How to avoid a drama!
Securing your wedding photos is of utmost importance. Indeed, one of the worst things that can happen to a wedding photographer is the loss of the photos, or the inability to carry out the report. To avoid this, we must have a process as secure as possible, before, during and after the report, whether at human level, material, shooting, and data backup.
Obviously there is no such thing as zero risk in any profession. But you have to make sure to limit the risks as much as possible. I can’t see myself on the wedding day, going to say to the bride and groom “well, well I dropped my camera, and I have no other … So hi, and thank you for everything eh”! On my weddings, it has already happened to me to drop my boxes, that my lenses fall off, to have faulty memory cards, to break my flashes, etc … etc … It happens regularly, even being careful .
Finally for my part, I do not pay special attention to the material when I am in action. I am so involved in the report that I do not care if my camera will be sprayed with champagne, or if I am in the rain, or if I elbows on the dance floor. If I feel there is a photo to take, then I will go get it. But, to avoid being stressed with this kind of misadventures, I very quickly made the choice of a significant personal and material investment.
BEFORE THE WEDDING :
For the material:
At the end of each season, I do a complete check-up of my equipment. Thorough cleaning of the housings and their sensors, as well as the lenses. If in the season, I felt a small malfunction or some problem (which could wait, without preventing me from working) and that I cannot solve it myself, the material goes in repair to specialists or to the constructor. Then, having good equipment that works perfectly is essential, but still you must not forget to take it on the wedding day (yes, yes, I have already heard this kind of misadventures !!) The day before the wedding , so I prepare all my equipment using a checklist which lists everything I need to bring on the wedding day. Everything is stored and well protected in a special photo suitcase, and ready to go.
For the photographer:
It may seem a bit silly at first, but the only thing that would be likely to be lacking in my performance before the wedding day, well it is … me! Or more precisely my good physical condition. We don’t really realize, but spending 12 or 15 hours taking wedding photos requires a lot of physical and mental energy. I am often crouched, on my knees, badly installed, in very uncomfortable positions with several kilos of equipment on me. The joints, back, and muscles are under great strain.
So, to keep in shape and tone, I play sports all year round. Lots of cardio and muscle building, a little tennis and of course, no traumatic sports like football, rugby or judo. (In addition I am too bad at football). And as I am rather a (very) good living in everyday life, we must pay attention to overweight 🙂
Finally, if unfortunately some physical problem occurs to me before the wedding and I am not able to realize it, I will activate my network of photographers to find someone I can trust to replace me. And except in cases, where I will not be able to move, I will still be present alongside my replacement to ensure the smooth running of things.
THE WEDDING DAY :
For the material:
In terms of material, everything that is essential to the successful production of the report on the wedding day is double. I have two cameras of course, and several lenses that allow me to have twice the same focal coverage, so as not to end up taking group photos at 85 mm, if ever there was a problem with one of them. The housings and lenses are themselves protected by silicone shells and protective filters. I’m not talking about the flashes, batteries, batteries and memory cards that I have in many copies.
Regarding the backup side of the photos (during the report), the boxes I chose have two slots each for memory cards. And they are set so that each photo taken is automatically stored on the two different cards, (therefore 1 trigger equals 2 photos) and this in RAW format. So, if one card no longer works, the same photos are on the second. My boxes can accommodate compact flash and XQD cards, which are much more reliable and efficient. They are of large capacity which allows me not to have to change them (or very rarely) all the time and therefore limit the risk of loss, deterioration, etc …
One of my great fears on wedding days is the multiple trips that sometimes have to be made to go to the different places of ceremonies and reception. The worst would be to arrive late due to traffic, or parking spaces not found !! So, when possible, I always try to arrange for a guest or someone from the family to drive me, especially if we are in the city center. This allows me not to waste time finding a place to park, pay attention to the route, etc … But whatever the solution, I always have with me my phone with all the exact addresses of the different places of marriage in favorites, plus a second gps in my car in case, and finally, all these addresses also printed on paper. Obviously I have the telephone numbers of the bride and groom, and those of their witnesses and / or parents.
AFTER THE WEDDING :
For saving photos after the wedding, all cards are emptied into the main hard drive of my computer, then are instantly duplicated in duplicate on two other portable hard drives. I then try to rotate my memory cards. That is, I only format them when the marriage has been returned to the bride and groom. And finally, one of the two hard drives is put in a safe place, somewhere other than my home, or if this is not possible, I take it with me wherever I go. And finally, the online gallery gives a third backup. By personal choice, I did not opt for the solution of a NAS, or the different clouds. For the moment I do not find that the offers are suitable for what I am looking for. The solution of external hard drives suits me very well.
So that’s how my process works to minimize the risk of compromising wedding reporting. It may seem obvious, but these are little things that are learned over time and experience. For you, bride and groom, I think these are extremely important criteria, it may be one of the factors of decision on the choice of your photographer. These are questions that I encourage you to ask the photographers you will meet.
My process changes and improves from year to year, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises as much as possible