Preparing for a Session or Wedding (FREE printable checklist included)

Even after being five full time seasons into wedding and elopement photography, there are still moments when I second guess myself when it comes to session/wedding prep, or still get that weird feeling that I just might be forgetting something;

plus let’s be honest, with now also having a total parent brain most of the time, I can’t always rely on the ol’ memory to keep every single thing in check for me.

For many years, I did rely on a quick camera bag check in the couple days leading up to a wedding to ensure that everything was accounted for and where it all needed to be, but neglected to actually ever go through and physically count items or check anything off of a list. Thankfully, I have almost always managed to have all that I needed on the day of a wedding using that not-so-methodical-method, but I know that there is true value is cultivating an actual system and checklist in the days leading up to a wedding day, which is why I’ve been utilizing one of my own over the last couple of seasons.

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Today I want to share my pre-wedding checklist and workflow with you so that you to can have complete peace of mind in the days and hours leading up to a wedding, and not only that, but I also wanted to share a totally free printable gear-packing/pre-wedding checklist that you can customize and utilize yourself all season long. Starting with a quick list of my must-have wedding day items.

  • Snacks and lunch/dinner if need be

  • iPhone and charger

  • Huge bottle(s) of water

  • Camera bag consisting of:

    • Camera bodies

    • Lenses

    • Batteries

    • Memory cards

    • Battery charger

    • Lens wipe + dust pen

    • Harness or camera strap

    • Flashes and batteries

    • Clipboard with all of the day of into on it

  • Other things that I pack in another bag:

    • Rain or winter/snow gear depending on the season

    • Boots or other footwear for outside and/or for changing into something more comfortable for reception

    • A second outfit in case of spills or other unforeseen circumstances

    • Makeup/wipes -- or at the very least, lip chap and hair tie

    • Wallet

    • Mints/gum

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One month before the wedding:

  • Send out the pre-wedding vendor information email as well as collect the last few day-of details

  • Two weeks before the wedding:

    • Finalize the timeline and family photo list and send out to the couple

    • Go over the addresses and make sure that they are correct/that they actually exist

  • Two days before:

    • Print out the timeline and family photo list/change the background of your phone to the day-of timeline

    • Go through all of your gear -- check + dust

    • Charge batteries

    • Format cards and arrange

    • Sync cameras

    • “Reset” your camera settings (ISO, white balance, etc) **make sure your set to autofocus

  • Day before:

    • Fill up your car with gas

    • Prep meals/snacks

    • Text the couple

    • Figure out your departure time

    • Drink lots of water

    • Have all of your gear packed up and ready all together

    • Figure out what you’re wearing + pack up a second top or outfit

  • Day of

    • Wake up early

    • Spend a few moments to yourself to get settled and in the right space for the day

    • Eat a good breakfast

    • Head out earlier than need be to account for traffic, construction, etc


Anything that I don’t pack but is a must have for you?! I’d love to know if there’s anything that I’ve been missing out on. Don’t forget to grab your printable checklist down below before you go!