Im sure every photographer is different but I find a common question from my couples is about my preparation for the big day, on the wedding days themselves I find guests are very interested in the equipment I carry and what some of it's for.
So I thought why not write up a blog maybe to offer tips to someone who's looking to get into wedding photography, my couples so you can see the prep that goes into your big day or someone who has curiosity around a wedding photographer's equipment!
Preparation before any wedding or photoshoot is so important, it helps make everything go smoothly as possible when the time arrives.
Before any wedding, I send out a welcome pack to my couples - nothing to do with the essentials on the day but all of these preparations help you with an idea of the equipment you will need as it can vary depending on length, type of venue etc.
My welcome packs offer advice and tips, an insight to me as a photographer, my contract and a list clients have to fill out for group photos and timings of the day (+ a few little goodies).
If it's a venue I haven't seen or photographed previously I always take a trip there beforehand with or without the couples to see whether I need extra lighting - if that's the case I will also need more batteries prepped. I explore all the possibilities for different backdrops for formal and couple photos. And hopefully meet and introduce myself to some of the staff ahead of the day.
Depending on the timings and length of the wedding this also helps me get a better understanding on how many memory cards I will need to bring, refreshments and drinks - keeping hydrated especially on a summer wedding where you are on your feet for 11 hours and hot sun beaming down on you is key! I made this mistake once and suffered badly the next day.
From the moment you book me I am there when you need me, whether it's advice or just a general talk about the day I am just at the other end of an email, message or phone call. I always have a consultation with my couples but much closer to the date when you have a better idea on the structure of your wedding. I ask clients to share any ideas or Pinterest boards so I can have a feel of the day you're planning. Building up a friendship is key to me so you feel 100% comfortable on your big day.
I have a check list for every wedding I do, as again they vary so therefore my equipment does also. With my list in tow I start to prep all my equipment about 3 days before a wedding, I start the ongoing chore of charging batteries, organising memory cards, cleaning all my cameras and lens, sorting out my bag and chargers, back ups and batteries, memory cards, photo lists, laptop and adapter and lastly refreshments.
So really the preparation before any wedding is a vital part to any photographer's job and is key in getting your essentials you need ready for the day...
I have 2 main cameras attached to me at all times on a wedding day but I prep 4, as we all know technology can not be kind sometimes so even though (touch wood) I have never needed to use the other 2 cameras out of the 4 I always find comfort knowing they are there if needed. Along with the 4 cameras I have 2 battery packs, spare batteries and all the chargers for them.
My 2 essential cameras are my trusty Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Canon EOS 80D. I've always been a canon girl, I've grown up with them and my first ever camera gifted to me by my dad was a c
anon. I find the brand reliable and professional and help me create the images I do!
While the 5D helps me create the dreamy portraits and majority of the shots throughout the day, the canon 80D is my go to for confetti shots and any type of movement such as the first dance.
The never ending list of lens! They go on and I'll tell you, I always find I don't have enough hands on the wedding day so it really does take planning and what exact compartment they need to be in my camera bag, because if you're a couple who I've shot before you will know I almost always leave a lens behind at some point during the day!
I try to stick to my 3 day essentials, each offering different kind of shots, but also having back ups if needed waiting on the sidelines.
Tripod - is key for creating imagery that has poor or low lighting, this may include firework or sparkler photography. It also helps if your back is aching from carrying around the cameras all day.
Flashes - I have 4 in total, 2 attached to my main cameras and 2 spares! Flashes help when there is low lighting, I mainly use them during a low lit church, first dance and reception shots!
Portable Light - this trusty light goes everywhere with me, I shot a wedding in a castle earlier on in the year and I genuinely couldn't of done my job without it, I wouldn't of known this if I hadn't done my prep work and investigated the location before the day!
Camera Harness - so you will see me wear this the whole day, my 2 cameras will constantly be attached to it, it helps me carry my heavy equipment around and eases back pain. It's a god send to any photographer working 11 hour days!
Memory Cards - lots and lots of memory cards! It does vary depending on how many hours you've planned to be there as some require less than others. I do like to have back ups waiting just in case however.
Laptop & Adapter - I always back up my images half way through the day onto my laptop when the bride, groom and all their guests are eating.
Camera Bag - this bag is amazing! I look like a turtle with it on and I'm only 5"3 so it literally covers half my body but it compacts all my equipment in nicely and doesn't leave my side all day. When I do my aboard weddings this is my flight carry on bag!
Batteries and Chargers - my camera bag is just jammed packed with batteries and chargers for the cameras, flashes, lights, laptop and phone!
Printed Photo Lists - photo lists! I have 5x printed off in total, one for myself and others for bridesmaids and groomsmen who have been nominated to help with rounding up the guests for the photos the bride and groom have requested.
Refreshments - I take lots of bottles of water, it's so important although kind of hard to keep hydrated throughout the day and few snacks if needed!
On The Day
Really the prep that goes into a wedding day for the photographer is the key bit as when the day arrives it's all about capturing those special moments smoothly and efficiently. Each day is completely different which makes me love my job and why it brings me the excitement it does.
As mentioned earlier in the blog I do a back up of the images during the day. I then go home and back up onto a separate hard drive, I now also have a spare hard drive which I later back up at my parents house - just incase! My moto is that you can never be too careful or prepared. I, as many couples will know that same evening will combine a preview of around 30 - 40 images for you and you partner to look at the next day. The previews will then continue until you receive your full package.
After The Day
You will receive your full package completed with a wooden USB box and key shaped USB with your fully edited album on accompanied by 20 6x4 prints. If you have opted to add in the photobook option this will then follow after approving the design before heading to print.
So, there you have it! A real background into a wedding photographers prep for your big day, the essentials I carry and the back ups I prep. I hope my couples find reassurance and any newbies I have given ideas to and insight to what this wonderful job entails.
Nancy Calypso Photography x