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I'm the gal behind the lens, and the founder of paige elizabeth photography. 

If I'm not working you can usually find me exploring new towns, eating sushi, or cuddling with my pup and cat. Explore my blog to learn more about me, my couples, and even learn a thing or two!

Hey, there! I'm Paige.

How to Prep for a Wedding Day

Hey, friends!

 

In honor of my wedding season starting this Saturday, I wanted to share a bit about how I prep for weddings with you, in hopes that it can help you too! Full disclosure: I’ve been told my multiple of my friends/peers that I over-prep, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt. Or, if you’re like me and like to be prepared for pretty much any scenario, then this is the perfect blog post for you!

 

Prepping properly for a wedding day is so key to me, and now that I’m full time and can do this during the day, I know it’s going to make a huge difference in my prep. Previously, when I had a full time job on top of this business of mine, I would try my hardest to prep two nights ahead, so I could get to sleep at a “decent” hour the night before the wedding. That was easier said than done, because of course I was also having to answer emails/inquiries, edit, and all the other goodness that comes with running a business. (This was at night, by the way, after I’d already worked an 8+ hour day.) More often than not, I found myself prepping all of my gear at 9-10 pm the night before a wedding . While it got done and got done well, I am very excited to be able to do this during the day now, and not have any last minute things I need to rush to find or pack.

 

So, I am going to walk you through the different bags/gear/tools I bring with me and why, and below I’ll list out ALL of my gear for you! Bonus: there may be a surprise for you at the end of this blog post. Keep reading to find out 🙂 Or, if you don’t care and just want to see the good stuff because you have no chill, scroll to the bottom.

 

Let’s start with what’s already in the trunk of my car on any given day:

  • 1-2 Reflectors
  • 12 Clear Umbrellas
  • Pop Up Changing Tent
  • Small, portable steamer

I keep these in my car at all times, because it’s easier than taking them in and out, and they are things I could pretty much always need! It’s been a huge help for me to already have these things with me.

 

The first step for prep I’ll do is send a final check in email to both my clients and to my second shooter. I’ll make sure to let my client know any last-minute details, but normally this is just a “I’m so excited to see you tomorrow at X time!” email. I’ll then email my second shooter any final details, such as where to meet, what time to be there, and any specific shots I’m requesting from them if they’ll be shooting alone. I also make sure to send them a copy of the Timeline and Questionnaire!

 

The second step for prep I’ll do is go through and make sure I have plenty of SD and XQD cards that are already cleared and formatted ahead of time. I typically always import following a session right onto two different hard drives, but occasionally I’ll only back up to one. So I make sure any cards are backed up to a second one before clearing them off! Once any outstanding images are imported, I’ll go through and format all the cards. This is one of the most important steps so I don’t have to worry about shooting over a full card, accidentally deleting images I’d need, or forgetting to format the card and risking it being corrupted!

 

Next I print out the Timeline and Questionnaire. You should always have a Timeline for the wedding day and I highly recommend sending out a Questionnaire to your couples to get any and all other info you may need from them in one place! I print out two copies of these. One for me, one for my second shooter.

 

My final step is to go through my gear and make sure I have everything I need, as well as clean any lenses/bodies that need it. I’ll plug in all my batteries so they’re charging while I’m prepping! Here’s a list of each of the different trunks I bring with me, and what I have in them.

 

I bring 3 separate bags/trunks with me to every wedding. That includes:

  1. My camera bag
  2. My gear/extras trunk
  3. My emergency bucket

Let’s see what I keep in each of those bags!

My Camera Bag:

I use the Kamrette Backpack as my main camera bag. I also have their tote, but the Backpack actually has a lot more room, and I love being able to just throw it on my back and not worry about it swinging around near my cameras on my harness. I can’t say enough great things about this bag, I’ve used it nonstop for a year and a half and it’s held up PERFECTLY!

