I’m often asked by potential clients, what I would happen if I was too ill to shoot their wedding. Of course, in that case I know a number of other photographers in the area that could cover for me but my approach to solving this problem is a little more long-term than that. I focus on staying healthy and so far, I’ve not missed any wedding!
Looking back on periods of illness in recent years I could see that in most cases they were entirely predictable. I was extremely busy, not eating well or getting enough sleep and soon enough I’d have a cold, sore throat or other problem. As a wedding photographer I now keep a close eye on these factors and make sure that I get things sorted at the first sign of any problems.
The second factor in my healthy business plan is exercise. I go to the gym up to five times a week to do a mixture of exercise and I love to ride my bike around the Yorkshire hills near home. Together these activities help to keep me strong, with enough energy to get through the typical 14 hour wedding day!
A good nights sleep is often all I need to nip a potential illness in the bud and getting enough shut-eye is, for me, a key component of staying healthy. Double wedding weekends are becoming more common and in this case I take a four-day approach to getting through. It means an early night on the eve of the first wedding. At the end of the wedding it is straight home to back up, shower and recharge the my batteries and those in the equipment! After the second wedding it is time to relax and if at all possible take a day off to recover.
Gear choices are also important. Do you really need to be carrying around all of the equipment? Perhaps even more important is how you carry it around. At an early wedding I pulled my back after throwing a heavy bag over my shoulder. As a result I invested in a rolling camera bag to prevent any similar injuries in the future.
So to summarise:
- Monitor your health and take action at the first sign of being run down
- Exercise to keep your body strong and energy levels up
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep, particularly during the busy summer season
Mark Dolby is a professional wedding photographer based in Leeds in the UK.