November 23, 2020

How to Prepare to Photograph a Wedding

Filed in: For Photographers

Making sure you know how to prepare to photograph a wedding ahead of time will save you time, stress, and worry come the day of the wedding. I have 10 years of experience shooting weddings and have perfected my preparation process. Prepping for a wedding doesn’t just include my gear, it encompasses myself and my couples which makes my pre-wedding prep checklist unique and a must have for any wedding photographer.

Wedding day prep check list download by Joy Michelle Photography, wedding photographer educator

Preparing your gear

Knowing your photography gear is prepped and ready to go for the morning makes it so much easier to get out the door and stay on time rather than scrambling last minute.

  • Charge all rechargeable batteries
  • Clean all lenses
  • Organize and repack gear bag-this is exactly the same for each wedding
  • Format all memory cards so I have plenty of space for the wedding day
  • Compile everything at the door so everything is ready to grab and go the morning of

Preparing the logistics

Making sure you have all the details of the day at your fingertips will help you look professional, stay on track, and leave less room for mistakes. I pack a folder with the essentials for the day which include:

  • Directions
  • An invitation
  • My couple’s completed questionnaire
  • Plus, a few business cards readily available to give to new vendors I may meet while I’m there

Touch base with the bride and the second photographer

I always check in with my bride and my second photographer to be sure that no plans have changed. I never assume that I’m going to be kept in the loop about any possible changes. It’s up to us, as the professional, to be proactive and check-in. If I’m meeting at a hotel then this check-in will also be when I ask for the hotel number of where I need to be to capture getting ready images.

During this time I also set the time when I’m leaving for the big day. I check my route to the venue for any possible delays, like construction, or if I’m going to need any money for tolls. I always plan on leaving early enough that I arrive roughly an hour early. This gives some leeway if I were to get caught in any traffic.

Preparing myself

There’s always a lot of conversation on prepping your gear for photographing a wedding but I run through the same routine for each wedding to make sure I’m prepared as well. Here’s what that looks like:

  • Select and layout my outfit and shoes for the next day based on the venue and weather. I always make sure to bring an extra pair of shoes. I always have a formal pair of shoes but end up packing rain boots and/or Toms. Make sure your shoes are comfortable, you’re going to be on your feet all day long.
  • Pack snacks and water. My favorite snacks are chia bars, lara bars, cliff bars, or gummy candy.
  • I drink lots of water the day before, especially in the summertime.
  • Bonus! If I know I’m going to be spending a lot of time outside at a wedding I pack bug spray and sunscreen.

Feeling better prepared?

Whether you’ve been capturing weddings for years or this is your first one it can always be a little nerve-wracking. Knowing how to prepare to photograph a wedding will help calm your nerves and have a successful wedding day! Remember, you can download my entire checklist here.

Here are some other blogs to prepare you:

How to Photograph a Wedding in the Rain

What to do in the off-season as a Photographer

How to Prepare to Photograph a Wedding - Joy Michelle Photography:
How to Prepare to Photograph a Wedding: Joy Michelle Photography - Making sure you know how to prepare to photograph a wedding ahead of time will save you time, stress, and worry come the day of the wedding.

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