Second Photographer Tips: How to Get Ready to Photograph a Wedding

May 22

Clients are relying on us to take hundreds or thousands of photos at a wedding. So, we want the camera to be clean and at its best. And we want to get our ducks in a row before the wedding.

1. Clean the camera

The last thing I want is a headache photoshopping out dust in the image. On my first photography trip to Israel, I didn’t realize until I got home that every single image had splotches of dust due to a dirty sensor.

I like to use an air blower, blowing out any dust or particles on the lens, inside the camera body or sensor, and all glass of the lens that you see. When you are blowing out the lens, make sure the camera body is placed down on the table.

A camera shop told me the best lens cloth is an old t-shirt that’s 100% cotton. I cut up a shirt in large pieces, it’s awesome.

For the outside of the camera, you can also disinfect with an alcohol wipe.

How to Clean Your Camera (with great visuals)

2. Have extra camera cards, formatted.

This may sound obvious but just make sure camera cards are already formatted and ready for use in case you need one quick.

3. Review and print the wedding timeline.

Luckily when you second shoot with me, I will provide the timeline and any other details to you via email within a few days if not weeks before the wedding. On the timeline, it includes the time when we meet up.

4. Time synch all cameras.

Time sync your cameras to the second at TIME.GOV.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to synch it to the second!! Even if you think your camera is already time synched to your cell phone…

That means on your camera, set it ahead of time to a second that is coming up, and get ready to hit the “OK” or “SET” button to officially set it.

Please time synch your camera, in case I am not able to see you until later on that day. If we are meeting up before getting ready, then I may most likely do a time synch with you any when we meet up before the wedding.

If you’re not sure how to change the time on your camera, Google it or Youtube.

Yes I know in Photo Mechanic and Lightroom you can change the times. For me, I’d rather get it correct in the camera, in case I want to cull during dinner at the wedding.

5. Arrive on time.

Another obvious tip, but in the past several years, I really hate the experience of waiting for an assistant AFTER the time we were supposed to meet. Don’t wait until last minute until you leave your house. It’s happened before, and if you think you might need gas, food, or have tendency to run late, then please make extra effort to arrive early in case of any unexpected delays.

I prefer to add one extra hour to my travel time. So if my GPS says the destination is 1 hour away, I am going to leave 2 hours before my start time. This is a good tip for second photographers (especially if you are driving through bigger cities), but as a Lead/Primary photographer it is essential!

I’ve learned this by experience (stressing out in travel delays, and where I’ve arrived JUST on the nick of time) and wouldn’t want anyone in my team to experience time pressure before the wedding!

Other Things Photographers Do

Here are some other things that some photographers make a “ritual” to do. For me, I rub my feet with lavender & peppermint oil before putting my shoes on, take ibuprofen, and drink a great latte & pick up some food (Panera) before the wedding.

  • listening to positive or energizing music, or music that gets you in a good vibe
  • checking the air in your tires and the oil the night before
  • arrive to the area of the wedding early, and chill out at coffee shop or treat yourself to lunch, an awesome smoothie or coffee beforehand
  • taking ibuprofen to prevent sore muscles/joints
  • doing stretches upon arrival at the wedding

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