Inside a Wedding Photographer's Brain (as told in Parks n Rec Gifs): The Wedding Day

Meme Monday has come to the blog, friends! And it brought along its friend: the gif.

Alright so, the wedding day. I could totally put on a social media front and say every part of the day is amazing and we love it and yes. But no. Not every part of the day is 100% all the time. So I decided to bring some serious truth to things that happen to a photographer throughout the day. It may not happen to us all, but some of my wedding days have definitely looked like the following:

1. getting ready to leave: we wake up super pumped! Unless we're super nervous, tired or just plain feeling off. It happens. But more often than not, I'm super pumped and excited to see my couple!

2. big breakfast: lunch rarely happens on wedding days, so breakfast is super important. Chances are, we won't be eating another meal until about 8PM, so snacks are vital and a big breakfast is just what your mother called it: the most important meal of the day. I hate breakfast. It's not the food that I don't like, it's the fact that it's early in the morning and stuffing my face is just something my stomach does not appreciate at that time of the day. 

3. driving there: this is my pump up time. I listen to jams that are going to amp me up. Usually it's a mix of music I listened to in high school and college. Similarly to people listing to epic music while working out, this is my time to get in the zone and feel the energy. Unless that is I'm yelling at my gps or miss my exit. 

4. starbucks stop: this is super important. I don't drink coffee, but I still need caffeine to survive wedding days. Get your fix now friends, because the rest of the day does not allow for coffee breaks. 

5. walking in: any fears or nerves; leave them in your car. It's time to walk in and own your shit. You are the professional. People are going to ask your opinion all day; they are going to be relying on you to know your craft. Take a deep breath and walk in. It's time to work. 

6. shooting details: details is one of my favorite parts of the day. It's styling every little piece that the bride worked on, hoping they would come together for this beautiful flat lay. OK, maybe brides don't think that way, but I do! I love shooting details and getting ready. It's when the anticipation in the room is so strong, the excitement is bursting and I get to witness it all. 

7. first look: one of the most emotional parts of the day for me. I don't pose or force first looks. I like them to happen naturally so I can truly capture the moment. It's always emotional and I love watching them...I mean photographing them. Even if the couple doesn't have a first look, there is usually one with a parent or the bridesmaids! 

8. formals: My lovely formals. I freaking love this part of the day. It's when I get to make art. It's when I get to capture the personalities and love between the couple. It's amazing. But you know what's not amazing? The way my body feels after I'm done with them. I'm not even conscious of the positions I put my body in during formals. I can only guess why the lower left part of my back muscle is sore. I have no clue. But I know it's always worth it and that epsom salt is my best friend. 

9. ceremony: I spent some time figuring out what this should be. I finally landed here. This gif is perfect. It's avoidance at it's finest. Do you know what we try to avoid during ceremonies? Getting yelled at by the church staff. A lot of churches have many rules for where photographers can and can't be. Each church is a little different, but many of them have the same overarching rules that are easy to follow. It's those other little rules that we need to make sure we follow. A lot of the times, I'm making sure I'm staying clear! We also need to make sure we're avoiding getting in the videographer's shot. So let's just ceremonies=avoidance. 

bonus: party bus: After ceremony and on the way to the venue, there is sometimes food passed around on the bus. THIS. IS. EVERYTHING. My couple's treat me like gold and almost always offer me food (never expected, but much appreciated). I feel included and loved and my stomach thanks you. 

10. cocktail hour: pee time: hey guess what. We haven't peed since before we left our house. Maybe we peed at the hotel when you were getting ready, but chances are, we really need to pee. Cocktail hour is that lovely time for us to finally pee. Thank you sweet baby Jesus. 

11. speeches: Speeches can be amazingly fun or they can be super awkward. Either way, I'm capturing all the reactions. Sometimes, the best man pulls out that one joke that they agreed they would go to the grave with. Sometimes, dad says something about his first impression of the groom that is unexpected. Either way, you get to hear some pretty funny things about the couple. 

12. vendor meals: give me all the food. I don't care what it is, I just need food. My couples always feed me well and I literally count down the minutes until that meal is in front of me. Usually, it is scarfed down in 5 minutes in case anything happens that requires a photo, but I thoroughly enjoy this mental break of stuffing my face. 

13. first dances: First dances are so sweet. You can truly see the couple in the way they do their first dance. Some choreograph it, some do an upbeat jive and others keep it classic. But I love watching this and photographing it. If there is a daddy/daughter dance, you can bet I'm crying behind my camera. 

14. open dance: it's time to party. There's two reasons I'm excited for open dance. The first is that I get to get creative with my dance floor shots. Lighting and angles and making sure I really get that one drunk friend from college who is attempting the splits. The second being that my time for bed is drawing near. Because guys, by this point in the day, I'm dead tired. 

15. saying goodbye: About 15 minutes before coverage is due to end, I check in with my couple to make sure there are no lingering photos they still want. If not, I begin to pack up and get all of equipment put away. When it's time to say goodbye, I always give hugs and feel like I'm saying see ya to amazing best friends. Most often, my couples are super sad that the part of the day where I'm LEAVING has already come. And of course, I'm leaving so that's sad in itself. 

16. driving home: when I'm driving home is when the physical part of the day hits me. I'm likely sitting for the first time all day and it all hits me at once. Everything hurts and I'm dying. I've worked retail, I've worked jobs where I've been on my feet all day, but there's nothing quite like the wedding hangover for a vendor. 

17. getting home: My body is no longer functioning like it should. I'm 90 years old trying to walk up the stairs to my office. My body cracks when I lift my arms over my body. This is the end. 

18. file unload: I've managed to make it to my desk. Somehow, my eyes are still open. Must. Backup. Images. Listen friends, I don't go to bed until your files are backed up in more places than one. And despite my exhaustion, there is a part of me that still is so excited to show you a sneak peek because that one shot I took at 2:18pm is burning in my mind as THE. ONE. I need to show you ASAP Rocky. 

19. sneak peek: It's edited. The one file that I needed to show you. I post sneak peeks either that night of the wedding (If i can manage to) or the next morning. And let me tell you, I live for that little heart eye emoji you send me when you see it. 

20. bed: oh holy bed. Your bed has never felt better than after a full wedding day. Bet. Despite how tired I am though, it usually takes me a bit of time to fall asleep, so binging my Netflix show until my eyes can no longer stay open is usually how my wedding days end. 

On that note, I leave you. This is only the first installation of me describing the life of a wedding photographer using gifs and/or memes. Each story I tell will be in different themed memes. So far, I'm planning Bravo-lebritites, The Bachelor and Keeping up with the Kardashians, but if you have any suggestions or themes you want to see, holler at me. Until the next time....


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