All the things that could go wrong with your wedding photography

November 19, 2020

(I pinky promise this’ll be more reassuring than it sounds!)

Never ask an introvert, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

Still waters run deep.

And even though I might look calm and tranquil on the outside, under the surface, my mind is puffing and panting in an overthinking marathon.

So not only can I tell you the worst thing that can happen …

… But I can also supply you with at least a dozen other opportunities for disaster (without even breaking into a sweat, pausing for breath, or running out of steam).

So when I say, “I’ve thought about everything that could go wrong with your wedding photography”, you can trust that I really have (over)thought that baby until my face looks like a blueberry.

Don’t believe me? Let’s set a timer for 60 seconds to see how many worst-case wedding photography scenarios I can come up with…

Start the clock!

  1. Wake up feeling ill
  2. Get the wedding date wrong
  3. Forget the camera batteries are still in the battery charger
  4. Leave the timeline and list of group photos in the printer tray
  5. Discover my earl grey is cold before I can drink it
  6. Realise my camera bag is stolen – from the church, from the car, from the reception venue…
  7. Get lost between the getting ready and ceremony locations
  8. Arrive at the church to find no parking spaces
  9. Catch my dress in my leggings as I get out of the car
  10. Break down on the way to the reception
  11. Take a wrong turn and then get stuck behind a flock of sheep on the way to the reception
  12. Drop my camera on the floor and it malfunctions
  13. Lose a memory card
  14. Slip over on the highly polished parquet floor – right in the middle of the speeches
  15. Smash a…

Beeeeeeeeepppp!

Pweh-ee! I’m out of breath. But, I can keep going. My bonkers brain is just waiting to serve up more disaster stories.

But don’t panic. You can put the brown paper bag down. You won’t need it.

Because it’s literally my business on the line if something goes wrong.

And I care about my work (and you!) very much. Your wedding isn’t something I take lightly. I know how important it is, and I’m here to do everything I can to give you the photos you’ve been dreaming about.

So you don’t have to worry about a thing. (I’ve got all the worrying covered for both of us!)

But, more importantly, I have plans, back-up plans, and back-up plans for the back-up plans, in place to protect you.

How I protect you from wedding photography disasters

1 My photography equipment 

  • Camera not working? It’s cool – I shoot with two cameras at all times. I’ve set them up with different lenses (so I don’t waste time switching lenses as I’m working), but it also means that if one camera has a tantrum, I can simply use the other camera to carry on shooting and not miss a single moment.
  • Equipment glitching? Not a worry – I know my kit inside out. At one wedding, one of my cameras wouldn’t respond when I clicked the shutter to take a photo – just as the bride was walking down the church path. Yup, great timing. I quickly figured out it was an autofocus problem, so switched to using manual focus. Which isn’t the easiest thing to do but it meant I could keep going. But it was only an option because I’d already made it a mission to know my kit as well as I know the lyrics to ‘Manic Monday’.
  • Dropped a lens on the floor and broken it? (Ahem.) Easy – I have spares of all the things in my car just in case.

I regularly service my equipment. It costs a small fortune (I have to shoot one wedding just to cover the cost of it!). But my cameras and lenses love their annual spa day – and it’s worth the peace of mind to know I can rely on my gear working.

2 The photos 

  • Worried your photos will get lost before they get to you? Technology is unreliable – but I’m not. I make seven back-ups of your wedding photography images. Uh-huh. Seven. I start with the best quality memory cards available (the lower statistical failure rate is worth paying more for), and the first back-up happens when I take a photo because my camera has dual-card slots. The second back-up happens while you’re enjoying your wedding breakfast (and I’m busy worrying about your images for you). When I get home, I make back-up number three. I sleep next to the memory cards. Seriously. And sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic and think, “I don’t remember seeing photos of a particular moment,” so I’ll get up and check. The next morning, I make a back-up on the Cloud. Once your images are edited, I make back-ups five and six on a mirrored archive drive. Then your web gallery is back-up number seven. And I’ll even explain how to make back-ups of your own (because you can never have too many back-ups). I haven’t lost anything yet … but I won’t stop being ready for it.
  • Corrupt memory card? No sweat – I always have two cameras on the go and take photos of each moment on each camera. So even if a card acts up, we wouldn’t lose everything completely.

3 Me 

  • “What if you can’t make it, Sarah?” I understand your concern. Shooting a wedding isn’t something I take lightly. I can’t just call in sick. This is your dream day. And I’m absolutely committed to doing my part to make it incredible. Which is why, in nearly 15 years, I haven’t missed a single wedding – despite some horrific circumstances. (One time, I was struck with food poisoning – but put plans into place to ensure everything was still captured. And I shot a wedding the day after losing my dad – the denial stage of grief has its uses.) So, trust me, it would have to be a desperate situation to stop me from shooting your wedding.
  • “What if something personal is on your mind?” Okay, firstly, it’s almost impossible for me to be upset/sad/grumpy while I’m capturing such a fun occasion. But in those horrific circumstances I mentioned? I put my poker face on and get into wedding mode. Wedding days are so busy for photographers that there’s no room in my head for anything other than your wedding.
  • “Sure, but what if you’re in a coma?” Yeah, alright. You’ve got me there. It’d be pretty hard for me to shoot your wedding if I’m in a coma. But if something like that did happen, I have a network of photographer friends who I can call in an emergency. They’re hand-picked amazing humans with a similar style and personality to me. And I totally trust them to takeover and capture your day.

Basically, you can trust I will only ever ring you with a solution (not WhatsApp you with a problem!)

4 Logistics

I can’t control everything – especially pile-ups on the A14. But what I can do is prepare for any unexpected complications by:

  • Conducting very thorough research. No matter what travel quandary is thrown my way, I’ve got it covered. I check the position of venue entrances (sometimes very hidden!), look into parking charges, scout out portrait locations, explore different driving routes – and I unapologetically do it old school with printed maps so I’m never bamboozled by a lack of phone signal or sat nav coverage.
  • Being early. For everything. It’s way better than stressing over traffic, and I get to soak up the atmosphere of your venue for longer. (Which is odd, because I’m always late in my personal life.)
  • Allowing buffer time. Also, for everything. Because chances are, the parking space that was meant to saved for me outside the church will be taken by someone who arrives before me on the day.

5 Planning

You know the saying, “By failing to plan, you’re planning to fail.” Well, your wedding will NOT be a failure on my watch. Which is why I plan for…

  • Your unique timeline – so I’m in the right place at the right time to capture all the important moments
  • Possible delays, surprises and setbacks – so I can fit the photography in around your day
  • Unpredictable weather – so we have a plan B (and C) for every eventuality

If all of this looks like a lot, you’re right. It is.

(And you thought wedding photographers just took photos 😉)

But what goes on behind the camera is just as important as your photos. 

Which is why every single second spent preventing and mitigating those worst-case scenarios is worthwhile.

So don’t be shy. If you’re worried about something, tell me – and we’ll get it sorted.