In October I did something that in the past I never would have thought possible! Three eleven hour wedding days in a row. Sydney & Alex on Friday. Merry & Nick on Saturday. Stephanie & David on Sunday. Around 6,000 pictures taken in a 56-hour timespan. I went through 6 camera batteries 11 memory cards, 16 AA batteries, and an entire gallon of chocolate milk (my post-wedding reward three days in a row!). From this experience I learned many things, one of which being that when you photograph three weddings in a row, you actually burn more calories than an entire gallon of chocolate milk!!! Seriously. Do the math on that one. I walked for almost eight hours straight, burning at least 125 calories an hour!
Now, a lot of these tips are going to SEEM quite obvious, but often it’s the fundamental concepts that end up being the most important.
1. Wear comfortable shoes
In a rare episode of foresight, I realized coming up to this triad that the shoes I was currently using in my wedding day wardrobe probably wouldn’t suffice. So I headed over to Kholes and splurged on these bad boys! One of the smartest purchases I’ve ever made! Designed for comfort with a little bit of leather on top for style. Will I wear them every wedding? Probs not! I’ve got my full leather wing tipped ones that are a little bit less comfortable but far more professional. But, for a weekend with more than one wedding, definitely watch what’s going to be on your feet!
2. Drink PLENTY of water
Despite the weddings taking place in October, the weather was still really hot, and in a much more common fit of complete foolishness, I did not drink enough water during the first wedding. Before we even got to the ceremony of wedding number two I was already getting lightheaded. In fact, while we were getting ready for the ceremony, one of the bridesmaids even asked if I was getting enough water… Luckily I didn’t faint and it turned out to be an incredible wedding! But for your own safety, do not make this mistake. Your body has its limits, and to provide the best service to your clients, you need to be standing and preferably able to lift a camera. Drink PLENTY of water throughout the day, after you get home, and then more when you get up the next morning. As we always said when I worked at summer camp, “hydrate or diedrate!”
3. Perfect your “after wedding” process
At this point I need to introduce a new piece to the puzzle. Unfortunately, these weddings were not all in the same location. The first was in Huntsville, AL. The second in Auburn, AL (four hours away). And the third back in Huntsville (four more hours). Meaning, if a wedding ended at 9pm, I then needed to drive four hours to be at the next wedding location, complete my after wedding process (charging batteries, backing up images, preparing my outfit), and still get enough sleep to be ready for the next day. Knowing exactly what I needed to do before I could go to sleep was essential to the process. Thus, I’ll explain what I do here, and you can either copy it or come up with something for yourself!
First, I drink some chocolate milk. Gotta reward yourself for a job well done! Second, I begin importing images onto two different hard drives (my 1TB Oyen Digital SSD and 5TB Seagate HD) using my Lexar Workflow HR2. With this I can import up to four different SD cards at once. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when you’ve got four different cards to stick on your drives, having to manually switch them out actually sucks up a lot more time than you’d think! Third, while my images are being imported, I take another sip of my chocomilk and then take a shower. By the time I get out a good chunk of the images should be finished backing up. Fourth, I read a relaxing book/watch some Parks and Rec until the images are done. When finished I take those cards and put them into my waterproof SD card case, where the cards will stay until I deliver the images to the client! And last, I read a few more minutes to relax my mind and go to sleep knowing that the images are secure. All in all this process takes me 30 minutes from start to finish, and because I know exactly what needs to get done, it can go quickly every time.
4. If possible, have someone else drive you
As mentioned above, I had a lot of late night driving to get done. Thankfully, my parents live in Auburn and my mother was willing to drive me the final night back to Huntsville. If you read this, I love you mom! =) No, I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes I need a little bit of help! You shouldn’t be either. It is not safe to drive in a state of exhaustion. In fact, I watched a documentary once showing how driving while tired was even more dangerous than driving while intoxicated! If you’re part of a photography team that travels together, switch off who drives each night. Bottom line, as with hydration, safety must always be at the forefront of your mind.
5. 5 Hour Energy
There is still a lot of research going into the long-term effects of 5 Hour Energy consumption, but for now, I will say that they are a GREAT energy booster when you run out. Whether that be while driving or in the middle of a wedding. Of course, you should never abuse anything (there’s no substitute for good sleep), but in my personal opinion, it’s probably not dangerous to use ONE 5 Hour Energy during a long wedding weekend.
6. Don’t do it unless you love it
All through my elementary, middle, high school, and college years I have always been an extreme introvert. To the point where sometimes I just want to lock myself in my room with a great book and just read for hours!!! And so you’d think that I wouldn’t really want to spend three solid days surrounded by people. However, there’s just something about photographing a wedding that makes me come alive. I love it!!! Maybe it’s the perfect balance of person-to-person and solitary time behind my lens. Or it could be the fact that I always manage to find a swing dance partner at every reception! Whatever it is, I would do another tripleheader weekend because weddings bring me to life.
But, the question isn’t is it possible. The question is whether or not you can do a great job for your clients. Wedding give me energy. For some that’s simply not the case, and if you’re not one to truly enjoy that much wedding time, that’s perfectly okay, too! =D
Attempted a multiple-wedding weekend? If so, got any other tips? Comment below!