I have been so fortunate and blessed that this first pregnancy’s due date fell during a time that I had a break from weddings. It also meant that while I was six months pregnant I was scheduled to shoot two weddings and while seven months pregnant, five weddings. Weddings are physically demanding when you’re not carrying around a big ol belly, so I knew going into the first half of this year’s wedding season that I was going to have to figure out a way to care for myself while also still serving my clients in the best possible ways. I had gone into this season with questions about the best way to do that and so I figured there are other wedding photographers who have the same questions I did. So I’m sharing with you my 7 tips for photographing a wedding pregnant!
1. Bring additional help
For most of us, it’s standard practice to bring along a second photographer to every wedding. It allows us to get those additional angles and “be in two places at once”. If this isn’t one of your practices, I would recommend that you add it for any weddings your shooting while pregnant. This will give you assurance that if something happens (or you just can’t hold your bladder any longer) while you’re at the wedding, you can step aside and the moments will continue to be captured. However, my biggest piece for those of us who do always bring along a second is to also bring along an assitant!
Your assistant’s sole responsibility and job during these weddings is to carry all the extra gear, lift the heavy stuff, move things you shouldn’t be moving, bending where you can’t bend and most importantly reminding you to drink water!! I’ll talk about the water thing a little bit later…but this person is there for you!
For example, on a wedding day I normally carry my two cameras on a holster and then carry my shoot sac packed with extra lenses, batteries, memory cards, and all the other extra little things you need. However, my assistant carried my shoot sac. This help eleviate some of the weight I was carrying around, which significantly helped my shoulders, hips, back and feet last the 8 plus hour day.
I wouldn’t have survived these weddings without my amazing assistants! Thanks girls 😀
2. Communicate with Vendors Beforehand, especially planners
Obviously, as soon as you hit second trimester, before you announced on social media you called your brides who would be affected by the pregnancy and informed them. Filled them in about your plan of attack and gave them confidence in you and your ability to be there for them while also growing a human. But what about the vendors you’ll be working with alongside during the day.
Once you get the list of vendors from the couple, send over an email introducing yourself. Share how excited you are to work with them on this wedding and that you wanted to let them know ahead of time that you will be X weeks pregnant on the wedding day and as a result you’ll have a team of three with you. Of course the caterers need to know that there will be three of you for obvious reasons. But the other vendors (planners, videographers, DJs, etc.) who you’ll be working one on one with throughout the day should also go into the day having confidence in your ability to still fully serve their client (cause they care just as much about them as you do) and understand your occasional need for a break, especially if you aren’t obviously showing quite yet. You don’t want the other vendors seeing you taking breaks, eating snacks, and thinking that you’re slacking off when in reality your body and your baby needs it. If they know ahead of time, they don’t have to wonder and they won’t be judging you. I actually found, instead, they supported these breaks and encourage me to take them and check in on me.
3. Find good supportive shoes
I feel like this is pretty self explanatory and probably a well duh, I’ve already been searching for that! But let me give you the best recommendation ever. I got the recommendation from Susan Lim with Susan Lim Makeup Artist, she’s also pregnant and told me about these clouds for your feet and was not wrong.
Honestly, I’m still trying to find a way that I can reason to wear these to weddings even in the fall when I’m no longer pregnant. They’re that comfortable. They supported me and my feet didn’t kill me by the end of the day after being on them for 8 plus hours. It’s also helpful that they’re pull ons and don’t require being tied. So when the belly’s big and bending to tie your shoes isn’t really feasible anymore, you can try to at least slip them on. They’re also really cute and fancy enough sneakers for rocking at a wedding.
4. Purchase and wear supportive maternity pants or a belly band
I was lucky enough while shooting these weddings that my belly was on the smaller side and so the weight of it didn’t bother my back tremendously. I just purchased a pair of maternity leggings from Target (that I absolutely love and am still wearing on a regular basis) and wore those under and long loose top. However, I had purchased myself a Blanqi support top to serve as support for my belly if I felt the need for the extra lift and support. When I never used the top, I simply returned it but it was comforting knowing that if after shooting a wedding without it and I felt the need for the additional support, that I had the option to use it.
