Untying The Knot: 5 Steps To Stay Stress Free During A Wedding
Stress hampering your creativity? Here’s how you can bust it and remain stress-free during a wedding shoot!
If one were to put together a list of factors that stress out wedding photographers and cause them to lose sleep, it would be endless. But the bottom line? Most of it stems from the fact that, unlike other genres of photography, the environment and events at a wedding are not under the photographer’s control. From unexpected and unreasonable demands by clients to the delays that are a staple of almost all Indian weddings; from the loss of control when you are running on someone else’s time to unfamiliarity with certain customs (given the diversity within Indian weddings) that can cause you to miss crucial moments; from equipment failure or damage to the fact that there are no retakes when the pandit is spouting off mantras faster than your shutter speed. The reasons are innumerable but the methods to combat them are, thankfully, as many.
The one common thread that runs through it all is, of course, planning and preparation. Lots of it. The old adage of “better safe than sorry” will hold you in good stead – it is much more preferable to fix-it measures later.
Cock-a-doodle-doo, early morning from me to you
Given that Indian weddings are generally a hectic affair, last minute arrivals will give you less time to process your surroundings fully and familiarise yourself with the family members and schedule of events, leaving you rushed, tired and unprepared. Ensuring that you reach a day in advance for an out-of-city wedding to familiarise yourself with the venue, find the best spots for portraits, meet the family and revise the schedule is always a good idea. It gives you ample time to wake up refreshed on shoot day and ease into a creative space and the mindset to shoot – fatigue and stress-free.
Indian weddings are generally highly prone to delays, change in schedules, last minute additions to the rituals and many such occurrences. Despite advance prep and extensive discussions regarding the schedule and the flow of events, there are bound to be a few surprises. Keeping in mind the fact that the two people in the thick of things, the bride and the groom, will be too busy to give you the time of the day, it’s imperative that you choose one person (a close friend or sibling) from either side to communicate with – these two should you be your best buddies for the duration of the wedding. You should be the first to know if there are delays or any changes in the flow of events, courtesy your new and temporary best-buds! They can really help you to minimise faux pas and exasperation caused by simple miscommunication or lost information.
Clarity Avoids Commotion
It’s a well accepted fact amongst wedding photographers that a little bit of exclusive time dedicated to portraits or concept shots can go a long way in making fabulous photographs and memories from the wedding. But the generally delayed flow of events in typical Indian weddings is known to encroach upon that time frame regularly, forcing you squeeze a 20-minute bridal portrait session in 5. This happens despite the fact that you have probably set the expectations in pre-production meetings. In such cases, it is imperative to keep the line of communication open with the couple and give them a reality check and adjust the expectations. They should be told politely and firmly that in such a time crunch, you will do your professional duty to deliver high quality photos but for your special brand of magical photos, you need a little dedicated time. You need to stand your ground and ensure that the couple gives you the time you need to make photographs that stand the test of time and that the couple will cherish for the rest of their lives.
As wedding photographers, none of you need to be reminded about the heartache or stress that can be caused by equipment malfunction, damage or even loss in the middle of a packed wedding day. Back-up bodies+lenses and extra memory cards as well as batteries in your kit can go a long way in building redundancy. It’s a useful practice to familiarise yourself, in advance and before an actual mishap, with equipment rental services available in your shoot location – a service you have used before or one that comes highly recommended by your peers. Panic attacks and stress over a cracked lens or focus loss in the middle of a shoot can be avoided altogether if you have backup equipment in your kit or a good rental service on speed-dial.
Mark Twain was being sarcastic when he said, “All you need is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” Indian weddings are so diverse that it is not possible for any one photographer to know everything about all kinds of customs and rituals – you could miss out crucial moments and photographs simply because you were unprepared. It is highly recommended that you read up on the customs of the wedding in advance, have the couple or family walk you through the highlights and must-have moments and keep your eyes open all the time. Don’t forget, a wedding has no retakes and it will serve you well to be prepared and ready at the right moments – you will be able to capture the essence of the wedding with just a little bit of prep and attention. Wouldn’t you agree that that is a much more preferable outcome than making bloopers at the expense of the couples memories?
Plan-B – Pick yourself out of that pickle
Being prepared and planning well go a long way in smoothing out your path during a wedding shoot. But sometimes, despite all the pre-production, you are dealt an unexpected hand. When all else fails and you find yourself stressed, you have no choice but to de-stress. In that case, you need to find a way to go to your “zen place”.
Take a deep breath, put down your camera and remove yourself from the festivities for a few minutes and allow yourself to re-boot. Alternatively, if music is your thing, plug in your earphones and put on your favourite playlist to drown out the chaos and focus on your craft. Noise cancelling headphones are also a great way to go, if peace and quiet is what you need to be able to focus.
If none of these appeal to you, then join in the festivities for a few minutes by moonwalking your way to the dance-floor. Just make sure you don’t roll back the professionalism or go too far – after all, you are there to capture the couple’s big day and getting the best photographs of the wedding that you possibly can is the least you can do.
Cover Image Credit – Freepik.com