anything happens (like you’re waiting at the wedding venue, and no one else has shown up) you can just ask!
This is your profession — and it’s somebody’s wedding day. You need to make sure you dress the part.
If you’re not sure what you should wear to a particular wedding, just ask the bride and groom how they’d like you to dress.
Then, be sure to prep your outfit the day before. You don’t want to be running around looking for something the morning of!
There you have it — my wedding prep checklist! Did I forget anything? Let me know in a comment below!
Then check out what you need to do AFTER the wedding: Wedding Workflow: 10 Things To Do After You Photograph A Wedding
Check out these other photographer’s pre-wedding preparation rituals: