Behind the Scenes: Preparing for a session and wedding

Earlier in the year I polled Instagram to see what they were interested in, and one of the topics that got the most votes was behind the scenes. So in the spirit of showing you some behind the scenes stuff, today I want to tell you all about preparing for a session and wedding, and how I protect your images afterwards. The amount of work that goes into preparing for a session – let alone a wedding – can be a lot! I really enjoy the repetition of it though, and like knowing I am prepared to have an amazing time with you. 

Preparing for a session: 

The night before the session, I make sure to charge my camera batteries and format two sets of cards – four cards total. My camera has dual card slots – so every image is recorded twice just in case a card corrupts. It’s rare that I have to use the second set of cards, but I like to be prepared. I clean all of my lenses and get my gear + harness and lens bag all ready to go so when it’s time for me to go I can lock and load. 

Brand photos behind laptop - preparing for a session and wedding

On the day of the session I like to arrive early and do some location scouting. I am always looking for light first, and then background. I like to shoot with the sun behind my subjects, but I need enough secondary light to really illuminate their faces. 

After we have the session, I will come home and remove one card from the camera to upload the photos to my hard drive. Once the upload is complete, I copy the RAW unedited files to my backup hard drive that lives in a fireproof safe. So now your photos are in four places – two cards and two hard drives. I keep the photos on one card until your final gallery is uploaded and delivered. I also copy all edits to the backup hard drive when editing is completed. 

Preparing for a wedding: 

Prepping for the wedding starts pretty early, As soon as I have your wedding questionnaire back, I am creating a draft of your blog post. I start linking vendors and adding notes about colors and any special details you mention. This way when it comes time to get your blog up the Tuesday after your wedding I have a jumping off point. 

The night before your wedding I am charging camera batteries, flash rechargeable AA batteries, my laptop and my iPad. I format all the cards I will need throughout the day and get them tucked into memory card holders labeled “empty.” The dual card slots are so important on your wedding day. I am shooting every image onto two cards all day long so that I have everything backed up. 

I clean and pack up my lenses and gear to make sure it’s all ready to go in the morning. Then, I reference my packing checklist to make sure everything is accounted for before moving onto the next task. 

I print off all the documents I will need the next day and get them together in a folder. This includes your bride and groom questionnaire, the timeline for the day, the family formal list and directions to the venue or wedding location in case something happens to my phone. I spend some time reviewing all of this information to make sure I am really prepared for the next day. Something new this year is adding your timeline as the background on my apple watch so I can easily reference it throughout the day without needing to pull it up on my phone or dig through the folder. 

I pack snacks and drinks for the day, and I lay out my clothes. I also pack extra clothes to keep in my car just in case. If you’ve been with me at a portrait session, you know I will do a lot to get the shot, and I wouldn’t want to look like a mess after our portrait time. I also have 10 clear umbrellas that get packed in the car the night before in case it rains on your wedding day. 

I double check that my working hard drive is completely backed up with all galleries and personal/business work, then I pack my working drive, laptop, laptop charger and a card reader. While at the reception I will begin to back up your photos from your wedding to my hard drive so that your photos are in two places before I even leave the venue. 

On the way home from a session or wedding I am creating a note or voice note of what I remember from our time together so that I can remember those details for your blog post. Once home, I import and back up all your photos. I don’t reformat at least one card from each set until your gallery is delivered. Meaning your photos are stored on two hard drives and at least one memory card – backed up and safe. All final edits are then copied to the backup drive, as well as your album design. 

So why am I telling you about preparing for a session and wedding? 

I am a pretty Type A person – and being prepared (or over prepared) helps me feel calm and confident when going into a session or wedding. Checking things off a list is soothing. And I also want you to know how seriously I take protecting your images. I have never had a card corrupt, but I have heard enough horror stories that I want to do everything in my power to keep that from happening. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about my process! 

preparing for a session and wedding

Want to get in touch?

I loved sharing all about preparing for a session and wedding with you! I am so excited you found me! Just so you to know your email is going to make my day, and I’ll probably do a little happy dance when it hits my inbox. I love email because it helps me keep all our important conversations in one place versus spreading the conversation out over email, text, Instagram DMs, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, etc. You can expect to hear from me within 24 hours. You can contact me here, or just shoot me an email at kelsey@kelseyalumbaugh.com

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May 31, 2021

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