Blog Post by Kayla
From the weddings Erika and I have photographed, we find ourselves ensuring we have our things of must haves packed before we leave to photograph a wedding – our “necessity kit”. In this blog post, I wanted to focus primarily on our necessities that help make the wedding we’re photographing run as smoothly and stress-free as possible. We of course have our camera bodies, lenses and flashes, and I’ll cover what our camera bags entail in another blog post, so stay tuned for that!
A Battery Bag: Our flashes require AA batteries. To ensure we have plenty for the day, we purchase a large pack from Sam’s Club. For easier transportation, we throw all of the new batteries in a medium-sized wrist bag. We have found that carrying a wrist bag is much easier than lugging around the large package it comes in. We’ve had some incidents prior to the wrist bag where we opened the pack to grab a few batteries and all of the 20+ batteries spilled all over the place. The wrist bag we use was actually a free gift when I purchased a certain amount of items from a make-up store. I’m almost positive, you can also find one of these bags at Target or Walmart.
Wedding Day Questionnaire: Several months before our client’s big day, we send them an online questionnaire to help us prepare a photography timeline. One question we request is a list of the family combinations they want for family portraits. We have found that having a list and being able to call family members by name has led to a more organized and quicker family portrait session.
Pen: I know this sounds very simple, but there have been times when we didn’t have a pen and we lost our “cool”. The pen comes in handy when shooting several family combinations. Some families are very large, which leads to several different portraits with the bride and groom. To have the ability to mark off the combinations you have already completed will make a huge difference in staying organized.
Depending on the photography schedule, there are incidents when Erika and I had to separate (one capturing the bride’s preparation, while the other is taking formal portraits). In this case, we may be in different locations, driving distances away. When this occurs, it’s always nice to have our cell phones to update each other, as well as the family and wedding party on whether the bride or groom is on time or running a little behind schedule. Ensure to put your phone on silent prior to the ceremony
Bubba Mug: This mug is a lifesaver on those really hot, humid days! I think the Bubba Mug is more practical than a water bottle as it holds a large amount of water, has a handle and is well insulated. I assure you, my water is still cold after 6 hours of work.
Snacks: A must have! We usually throw a couple of granola bars and munchies in a bag for those weddings where we may not have a chance to eat lunch, or when there are several hours before the reception and we need a quick pick-me-up.
Sunscreen: I have very fair skin and burn easily; Erika on the other hand gets the most beautiful tans. So, I always have to bring my sunscreen.
A Wrist Watch: It’s very important to stay on schedule with photographs. If you’re late, you may push back the entire reception time and may make the guests wait longer than expected. So, Erika wears a wrist watch to help keep us on schedule.
Lens hoods: We didn’t understand the importance of lens hoods until a short while ago. Lens hoods act as a visor to help block the harsh sun light.
Reflectors: The reflectors we use are the Westcott 4 in 1 reflector and illuminator. These come in handy if you are shooting your bride and groom under a tree and have “spotty light” from the sun peeking through the leaves. We use our reflectors to block out the spotty light or sometimes use in the direct sunlight.
White Sheet: We always have a white bed sheet in the back of our car in case of emergencies. I know you’re thinking, why on Earth would a white bed sheet be in their Necessity Kit?! Well, it serves two purposes, the first is if the bride and groom ride in your car. I lay the sheet on the seat cushion to prevent from the wedding dress getting dirty. Secondly, we like to shoot some poses of the bride and groom either laying or sitting in the grass. In case the grass is wet, we lay the sheet on the ground for the bride to sit on to also prevent from the dress getting dirty.
Money: Some receptions may not have an open bar, so it’s nice to carry cash if you are in need of a caffeine boost throughout the night (for clarification – soda or tea only – we do not drink alcohol on the job).
Business Cards: Business cards are a must! Weddings are a great way to get potential clients. Usually, guest’s from the wedding will approach you requesting your information. Also, I always give my card to the DJ or entertainment. I think it’s another way to expand your network by exchanging information. You never know, a potential bride or groom may ask the DJ for a recommendation for photographers.