Inside I’ve got:

  • 2 Nikon D850 bodies (named Addison and June)
  • Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 lens
  • Nikon 50mm 1.8
  • Nikon 85mm 1.8
  • Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens
  • Nikon SB-910 flash
  • At least 6 fully charged camera batteries
  • Fully cleared and formatted SD and XQD cards.
  • Printed Timeline
  • Printed Wedding Questionnaire

 

As you can imagine, that can get pretty heavy to lug around- so I generally use my ShootSac to carry around the lenses/cards I know I’ll need, and set my backpack down somewhere nearby.

 

My Gear Trunk:

I use a Husky Tough Trunk that I purchased at Lowe’s (or maybe it was Home Depot) to carry pretty much anything and everything else I may need on my wedding day. I stuff a LOT into this baby, so I’m just going to list it out here for you:

  • Yungnuo backup flash
  • Camera Harnesses/straps (HoldFast)
  • AA Batteries
  • All battery chargers
  • Lens gels/diffuser covers
  • Off Camera Lighting setup
  • 15″ Macbook Pro
  • Hard Drive
  • Any cords I may need
  • Walkie Talkies
  • Headsets
  • Walkie Talkie Charger
  • ShootSac Bag
  • Extra Lens holders
  • Styling Ribbon/Materials
  • Ibuprofen
  • Cough Drops
  • Back Brace (I have back issues, this is just a personal precaution)
  • IcyHot Patches (again, personal precaution)
  • 3-4 bottles of water
  • Luna Protein Bars (I pass these out to vendors like candy, y’all)
  • My Styling Mat
  • Flash Dome
  • Mini light
  • Battery Chargers
  • Camera Cleaning Kit
  • Business Cards
  • Other emergency things like:
    • Cottonelle Wipes
    • Tide Pen
    • Downy Wrinkle Remover
    • Pads/Tampons
    • Ace Bandage
    • Band-Aids
    • Headband/Hair Clips
    • Hand Warmers in the Winter
    • Deodorant

#ProTip: I also have a lock that I lock this with at the wedding. There is a lot of expensive gear in here and I don’t like to take any chances, so better safe than sorry!

 

My Emergency Bucket:

Let me preface this by saying, I’m not sure I would have this bucket if it weren’t for the fact that I was a rentals wedding vendor for 3 years before I was a photographer. In fact, I know I wouldn’t have it- but I am SUPER glad I do. It’s come in handy a couple of times! That being said, it’s anything I would have needed then, as a rental vendor. So not all of these are things you need to have by any means. Think of things that could be needed at a wedding, and throw those in your own emergency bucket!

  • Hair Ties
  • Bobby Pins
  • Safety Pins
  • Tide Pen
  • Cottonelle Wipes
  • Hair Spray
  • Lotion
  • Make Up Wipes
  • Windex
  • Paper Towels
  • Tape (different kinds)
  • Chalk Pens (different sizes/colors)
  • Furniture Pens
  • Scissors
  • Notepad and pens
  • Fabreeze
  • Zip Ties
  • Magic Eraser
  • Mini Sewing Kit

 

The very last thing I’ll do? Make sure I get plenty of rest. I don’t make plans the night before a wedding, and I also watch what I eat/drink the day before. I have a sensitive stomach, so I’ll usually make sure I’m drinking plenty of water, and not eating anything that could potentially make me sick or feel sluggish. The morning of I’m also drinking plenty of water and will have a smoothie to start the day.

 

Okay so there you have it! That’s an overview of my process and everything that I bring with me! I know it’s a lot, but it brings me peace of mind knowing I have pretty much anything I may need right there either in my trunk, or in my vehicle.

 

If you’re a new photographer, and prepping for your first wedding seems a bit overwhelming, you’re not alone. Getting pre-wedding jitters honestly never goes away, but it’s a good sign because it’s a reminder that you know how important this day is to your clients! To help you with the prep part, I’ve put together a simple PDF checklist for you so you never have to miss a step! Click here to download your Wedding Day Prep Checklist!

 

So what did you think?! Any questions on the prep process?? Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

XO,

Paige

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