Wedding photographer self care – it’s important!
Being a wedding photographer is a special combination of weekday sedentary office life mixed with weekend high-powered fitness marathon 15+ hour workdays. There is a reason we refer to the day after a wedding as a wedding hangover. It’s because we are working nonstop doing lunges, squats, arm work, weight-lifting, core strength – and getting literally bent out of shape in order to get the perfect shots!
After a few years of being a photographer, the importance of wedding photographer self care has really started to settled in (finally!), and I’d like to introduce to you (or remind you of!) some tricks and habits that can help to preserve and take care of you and your body.
In the Office
As I mentioned before, weekdays we are in the office staring at screens, culling through photos, and writing blogs about self-care, and this sometimes come at a price! The best advice I have for office life is to have a comfy chair and an ergonomic mouse.
We’ve probably all experienced different levels of carpal tunnel in our wrists from toting around cameras, gear, and spending the rest of our waking hours editing. The biggest game changer for me was when I got my ergonomic mouse. I no longer need to wear my wrist brace! This mouse takes all the strain off of the little nerve that causes so many issues! And it was super simple for my brain to get used to using it, even though it looked a little counterintuitive at first.
Chairs y’all – you have to preserve your back! If you are sitting in a chair all day that is uncomfortable or causing you issues, you are setting yourself up for a hard weekend. Shoot for a comfortable chair that is a good fit for your posture and the right height for your desk. There are plenty of ergonomic options out there as well.
Okay, moving on to my wedding routine and body prep work!
This job is physical, there’s no denying it. We believe that wedding photographer self care should include a practice for keeping limber and taking care of muscles and joints! Our favorite is yoga 🙂
You probably already love it or think it’s just a fancy way to stretch. Well, it IS a fancy way to stretch and you should be doing it! I am guilty of always saying I need to do yoga, but then falling a little short on my routine. So I’ve set up a reasonable goal for myself to help with wedding weekends.
Most weddings are on Saturdays, so Fridays are now Yoga Fridays! I do 30 minutes of yoga in order to stretch everything out a bit. I use a service called Ekhart Yoga – an online yoga studio with lots of different classes (for newbies and yoga veterans alike) – and just roll out a mat and get it done. If you’ve ever been injured, pulled anything, gone to a chiropractor, etc., you’ve probably gotten an earful about yoga – so just do it already! Tight muscles lead to injuries!
Even if you never turn into a yoga nut or don’t want to actually DO yoga on a regular basis, you can still learn some poses and stretches that can be super useful for the muscles we tend to use during wedding days.
Here are some useful poses and basic stretches that I use to get you going:
During dinner at a wedding, I try to sneak off and stretch it out while I can and get ready to go hit the dance floor.
Wardrobe: Compression socks for the win!
You will be on your feet for 15+ hours – it’s basically a sports event or some type of marathon for your legs. Compression socks help with blood flow and reduces lactic acid build up. This is especially helpful when you haven’t shot a wedding in a few weeks and your legs don’t know what to do with themselves!
Footwear: Be comfortable!
You have got to take care of your feet or you will hate yourself and your feet will leave you. They will straight up just walk away. I understand we are photographing some fancy scenes sometimes but healthy and supportive footwear is important.
Any type of shoes you wear should have some type of additional insole in them, and if you have to wear fancy shoes during the ceremony, that’s fine – just be sure to bring other shoes with you to run around in all day or during the reception. It’s just like we tell our brides, and this will seriously help you in so many ways!
Yep. I’m that person now. I have given in to wearing knee pads because crawling around all day on my knee caps was starting to affect my knees – go figure! But seriously, how simple is it to protect your knees by just strapping on knee pads before and after the ceremony or during the ceremony if you can hide them under your pants?
Food: Yes Please!
I binge out on carbs for wedding days – it’s awesome! Even if I’m on a low carb diet during the week, this is the perfect excuse to eat them! Carbs get a bad rap, but when you choose complex, whole-food carbs, they can be a game-changer. They are fuel for high-energy days like weddings when you don’t stop moving and need to keep your energy up – so treat yo self!
Snacks are a great option for getting in that food energy at regular intervals, and a must for wedding days too! Load up on healthy nuts (my go to – almonds), bananas, peanut butter, whole grain crackers – just try to avoid those sugar-loaded “protein bars” or energy drinks.
Guys, you have got to drink water – in between all the coffee 😀 The importance of hydration is always thrown around, sure, but that’s because it IS so important. Your muscles NEED it, and you should be drinking plenty of water before and during a wedding – even if it’s not particularly hot out. And after a wedding? Drink water just like after a night of heavy drinking, because in both cases, you will feel better in the morning if you do!
Baths: Bust out the rubber ducky!
After a wedding, I always drag myself into an Epsom salt bath. Yes, it’s usually 1:00 am or later and I’m exhausted and want to pass out, but I know that hot water will relax my muscles and set me up for better sleep and a better recovery the next morning.
This is a great opportunity to take stock of your self-care routine – good, bad, and ugly – and consider where you can refresh and renew. Investing in your health is just as much an investment in your business as a new lens.
So, it’s important to invest in wedding photographer self care both in the office and behind the camera – whether that means comfy office equipment or a great pair of comfortable shoes and a set of knee pads. Remember to stretch, to give your body the tasty fuel it needs on wedding days, and keep drinking water at least in between sips of coffee.
I hope this little blog was helpful, and I’d love to hear all about your routine in the comments below ☺
Now go run a bath!