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Monday, October 26, 2009

A Photographer's Wedding Kit

Most photographer's have a "kit" that they use whenever they go out to shoot - things mostly related to photography equipment: cameras, lenses, filters, extra camera batteries, a flash unit, lens hoods, cleaners, a tripod or monopod and other related things. None of this would be new the photographer.

For those who don't normally "do weddings", it's a good idea to have another kind of kit - the wedding kit.

Some of the things I've discovered that come in handy when you are shooting someone's big day aren't related to photography equipment at all, but are just as essential at times. Even one of these things than can turn you into "hero of the day".

Sunglasses: essential for shooting the wedding party outdoors on a sunny day. You need lots of sunglasses. Buy them at a dollar shop, and buy all the same kind - a dozen or more. Almost every recent wedding party we've done & seen has used sunglasses for a couple of the shots...but in a few, not everyone had their sunglasses with them. Besides that, when the couple wants shots in the full sun you'll get a lot of scrunched up faces without them. And anyways, they look cool (if you get the right kind).

Face powder and lipsticks: Yes, I know brides and bridesmaids all have their faces already done up very nicely, but the fact is on a warm day you'll get some whose faces are so shiny you'll have a tough time avoiding bright spots on their faces even without a flash. Three shades of facepowder (light, medium, dark) and three small (samples if you can get them) lipsticks in different shades come in handy for photo-shoot touch ups.

Small bottle of clear nailpolish: for a lot of uses, but mostly to stop stocking runs.

Wipes: handwipes in small packets. These are pretty much self-explanatory and very useful for wiping chocolate or dirt off children's faces before the photos.

Tide Pen or Small container of Powdered Oxyclean: also very handy and is generally put to use at almost every wedding. Accidents happen, so if you're prepared with an instant fix, the couple will remember you for life.

Pantyhose: packet of 3 pairs should do it, and a single packet of white ones. And for women, that one will be self-explanatory too. Stockings are generally not very hardy and it's easy to get a run or tear. The bride will thank you if she needs to make use of them.

Corsage pins and Safety Pins: put a few of each into a small container to add to your kit. There's gazillions of uses for these and a corsage pin won't come amiss if the Groom's boutineer needs extra support.

Sewing Kit: head to the dollar store and pick up a small sewing kit. These come with a few colours of thread (white, black, red, navy and yellow), a tiny pair of (useless) scissors, a few needles and a needle threader. Some have a few small buttons in them. If the one you get doesn't, buy a small card of shirt buttons. Also, discard the flaky scissors and buy a small pair of folding scissors that will actually cut something, like thread. You can usually get them at the dollar shop too. And yes, you can probably imagine the uses this will be put to.

A Small First Aid Kit : everyone should have one of these in their cars, but not everyone does. Put together some bandaids, a small bottle of saline (comes in a squeeze bottle) for cleaning, a small tube of antibiotic ointment, some aspirin/advil/tylenol, a couple of packets of alkaselter or tums, a packet of tic-tacs (not medical, but handy), and if you can your hands on an epi-pen that would be great too.

Tape: duct tape and scotch tape, for all kinds of things.

I suppose if you wanted to, you could put tons of things into a kit like this, and as you get experience with weddings you'll find yourself adding things to your kit you would never have thought of...until you needed it.

I can hear a lot of you thinking..."but this is not the job of the photographer, is it?" Generally, no it's not. But the photographer's job is to produce beautiful pictures of the wedding day, and no matter how great your pictures are, if the bride has a blob of dirt on her dress, or her maid of honour has a shiny face, or the groom's missing a couple of buttons, the bride is not going to be a happy camper when she looks at her photos. It's not your fault any of that happened, but if it takes nothing more than being prepared to keep the day joyful, your photos are going to be the best thing the couple ever saw.

Whether you do a kit or not is up to you of course, but remember that word of mouth advertising is far more effective than any other advertising campaign you can dream up. Wouldn't you love the bride to tell her friends how great you were, or that you're the best photographer in the world because you were prepared for everything?

Anyway, that's some thoughts and tips from a photographer who really doesn't want to do weddings, but will when pushed.


First Aid Kit: wallyir @ morguefile

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