Hi. It’s me, Chelsea. Coming up for air really quick to bring you a post about all of my favorite items that are helping me survive a hectic (albeit FUN) wedding season! Right now I’m in the middle of a 17-wedding streak (first weekend off is still over a month away – but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!).
As I grind through my 4th season as a wedding photographer (and a busy mom of three), I feel like I’m finally starting to get a feel for the things that ultimately make life just a tad easier! I’m excited to share these tips with you today, and hope that this can help even one person not feel so disorganized or overwhelmed.
By far the most useful tool I have is my Apple watch. I can sync my couples timelines to my reminder lists, quickly & discretely voice text my second shooter, and track all those dang steps! The Apple watch 4 also has the Walkie Talkie option, which is fun!
Megaphone (this is a new one I haven’t used yet, but fully intend to because this girl has a quiet voice and it hurts to yell)
Card storage system: I like these little cases because they’re waterproof (and because they’re cute and come in a lot of colors!) Right now I have two: One for used cards, one for new cards. I label the used case “DO NOT USE” so there’s no chance of a mix-up. I’ll probably add 2-3 more this year for doubleheader weekends and for my second shooters.
Card reader: I like this portable card reader (my laptop doesn’t have an option for a CF card, and all it would take is one corrupt card to cause a delay in my workflow. ALWAYS be prepared!)
Spare batteries (I know this is kind of a “duh” item, but I once had FOUR die in the same week (and I only owned 6 at the time!) Lesson learned – buy new batteries and buy them often!
Sandbags: These babies help weigh down my light stands and give me a HUGE peace of mind when little kiddos are running around.
Copper pipe: For those “ring of fire” sunset shots! I also like these chandelier rings for a fun twist with string lights! Other things I like to shoot through/distort with: plain empty water bottles, glassware, glass candle holders. I look absolutely ridiculous holding up an empty bottle of water in front of my lens, but I don’t care. It does funky/cool stuff, haha.
Ortho-wax: For getting those pretty, upright ring shots. Just a little pinch goes a long way and you’ll only ever need to buy this once!
Portable speaker: After accidentally dropping my first one in water, I learned my lesson. Splurge for the waterproof! Especially helpful if someone in the bridal suite is just playing music from a cell phone. Offer to sync your speaker to their bluetooth and they’ll love you for it!
RAID system for back ups: External hard drives are great for working on the go, but I always transfer everything over to my RAID system for safe keeping!
Collapsable Wagon: This actually arrives tomorrow. But I’m REAL pumped to not have to carry my lightstands/studio lights anymore!
Camera rain-cover: Pshhhhh… rain? WHAT RAIN.
Body tape: Pretty self explanatory 🙂
Crochet hooks: To help the buttoning process when a bridal dress has a ton of them.
Decorative hanger: Because plastic ones are flimsy and kind of boring 🙂
Foam Roller: to work out those muscle kinks. I look ridiculous using it, but honestly… who cares, haha.
Hand exercise balls: to keep those shooting hands flexible and strong!
Pimple patches: sweating all day + naturally oily skin like mine = occasional whiteheads. I LOVE these patches to pull out anything under the skin. I spot treat at night, wake up and peel off the patches to reveal smoother, less irritated skin. A++++
Portable desk: for those nights I get home super late and just want to veg out (either in bed, or in my super comfy chair in the living room) while I cull through wedding photos. I’m not a laptop-on-the-lap kind of person, so this desk has been AWESOME!
Setting spray: For those days I *have* to wear make up, this is the best setting spray I’ve found so far.
I’m a firm believer in working smarter, not harder. Here’s some of my favorite apps that help me run an efficient, streamlined business AND keep my sanity when things get really busy!
17hats: This is my client management software. My contact form on my website is synced with the program to automatically deliver a short questionnaire. I can send quotes, contracts, invoices, emails, surveys, etc. I can also manage my finances and easily track sales tax. It’s been such a great investment!
PASS+: This is my gallery delivery service. Clients can download, order prints, share images. They can even design their own albums! The layout is easy and the customer service is very helpful.
Planoly: This app helps me curate and schedule out instagram posts and stories (which I admittedly am terrible at. like… really bad). While you could probably plan out an entire year’s worth of automatic posts, I usually just upload 10-20 images every month or two, and post them manually. This way I stay more active and involved on instagram (an area I struggle!)
Greetabl: I love to send my clients little Greetabl boxes! They’re fully customizable and cute as HECK.
I guess that’s it! I tried to make this list as honest and comprehensive as possible – I hope it helps someone else get by a little easier!
Thanks for these behind the scenes shots, Gabrielle!