5. Drink Water
Ok, we all know this is a must. If you’ve been to the OB you know how much they push this mentality. Every single visit I had they reminded me, drink your water. We want you consuming at least 80 oz of water every day, more if possible. So that’s what I’ve been doing this whole pregnancy – drinking about 100 oz of water every day.
However, I don’t know about you guys but when I’m shooting a wedding normally I drink water at dinner and that’s about it. I get so distracted with the job and the running and going that I forget and most weddings I don’t even have a water bottle with me. When I shot Sam and Shawn’s wedding, the first wedding, I barely drank water. I had some sips here and there but wasn’t super focused on it. At 2am I woke up with the WORST charlie horse of my entire life. I couldn’t stretch my foot out my calf was so tight. I even woke the hubby up from my thrashing around in pain, he was able to help me stretch it out and then told me to walk around and get a massive bottle of water and banana. So at 2:15am I was up, walking around the kitchen while drinking a good 24 oz bottle of water and downing that banana.
Every wedding after that I made sure that my assistant knew from the start of the day that they needed to be on me about my water consumption and that by the end of the wedding night I needed to have consumed 5 of my 24 oz water bottles and that they needed to remind me and also get it filled when it was out. Fortunately I have the best assistants and they were on me about it and I didn’t have any other problems.
I found this awesome water bottle – Hydro Flask – it fits perfectly into the shoot sac, keeps water cold (I had room temp water) and it seals nice and tight so I don’t have to worry about it leaking into my shoot sac.
Here’s Emma rocking the assistant job – carrying my shoot sac and you can if you look closely see the Hydro Flask in the front pocket, that little bit of blue. This girl was ON TOP of me about my water in take and I needed it cause she was my assistant for my last wedding of the month (5 weddings in 4 weekends – my body was spent!).
6. Bring snacks
This was something I learned at the very first wedding I shot of the year, I was second shooting for Ann of Anny Photography and I didn’t bring snacks because I never bring snacks to a wedding and so I didn’t think to do it. I quickly realized that I was desperately missing the snacks. I was absolutely starving, something I’m normally able to ignore on a wedding day but when you’re growing a human you shouldn’t be ignorning hunger. Especially when that means that your blood sugar drops and you start to get light headed. Fortunately, the venue had out some nuts and dried fruit, so Ann and the bride told me I needed to eat. So I grabbed a few handfuls and snacked on those which significantly helped and held me over until dinner a few hours later.
At every wedding there after, I made sure to pack a cooler of quick and easy snacks. Things like Boom Chicka Pop Kettle Corn (guys this stuff is amazing!), bananas, and granola bars. I didn’t need alot during the day, but having it there when the hunger took over was so vitally important to being able to care for myself, baby and my clients. I’m not helpful to my clients on their wedding day if I pass out.
7. Take Breaks
This was a tough one for me, I’ll be honest. I struggle with the idea of taking a seat during a wedding day. I feel like I should be constantly moving and going and shooting. But without breaks and even as amazing as the sneakers are, I found that my feet and back got sore. But with a few five minute breaks here and there built in, I was able to relieve some of the weight and pressure off my feet and back. Which then allowed me to work longer and be more productive as the night went on.
Ok this isn’t a break, this is me styling details but it’s the closest thing to a photo of me “taking a break” haha.
My biggest piece of advice, is Don’t Feel Guilty for taking care of you and baby!
By taking the time to do so, you will be able to care for your clients better!! Hopefully these 7 Tips For Photographing a Wedding Pregnant were beneficial and will help you avoid some my mistakes (hello charlie horse!). Let me know if there’s something you learned that you think I missed and needs to be added.
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