Oh, friends — how incredibly lucky are we to have jobs that let us capture the *best* days of people’s lives as wedding photographers? There’s just nothing better than to be entrusted with such an important life and a day, you know? The. Best.
But, also… wedding days as a photographer can be *pretty* stressful.
See, usually wedding days start early and end late, and there are a billion I’s to dot and T’s to cross before the clock strikes midnight. Combine that with making sure you get everything you need to present beautiful photos to the couple after the fact, and… oof.
Look — I get it. I understand how stressful wedding days can be as a photographer, and I’ve shot countless weddings where I’ve felt keyed up and anxious to get everything done. However, when I realized that I owed both the couple AND myself something better, a lot changed for me.
How can I help to manage wedding day stress as a photographer?
There’s nothing wrong with being stressed. It’s part of life. But, the couple that hired you expects you to be able to manage that stress — and your own nervous system needs you to manage that, too. Instead of letting the mental clutter overshadow everything else, continually come back to the fact that you love this work you do. Let that push you forward. Let that help you create your very best work.
See, here’s the thing about weddings: they can be really overwhelming for the couple themselves. As a photographer, understanding that — and working really hard to help the bride stay calm — can be a big part of the day in general. You don’t want to add to that stress yourself, and that’s why you have to consistently find ways to ground yourself and stay level-headed.
My Tips for Staying Calm (& in Flow) On Busy Wedding Days
Luckily, I have you covered (as always) with some of the things that I really focus on to make weddings more enjoyable than stressful. From pre-shoot prep work all the way to day-of grounding techniques, take one — or all! — of these and implement them into your next wedding week.
- Planning shoots in advance, and having killer communication skills.
The prep work that goes into a wedding can completely define the wedding day itself — which is why it’s *so* incredibly important to plan accordingly. There are a ton of ways that you can do this effectively in your own business, but there are two main steps we follow here at Almond Leaf Studios: building a pre-wedding workflow and developing day-of timelines.
By implementing workflows into your business, you can really trust that everything is done when it needs to be. You can also build in steps that ensure you’re staying connected and communicative with everyone from the couple themselves to the other wedding vendors you’ll be working alongside. When you combine that workflow with a day-of timeline and pass it around to everyone who needs it, you’re essentially guaranteeing that the day is going to be a *lot* less stressful than it could have been.
2. Having people around you that you trust.
I could talk about the joy and the relief that having a team has brought me every single day — because that team (and the trust I have in them) is exactly how I make things like busy wedding seasons happen without a panic attack.
Now, I understand that not everyone is in a place to hire a team, and that’s okay. However, make it a serious point to surround yourself on wedding days with people that can help you and manage some responsibility, whether it’s your best friend or a contract second shooter. Simply being able to bounce ideas (and anxiety) off of someone else on the wedding day is so incredibly valuable, and you’ll really see a massive difference in your stress levels when you do this.
3. Staying flexible (and prepping for that flexibility pre-shoot).
I have a question for you: have you ever, ever shot a wedding or an event that went exactly the way it was supposed to, from beginning to end? I’d bet not (I certainly haven’t), because that’s just the way life goes. If you can lean into that before a wedding day, you can subconsciously lower expectations and, in turn, your stress levels.
I know this is easier said than done, though — which is why I have a few tips to make it easier for you. First up, add buffers in your day-of wedding schedule… even if you think you might not need them. Things on wedding days almost always take longer than you’d originally expect, and adding a time buffer for things like morning mimosa consumption and a mother-of-the-groom stuck in traffic just makes sense. Next, keep in mind your necessities and your wants on your shot list. Focus on those necessary shots first, and then go in if time permits for the pretty little extras.
4. Calming your nervous system with techniques that work for you.
I genuinely, genuinely don’t think that there’s anything more important as a human being — and as a photographer — than having techniques and practices to pull from that can quell your anxiety and keep you grounded. When you have a toolbox of practices that you know bring you back to earth and keep you aligned with your own heart, you can consistently go back to them… especially for wedding day stress.
And, the best thing about these practices? That they are YOURS. Lately, the practices I’ve been consistently leaning into have been meditation and EFT (tapping), and I’d recommend them to anyone. However, it’s all about what works for you. For instance, maybe your biggest grounding practice is blaring old-school Britney Spears in your car speakers and driving down a backroad. Maybe it’s taking a sweaty yoga class. Maybe it’s simply learning to breathe deeply and find your own center. Once you have found those practices, you can start to integrate them into your daily life and, in turn, to your wedding shoot days (i.e., sneaking away to the bathroom for a yoga flow (yes, really!), blaring music on the way to your shoots, or simply taking deep breaths).
Now, I want to remind you of something: you didn’t just start shooting weddings randomly, just like you didn’t find (and read) this blog post randomly. You were meant to do this, and I truly believe that. When you can really believe that, too, everything will change. I’m here for you, and know you have this.
In the meantime, I’d love to have you join my newest course, Finding Peace & Profit. Inside, we’ll dive deep into strategies like the ones we talked about today and then connect them into a restful, profitable business that doesn’t really *ever* bring you stress. Find out more here.