Surviving Wedding Season | Practical Tips for Wedding Photographers
As I sit in my office this morning, hot coffee in hand, and fuzzy socks coming in clutch as I’m curled up in my office chair sending emails, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for being completely caught up on work. But I can’t shake the feeling that this is the calm before the inevitable storm.
I’ve had a MUCH appreciated few weeks off from weddings this month that I’ve filled with family time, catching up on house projects and gearing up for fall. And now, IT’S HERE. And if your clients are anything like mine, they believe fall is the new spring when it comes to weddings. May and June got NOTHIN’ on September + October around here. Four weddings in two weeks just might kill me, but I’m still so jazzed about each and every one of them.
SO. I’m sharing some of my best tips when it comes to surviving wedding season!
EAT REAL FOOD
We gotta start with the basics, people. Eating REAL food and cutting out the crap. Anyone who knows me knows that when I order a salad out, I almost ALWAYS order a side of french fries with it. BUT. We can all agree those french fries and other fried + processed junk won’t give us the energy we need to tackle those double header weekends! I’ve always felt my healthiest when I’ve at “clean”.. no processed foods, less dairy, less bread and ALL the fruits, vegetables and lean protein. My dad always says, “You are what you eat,” and as much as I’d like to be a bag of potato chips, an avocado will probably give me more wedding day energy!
GET OUT OF YOUR OFFICE
Three words: car di yoooo. Let’s face it: weddings are EXHAUSTING. Most people think the wedding photographer life is a chill one where we walk around a venue and snap a few photos, then spend the rest of the week riding our bikes, drinking mojitos on the porch, taking naps and waiting for the money to roll in. WRONG. The physical toll wedding days take on your body is intense! After squatting in weird, contorted positions for hours in order to get the right angle, laying on the ground riddled with rocks and hiking up the weirdest places in order to get the shot (not to mention being on your feet all day while lugging around 15 pounds of gear), let’s face it: a wedding day is straight up exhausting. As much as I hate running, I’ve found cardio to be a life saver during hectic wedding months! This season, I’ll be forcing myself to trail run at LEAST once a week. Yoga is also a great way to calm the mind and refocus on those super stressful days!
ALL THE WATER
This goes for during the week and ESPECIALLY on wedding days. Most of us know all the health benefits to drinking water often but sometimes it’s easier to grab a tea or soda. I get it, trust me. But replacing sugary drinks with life giving water will not only make you feel better during wedding days, but will reduce those dreaded wedding hangovers! I’ve also found that chugging water the day BEFORE a wedding will help that much more when it comes to the overwhelming feat of staying hydrated during a 10 hour wedding day.
LOSE THE BOOZE
Sometimes there’s nothing better after a long wedding day or 12 hour editing session than a glass of red or whisky ginger. While it seems like a good idea in the moment, sacrificing good sleep and energy levels for moderate drinking is only going to hinder us come wedding season! I know you’ve all seen my posts about Moscow Mules, red wine and Japanese whisky, so I’m going to be struggling right there with ya! However, after giving up alcohol for just two weeks (a few drinks a week), I’ve already seen the difference in my sleep patterns and energy levels. Accountability time: I’m attempting to go alcohol free until this November, so let me know if anyone wants to join in on a booze-free fall!
Most of us do our best to get good nutrition from the food we eat. But sometimes, we need a little boost! Taking a daily raw food nutrition supplement might give your body the extra push of energy it needs to survive wedding season! Not to mention, being sick isn’t even allowed in our occupation, so Vitamin C HAS to come in clutch! I also recommend trying out a probiotic if you haven’t already! Of course, ALWAYS consult your doctor before making any dietary or supplement changes (I’m probably legally supposed to say this, HA!), but a daily probiotic has done WONDERS for my tummy health!
YOU SNOOZE, YOU.. WIN
I know you’re thinking, “but what about all those 3a editing sessions?” I love me a good late-night editing session as much as the next guy, but doing your best to set a regular sleep schedule will help you out in a million ways, come wedding season! Weekends and travel are tough, I feel you. But doing everything you can to prioritize good sleep for your health will have you refreshed and ready to rock on wedding day.
SET A SCHEDULE
This will forever be a struggle for me (just ask my husband), but I’m working on it! Having SET work hours and shutting down your brain afterwards will help with stress and allow you to have somewhat of a work/life balance during wedding season (or so I’ve heard lolz). I’m still the person who is thinking of new ideas for my business while I’m trying to fall asleep at night, but I’m working on having more of a 9-5 mentality when it comes to editing + emails + everything else I do for my business. I think this is a good goal for both your business, your own sanity, as well as your relationships!
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
I heard this advice from a fellow wedding photographer last year (Chelsey Somohano – check her out!) and it’s one of the best things I did for myself this wedding season. After wedding weekends, I take one day OFF. Because most of my weddings are on Saturdays and we’re traveling on Sundays, I give myself Mondays off. My first year, I was working 6, sometimes 7 days a week because I thought I had to jump right in on Monday to start editing the last weekend’s wedding. Nope! It’s OK to give yourself time off. Time for you. Time for you family. On Mondays, I don’t allow myself to do any work, with exception to responding to client emails for a few minutes in the morning. After that, it’s a ME day. I catch up on dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, bills.. and the rest of the day I do whatever I feel like. Sometimes it’s a trail run, sometimes it’s thrifting and sometimes it’s watching reruns of The Office for 5 hours straight. And I don’t feel guilty because I know I’m scheduled to have that Monday off! On Tuesday, I’ve had time to refresh and I’m ready to dive in for the week. I can’t tell you how amazing this has been for my overall sanity. Maybe you have kiddos, 2 jobs or another situation that doesn’t allow for a full day off, but carving out some chunk of time for YOU every week is essential!
CUT THE DISTRACTIONS
Some of you may be thinking to yourselves, “Okay so.. weddings every weekend, taking Monday off, setting normal work hours.. how on earth do we actually get all that editing done?!” I was in your shoes last year. Not saying I have it all figured out (because I DEFINITELY don’t), but it’s 100% doable. You don’t have to spend every night working until 3a in order to deliver a wedding if you cut some distractions out of your editing time. I know some of you might be traveling 24/7 or have other reasons why you need to edit at 3a, and that’s totally cool! Do what works for you. But I’ve found in my own workflow that I check Facebook and Instagram a lot. I mean, a LOT. If I don’t catch myself, I can spend an entire day mindless scrolling and all the while thinking I’m doing it “for my business.” Nope. Sorry. Spending an entire day looking through Facebook groups and scrolling through Instagram is not going to help you get those edits out to your clients any sooner (I’m preaching to myself, here). I sometimes have to physically shut my phone off in order to stay on task. It’s sad, but true. When I’m REALLY focused, I can get an entire wedding day edited in two days, sometimes one, whereas if I’m constantly being distracted with other “business things,” it can take over 2 full weeks. Of course there’s other things to be working on which is why most of us allot for at least 2 weeks for delivery time, but an efficient editing workflow IS possible, folks!
Probably the most important tip I can give you is ENJOY IT. While we sometimes find ourselves longing for those slow, winter months during the whirlwind of wedding season, remember that it’s likely we’ll already be looking forward to next wedding season after just a couple weeks of being slow!
I hope you guys found this helpful and I would LOVE to hear some of the tips you guys have for surviving wedding season! Let me know in the comments what you guys are doing to prepare because a prepared photographer is a happy photographer! Cheers!