Last week, I wrote the first part of the Behind-The-Scenes of my Wedding Day Services and shared it with you. I explained everything I had to do before your big day. In this second part, I’ll explain everything I do the day before and the day of your wedding. There is so much more work that goes into shooting your special day than just what you and your guests get to witness. Hopefully, this series will shed some light into the real amount of work that a wedding photographer has to do to deliver the images from your wedding day.
Behind-the-Scenes of my Wedding Day Services
The Night Before:
- Gear Cleaning: Prior to each wedding, I will give each lens a good cleaning and make sure there is no visible debris in my viewing mirror on my cameras. Periodically, I’ll send my camera bodies in to get professionally cleaned.
- Battery Charging: The night before a wedding, I ensure ALL my batteries are fresh. When I say “ALL,” I’m referring to about 44 rechargeable batteries that I must recharge. I have two main and two backup batteries for my camera bodies, I have 36 AA batteries for my speedlights and four external battery packs for the speedlights to help them recycle even faster. I also have a few other items that use rechargeable batteries, but I don’t need to recharge them for each and every event.
- Packing: I first ensure I have each piece of gear that I will need to shoot your special day and a few more that I don’t. Haha. I think I somehow inherited this trait from my dad. I call it the “what if syndrome.” What if this happens, and what if that happens? I want to be prepared and not get caught with my pants down. So, I go though several mental scenarios imaging what equipment I will and may/might/would/could/should need if something unexpected happens and then pack all of that plus a backup! I will pack anything that has no real value in the car the night before the wedding to save time the day of… light stands, step ladders, sand bags, etc. Everything else that has substantial value gets packed into its designated bag but remains in my house ready to go.
The Day of:
- Lunch with my Team: Usually, my team doesn’t have the advantage of getting to know my couples or the ins-and-outs of their wedding plans prior to the big day. So, if time permits, I always treat them to a big lunch on the way to work so we can go over everything. I introduce my couple to my team and tell them everything I know about them. We go over the timeline and review our logistics throughout the day. This is our main strategic session to ensure a successful photographic mission.
- Arrive Early: I always try to arrive anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes early. I like to do one last quick walk-through, make sure there haven’t big any big changes to the day and let everyone know I have arrived and am ready to work!
- Unpack: When I arrive early, it allows me to get all my gear unloaded and prepped to begin shooting early. Like they say, if you’re not early, you’re late! This also allows a few bonus minutes for my clients… usually for detail shots! My clients always appreciate this! There is never enough time in the timeline! No joke.
- Hunting: In addition to everything included in the timeline, I am constantly on the lookout for unexpected things to happen. I call this hunting. I liken it to being in a blind, quiet as a mouse and waiting for prey to happen in front of my lens. I may catch a grandchild happily bouncing on a grandmother’s lap (maybe for the last time), the flower girl trip on the way down the aisle, or a father secretly wiping a tear from his face as he watches his daughter recite her vows. I think I’ve photographed all three.
- Constant Time Line Management: I constantly refer to the timeline we have created and check it against the clock. I do everything within my power to ensure we remain as close to our plan for the day as possible. Again, the timeline is crucial for properly planning to get the best photos.
- Social Media Peeks: During the event, I can FTP images from my DSLR to my phone. This allows me to choose a few (usually 3-5) and post to Instagram. This is a fun way to immediately share images with my clients and their guests. The working day/night is usually so fast-paced and it’s sometimes a bit glitchy, I don’t have time for any more than that.
- Unload: As soon as I get home, I unload all my gear. I never leave my gear in my vehicle overnight. No matter how late I get home and no matter how tired I am, I always unload. I have too much money (and time) invested in my gear and don’t want to risk losing it because I am too tired to bring it inside. AND, if I do happen to stop on the way home for a midnight snack, the memory cards from your wedding are not in my camera. They are on my person. I don’t want to risk getting my gear stolen at the IHOP and losing your precious images as well.
By now, I have worked more than double what you’ve hired me for. And I’m still not finished. In fact, the hard work hasn’t even begun.
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I am a San Antonio-based wedding photographer and I cater to outdoor-loving couples who prefer to have all the realness captured on their wedding days. I am the wedding photographer for the outdoor adventurers, the romantics, the laid back, the snugglers, and those who wish to capture all their realness.
I am absolutely in love with capturing the kinds of weddings where there are more hugs than handshakes, the dance floor rumbles all night long, and chairs are pretty much rendered useless after dinner. Whiskey bottles are passed around, most of the wedding party has been best-best friends since kindergarten, Grams is likely to lose her shoes and your partner is much more emotional than you are. These kinds of weddings are my jam!
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
I am a WPPI-C certified professional, full-time wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
When I’m not behind my camera, you can find me hiking, cycling, backpacking, camping, enjoying water sports, listening to music (Elvis and Prince), hunting for arrowheads, reading audiobooks, occasionally eating a few glazed donuts (my only weakness to sweets) and then re-starting my keto diet about every 10 days. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of.
The post, Behind-the-Scenes of my Wedding Day Services (Part II), first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.