The Kelly Moore Bag: my gorgeous sapphire blue bag that my sweetheart gave me for our 5th anniversary. It holds the gear that we need to bring with us, but also need to store in a corner of the room...hoods for a variety of lenses (I rarely shoot with hoods even in direct sunlight but I like to have them just in case)...battery rechargers of all types along with extra batteries. Extra lightbulbs and light umbrellas. Lens cleaning kits and microfiber cloths. Bottled water and snacks. My little emergency bag that I keep on me during the day in case I need to be fixed up...or one of the bridal party who needs something in a pinch! The tripod, which we rarely use but hey, you never know. My make up bag for touch ups. Special clear umbrellas for bride & groom portraits in the event of rain...which it BETTER NOT. ;) The car holds the big versions of things I'm mentioning, like the light stands, the tripod, the big reflector.
The Mini Emergency Bag: Aleve, cotton swabs, make up remover, q-tips, extra pair of contact lenses, mini toothbrushes, toothpicks, Immodium, Tums, tweezers, safety pins, bobby pins, oil absorbing cloths, manicure scissors, clear nailpolish, bandaids, first aid cream, anbesol gel in case of a toothache, deodorant, sunscreen, and a few girly items. :)
The Duffel Bag: we arrive in casual wear to shoot the getting ready portion where we're running around and hefting various things, and change into our formal clothes before we go to the ceremony. My cowboy boots are always on but we carry extra socks, extra stockings, make up, and hair accessories for me, a can of dry shampoo spray and light body cologne (esp. for summer weddings!), extra shoes, and anything else we can possibly think of! We wear superhero socks, btw, because we need the strength, luck, and energy to capture the day as magically as possible! Tomorrow I'll be wearing a dress with a high neckline and a knee length hemline to avoid flashing anyone...I also wear a pair of shorts to make sure that if I need to get down on the ground or bend over, I won't be self conscious. I then wear my socks with a pair of precious cowboy boots, a pretty cardigan, and jewelry that won't get in my way. And of course, one of my camera necklaces from my beloved. I've been wearing one or the other since Christmas 2012, when Brian gave me my first one...I consider them lucky charms. Brian is the Johnny Cash of wedding photographers...he loves to wear sleek black dress pants with a black dress shirt...sometimes I can get him to add a tie for a flash of color. But that's his preferred uniform. Basically, as long as I have him by my side I don't care what he wears...but don't tell him cause otherwise he'll wear jeans and one of his crazy silly t shirts. ;)
I generally get my hair done professionally before a wedding whenever I can...this Saturday I am super lucky because the brilliant Kara of Best Face Forward is doing my hair in a pretty but functional French braid AND my make up...I love to look as professional as I can while shooting a wedding, but I also like to look like a guest. It helps me blend in and allows everyone to feel more comfortable with my lens always in everyone's face! :)
The Peacock Bag: it's got ribbon of all kinds, colors, and sizes. I make sure to carry the wedding colors as well. I also have scraps of lace, beads, a piece of lace from my own wedding gown for good luck, funtac for special ring shots, sometimes the initials of the bride & groom done in wood, inspirational/cute wooden sayings that I like to put in various shots, etc. And scissors. And tape. Because you never ever know what you might need for the perfect shot.
*Canon Mark III w/ a Tamron 70-300mm zoom lens for the ceremony, then I'll switch lenses depending on my needs. It will also have a Canon 600 speedlite flash with diffuser
*Canon 6D with my favorite 35mm 1.4 lens that will probably stay on for the entire day...that's my go to camera/lens combination as I can do pretty much anything with it. It will also have a Canon 430 speedlite flash with diffuser
This is the bag I'll wear for about 10-12 hours on the day of. I sometimes change up the gear in it depending on my particular needs, but today's bag contains:
*50mm 1.2 portrait lens (versatile & perfect for so many things)
*100mm 2.8 macro lens (for the bling bling and details)
*24mm 1.4 wide angle lens (photographing getting ready in small spaces without distortion)
*My royal blue walkie talkie to communicate with my partner in crime (they have saved our butts many times!)
*extra batteries for the cameras and flashes, extra memory cards. I usually shoot the getting ready/ceremony and then remove the card for safekeeping and shoot the rest of the wedding with new cards
*a plethora of ponytail holders
*more oil absorbing cloths since I tend to sweat a lot
*extra meds to ensure I feel good and am physically up to performing the day's duties
*My notecards...this is where I have a record of contact people, addresses of everywhere we need to be and at what time, ideas for posing, and the bride & groom wedding photo wishlist
*business cards and lots of 'em...I generally get several requests for cards during the day, and I often leave a small stack of them on one of the reception tables so that guests can find me and enjoy the photos online
*Canon Rebel T3i with a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens and a Canon 430 speedlite flash with diffuser
*Canon Rebel T3 with a Tamron 70-300mm zoom lens and a Canon 270 speedlite flash with diffuser
*100mm 2.8 macro lens
*10-20mm wide angle lens
*18-55mm kit lens (he still loves the versatility and focal length of the basic kit...and you know what? He does it justice!)
*extra batteries, extra memory cards
*royal blue walkie talkie :)
It's a LOT. Shooting a wedding is not for the faint of heart. It's exhilarating, enthralling, exciting...and exceptionally terrifying. You prepare and prepare, you're all ready, and yet...you still can't be ready for everything. Schedules are a bit of a joke...I've yet to see a wedding run completely on time. You can't control the weather. You can't control Aunt Alice with her DSLR when she jumps up in the middle of your shot and you're left with the bride & groom walking down the aisle with her head filling the frame. :) You have talked to the DJ, the wedding coordinator, the officiants and asked about permissions and set ups and have tried to plan accordingly but there's often that one person or element that will change and throw things off kilter. The point is to be as prepared as possible, and yet be flexible. In the end, you can only do your best...and remember, it's not about you. Yes, you're hired to get great shots and be there documenting every moment you can of their special day. Getting frustrated with anyone, even yourself, won't help anyone. Let the bride & groom find you as the calm in the storm, the smiling person in the middle of the stress. I remember clearly that very first wedding I shot. The bride was nervous but happy...I shooed everyone out of the room not just to take portraits but to ensure she got that moment of peace for herself. It's important. And it made me happy to know that I could be there for her in that way.
Our day will begin at 7am after (hopefully!) a full 8 hours of quality sleep. We'll shower and get ready, pack the car, get gas, and make our way to Kara & Jo's home so that I can get pretty. Then we'll head to Maryland and begin the whirlwind . By midnight we'll be heading home, almost too weary to talk yet unable to stop reliving the days' best (and worst) moments, limping our way into the house to greet our enthusiastic puppies. We'll unwind with some tea and our favorite books, snuggling together and praying we got the best shots ever. And in the morning, after as much sleep as we can possibly get with a plan to spend the rest of the day being as lazy as possible...I'll start collecting the memory cards and uploading them to the computer, to the back up hard drive, to the online cloud drive...making sure that they are safe. And then I'll post a sneak peek come Sunday afternoon and hope that the bride & groom get a chance to see themselves as I saw them that day, gorgeous, flawless, young, desperately in love and so ready to start their lives together in full.
It's one of the most beautiful and awesome privileges I've ever been given in life, this chance to photograph and immortalize a couple as they take that journey together. I hope that I have the honor of doing that for many years to come, with my own Prince Charming Brian/partner in crime by my side, making magic.
Please join me in wishing Jai & Ro a marvelous, perfect, unforgettably wonderful wedding day on 9/21/13!!! :)