If you’re a wedding photographer, you know exactly what I’m talking about: you’ve spent the entire day before on your feet, running around photographing a gorgeous wedding day, and then morning comes. You open your eyes, wondering why on earth your spine feels like you slept with a barbell on your back. Sitting up, rubbing your bleary, sleepy eyes, you find that there’s a dull throbbing coming from your brain. And then, as you swing your legs over the side of the bed and stand up, the soles of your feet cry out in protest as pain shoots up your calves.
We’ve all been there, amIright? You know I am.
Over the past three-four years of shooting weddings, I’ve found recipes for assured success, and recipes for undoubted disaster. In order to avoid feeling like you played a football game with a bunch of 350-lb linebackers the morning after a wedding, I suggest considering some of the following tips:
1) Hydrate. Yep, super simple, but so helpful! This past year Matt started packing ice-filled coolers for me to bring to weddings, stocked with several Gatorades and several water bottles. Part of my second shooter’s job throughout the day is to run back to the car to grab liquids for us both so that we’re both making sure to stay hydrated.
2) Make sure you eat! Also in that cooler that Matt packs are several Luna bars. I typically eat two of those throughout the day in addition to dinner during the reception. Typically I begin shooting around 12 or 1 in the afternoon, and if I’ve left my house an hour or two prior to that, I most likely didn’t eat lunch. In order to stay on my game, I have to have SOMETHING in my stomach. Avoid the hangries at all costs.
3) Footwear matters! Rule of thumb that’s absolutely essential in finding proper wedding day footwear: if it’s even slightly uncomfortable in the store, it’s going to be downright painful by the time the ceremony rolls around. I’ve plunked down a lot of money over the years on footwear and the best thing I can tell you is DO NOT SKIMP on cheap shoes- you’ll end up replacing them multiple times over the course of wedding season!
3b) Change shoes after the reception gets started. I typically start in a low wedge and will wear those through the ceremony + family formals, but as soon as the bride & groom have made their entrance into the reception, I switch to flats. Last year, that was a pair of neutral gray TOMS, this year it’s a pair of nude suede flats from DSW. Whatever your fancy, this will absolutely save your feet from that end-of-wedding throb!
4) Pop some Ibuprofen when you get to the reception. My lower back tends to start hurting after a full day on my feet, often with my 5-10 lb camera bag on my shoulder. I usually take two Advil with dinner to allow me to enjoy shooting the rest of the reception without back pain.
5) Put your bag down while you’re shooting, if possible. That’s what kills my back, carrying 10lbs of equipment in a bag slung across one shoulder- the uneven distribution of weight through a 9-hour day? No thank you. I try to put my bag down during pretty much any opportunity, and if I can’t put it down, I take out anything I don’t immediately need to save myself the pain later on in the day.
6) If you’re starting to feel sleepy, grab some coffee after the cake is cut and served! It’s just a little pick-me-up for that last hour or two of dancing and can put some pep back in your step :).
I’d love to hear your tricks to avoiding feeling like you were hit by a Mack truck the day after a wedding! Care to share?