Wedding season has officially begun and after 16 years of photographing weddings, you learn a few things. Like how to create wedding timelines, and staging details. Even how to help your couples feel comfortable in front of the camera. As amazing as all of these things are, they don’t compare to learning how to survive a wedding season.
What most people don’t realize is how physically demanding it can be on your body. Being on your feet all day is hard enough in any industry. Add holding a camera at your face for 60% of your day along with carrying around a camera bag full of equipment and before you know it, you’ve completed a full body workout for oh….like…8 + hours. (13 on Indian wedding weekends…after 2-3 other days of shooting the pre-events…) Oh, and having a bad back doesn’t help much either.
Every Sunday I would feel like the walking dead…just without the walking part. I desperately wanted to do nothing other than lay around all day, drinking tons of water and eating ibuprofen like it was candy.
Even though I felt this way, I couldn’t do any of those things. In fact, it was the opposite. With the rest of my world on a M-F schedule, that meant I had to be ready for the week come Monday morning. If I didn’t then my the next was week chaotic.
Working hours on top of hours during the week to fulfill on time deliveries, then scrambling in the evenings made for stressful weeks that left my brain and my body fried. Something had to change.
While it’s taken a many, many wedding seasons dashed with trail & error after error, I have finally created a system that not only helps me survive wedding season, but one that helps my business and day to day life thrive.
Here’s how it all goes down:
I work closely with my couples during the planning process to create custom photography timelines and shot lists. Then I communicate with the rest of the creative team to ensure we are all on the same page so that they day can run as smooth as possible.
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I’ve learned so much on the technical side of photography over these last 5 years. It’s been a mission of mine to get it right in camera so I’m spending less time behind my computer.
I’ve also created workflows that streamline my in-house post processing to keep my clients happy. I’ve been able to adapt this to creating content to serve you too.
I’ve learned to say no and refuse to overcommitting our schedule. My kid doesn’t have to all the things. That’s just exhausting. We do 1 thing at a time so we have time to breathe.
Self care if vital to surviving anything. You all heard the saying, you can’t give from an empty cup and it’s true. While there is a lot that goes into self care like eating healthy, getting enough sleep and making time for myself, there is one self care item I have to have. Exercise. In 2007 I was involved in my second car accident, which left me with 4 screws and 2 pins in my lower back. When I work out I don’t have back issues. When I don’t work out, I do. Simple as that. I also see a medical message therapist once a month. I’ve been seeing her since 2008 and I pray she never gives up her biz.
Meal planning and prepping is HARD to start doing. It takes a while to get a system down but trust me when I say it’s so worth it. Knowing a head of time what I’m making for dinner and knowing I have everything I need to make that dinner takes a lot of pressure off the day to day life. Prepping, in my opinion, is a harder habit to create than planning your meals. I’ve learned that shopping on one day and prepping it all on another day makes it not feel so much like a chore.
Pinterest has been the most helpful tool in creating my meal planning. I’ll pin meals I like to make and have my own recipe for plus ones I need a recipe for. Then on meal-planning day (typically Fridays) I pull up my ‘dinner’ board and choose what meals work best with our schedule.
Between a husband’s career that evolves around a typical work week and mine that requires me to be away on weekends, we’ve learned to ask for help with taking care of our kiddo. Even though we don’t have our blood family near, we’ve created a family that we love and trust with helping us raise our boy.
Last but certainly not least, we schedule in breaks. You see, we can do this because we don’t over commit our schedule. Not only does this time keep us connected to our friends who are really family. More importantly, it helps us to recharge and take a break from reality. Even if just for a couple of hours between all the domestic-to-do’s.
There you have it my friends. When I first started to realize something needed to change…I assumed A LOT of things needed to change. In the end, this brought on more stress. I quickly realized that we needed less and focused on the things that will create an environment where we can thrive.
It’s crazy to think of how much less work I’m doing now because I’ve created efficient ways of doing it. My challenge to you is to take the time to recognize what’s helping you in life and what’s holding you back. Let it go and don’t look back. You’re not going that way anyway.
Okay friends, you made it to the end! I hope this inspires you to sit back and look at your day to day so you can make the changes to help you thrive.