Pre-Wedding Checklist | Photography Workflow

I don’t think I will ever stop getting pre-wedding jitters or being anxious the day before a wedding. But it’s a good kind of nervousness that reflects the weight of responsibility on my role as a photographer, and I think it aptly keeps me in line. It matters to me that I don’t screw up, and I’m sure it matters to my clients too.

When there are a million things to keep track of, I rely on checklists. Lists keep me sane. While other photographers may have their mental checklists, for me physically checking things off is a reassuring ritual. I don’t have to re-remember everything every time when I’ve already laid it all out.

Below, I share my current pre-shoot checklist with you (the screenshot above is from last year). I use this not only for weddings, but for all shoots that I do.  I set all of this up in a spreadsheet on google docs and mark either “-” (I’m intensionally skipping this for some reason) or “x” (done) down all the rows. This is just the beginning of my list, because it actually keeps going through the post-processing and the delivery process also. Perhaps I’ll share those another day.

    • Booking- set time & place
    • Questionnaire- I send them questions about who they are and what kinds of styles they like
    • Reminder time & place 2-5 days before
  • PREP- Night before shoot
    • Transfer & clear memory cards
    • Charge batteries (camera, flash)
    • Clean lenses
    • Clean sensors (if needed)
    • Print paperwork- for portrait sessions I’ll print the agreement OR for weddings I’ll print the extension form for them to add hours of coverage as needed
    • Ideas- I look to my inspiration folder for ideas on poses, photos of the location, things I want to store in my head, etc.
    • Location/directions & contact info- ask your client for specific addresses and phone numbers.
    • Pack equipment- which I do based on the list below.
    • 5D body
    • backup body
    • lenses- for me, 35, 50, 85 and any that I rent
    • flashes- 580EXII, lumo pro
    • Tripod/Monopod/Light stands
    • Reflectors
    • Lumix- my point and shoot
    • Memory cards
    • Card reader
    • Batteries- camera, flash
    • Chargers- camera, flash
    • Computer & charger
    • Hard drive
    • Paperwork
    • Water/snack

So what say you, fellow photographers? Do you have pre-shoot rituals too? I’m sure there are things I’ve missed.

P.S. I’ve recently added another gadget to my arsenal, which is really overwhelming considering I’ve gained a lens and an iPad all in the last month too. But now I am left contemplating Droid vs. Moleskine on the day of the wedding… As much as I like cute paper things, I think Droid might win.