I shot 17 of my weddings this year while pregnant, my last at 38 weeks just this past Friday. It was physically and emotionally draining but I survived!
When I found out I was pregnant this time around and looked at my calendar I did have an Oh Shit moment for two reasons. One, shooting weddings when you’re NOT pregnant is hard enough–it’s physically demanding and on most Sunday mornings after shooting you can find me lounging in bed nursing my wedding photographer hangover. So add pregnancy to the mix and it’s even more challenging. And two, I was REALLY nervous about going into labor early and missing a wedding.
Here are my tips if you are a pregnant photographer/industry person during the height of wedding season
- Get yourself a Heather. I’ve only known Heather for a short time but I ADORE her and could not have survived this wedding season without her. We met through our parents (who are good friends) and when she told me she was starting to learn photography, I begged her to come to my weddings and help me out and she graciously agreed. In addition to second shooting for me, she carries my bags, makes sure I’m drinking enough water and keeps me company on those long days. But that’s just what she does for me-I’ve seen her go above and beyond for my clients time and time again. She fixes dresses, holds onto bouquets, hangs with the groom before first looks, and on and on. I’m so glad to have her!
2. Be upfront with your clients. The sooner the better. At around 13 weeks I emailed all of my 2017 couples and let them know that I was pregnant, what my due date was, and exactly how far along I would be for their wedding. I had backup plans in place (on-call photographers) who could step in should something happen that would prevent me from being there myself (like, labor) AND I gave everyone the option to back out of the contract, no questions asked. To my surprise/delight/horror, not one client backed out. It meant a lot to me that everyone trusted me that much to take the risk, but it also motivated me to work even harder for them. Looking back I feel like I can honestly say I worked harder at every single wedding this season than I ever have before and for that I am proud.
3. Throw your dress code out the window. Sorry, clients. Ordinarily, my wedding uniform is a conservative black dress and flats. This season, it’s whatever fit and sneakers. Yes, sneakers. I tried on dozens of shoes to try to find something comfortable enough for 10-12 hour days and bought a $$$ pair of ballet flats that I thought would be perfect. Alas, I wore through them after like 1 or 2 weddings. So, sneakers it is. It’s not a cute look and it’s not professional, and for that I am sorry.
4. Extra support and Extra Strength Tylenol. I wore a support band under my clothes for every wedding to alleviate the pressure on my hips and back. And pregnant or not, I can’t sing enough praises about the Holdfast Moneymaker, the harness you see me with that allows me to shoot with two camera bodies and distributes the weight beautifully. Towards the end of this pregnancy I’ve been experiencing SPD which makes simple things like climbing stairs or lifting my legs at all super painful. Knowing this, I usually pop a Tylenol midway through a wedding and again the next morning.
5. Give yourself grace. I seem to have easy pregnancies, but one thing I hate about being pregnant is that I feel like I’m stalled in my life. I see everyone around me doing amazing work and pushing themselves creatively and I am inspired to do the same. There are SO many projects I want to take on and I have to remind myself that although temporary, this is a time to slow down. I can’t take every job. I can’t really travel too much. Now isn’t the time to put some of those big projects to action. And it sucks a little, but it’s ok. I have to remind myself that this is just a season of life, and I will have the time and energy to do all those things. Just not right now.
Obviously I would never suggest shooting such a full schedule so close to your due date, but sometimes the best laid plans… Thank you to Heather, to all my on-call photographer friends and to my wonderful clients for sticking with me this season! I work with the best, I really do 🙂