The Wedding Photography Zone
About to Shoot a Wedding? Take a Chill Pill!
It’s a State of Mind! Wedding Photography and Getting in the wedding zone.
This article was inspired by something my brother said to me as I headed off for Italy this year. I was about to shoot a destination wedding. When I explained that I was a little nervous and felt out of my comfort zone, he said…
"Don’t worry, once you get there you will really be in the zone man!"
A little "tongue in cheek" maybe but I understood totally what he meant, especially on my return. Seven days in Tuscany, on my own with nothing to do other than think about and experiment with my photography. In a totally new and beautiful place. That certainly put me firmly in the wedding photography zone!
So what exactly is "the zone"?
Well, anyone who has shot even just one wedding will understand the necessity to have your wits about you at all times. The zone is a place you really want to be from the minute you wake up on the wedding day to the moment you pack up your gear and go home.
The wedding photography zone is a place where nothing else matters other than the task in hand. All minor problems cease to exist and you are focussed 100% on being a professional photographer. Stepping out of this zone during the day can mean the difference between getting great shots and just snapshots.
So how do I get into the Wedding Photography Zone?
For me it starts the night before the wedding. I have already done all the preparation work and know where I have to be and when I have to be there.
I lay out and clean every single piece of kit that I have. Not only to clean it but to re-familiarise myself with it. Sounds strange but it keeps my brain on top of what gear I have available to me throughout the day. Even if I used it a couple of days before.
After that, I sometimes go online and scan some favourite photographer’s portfolios. Not so much to steal any ideas but to remind myself of what makes a great wedding shoot. Also to get inspiration for some different shots. I also look through some of my favourite images from weddings I have photographed with a similar theme to the upcoming shoot.
From this point onwards I try to think of nothing else but the wedding, or simply forget it all and relax. All other things in my life, unless really serious, remain shoved aside for a while. The next and most important thing of all is to get a good night’s sleep!
Remember to sleep!
It has been proven by the Harvard Medical School that lack of sleep is the biggest contributing factor to a person over-reacting to negative experiences. This can greatly affect how you shoot the wedding. Your mood is generally tested extensively during most weddings…by stress! More info here: The Effects Of Lack of Sleep
So, I get up early in the morning after a great night, and do a final check of my gear before packing it all up. Having back-ups of everything helps to calm my mind should any "nastiness" happen during the day. All the while I am thinking "weddings".
It is strange but sometimes the kids are playing up and screaming the house down. Sometimes I have some crappy things I need to sort out "mañana" or sometimes I have a really bad cold. However, as soon as I get in the car and head for the venue, I feel like I am in the good old zone!
If you are shooting weddings as a newbie, try and get yourself a routine that you go through before every wedding you shoot. That should get you in your comfort zone if nothing else.