This is the 2nd installment of a short series on being pregnant as a wedding photographer!
Something I genuinely was concerned about while thinking through work and being pregnant was how I was physically going to handle it. Unless you are in the wedding industry, people don’t really understand how shooting a wedding makes you feel at the end of the night, and especially the next day after you wake up. The best way I know how to describe it is feeling hungover from drinking too much and sore like you danced all night long. It feels like you got run over basically. And, that’s how you feel when you’re NOT pregnant. I was really wondering how I would be able to do it! Again, I cannot comment on shooting in your third trimester because we were fortunate enough with the timing of things that I am able to just do desk work in my 3rd trimester. However, I shot all through my first and second trimester in the busiest time of year, and each trimester brings its own challenges. I want to share some of my favorite tools that helped me stay energized throughout the day and more importantly, recover quickly in the subsequent days.
This might feel like a “duh” one, but packing snacks for shooting requires a little more thought and prep work. I was lucky enough to have what I would call mild morning sickness. I never threw up, but I felt queasy almost constantly and gagged all day long in my 1st Tri and well into my 2nd. Eating starches and easy to digest protein was super helpful. You also never know when a certain food that you ate yesterday now makes you want to run in the other direction. I packed a LOT more food than I normally would, and way more variety. Pretzels, oyster crackers, saltines, etc… and I always made sure I ate two eggs before leaving the house. Unsweetened applesauce, salty nuts, and beef jerky were also on rotation. Pack a lot, pack variety. Eat something every hour or so.
Same deal here. Drink WAY WAY more than you normally would. Do not skip this. Do not say to yourself, Ill get some at our next stop. Do it now, and don’t feel bad for taking an 30 seconds to refill your water jug.
Maternity Belt, or Bellaband:
This turned out to be super helpful for me. It did make me hotter than I normally would have been, but I think it was worth it. Once my belly really started to show I noticed significant pain increase in my lower back, hips, and feet at the end of a wedding. I always wear dresses while shooting, which means there is nothing there to support the extra weight that is pulling you forward. During the week I wear maternity pants, jeans, and leggings which all have under belly support. Embrace the maternity-wear gear and purchase something to help support your belly on wedding day.
This is where I failed, but I am going to write about it so hopefully you won’t follow in my steps. I did not buy better shoes. Every year in the off season I purchase a new, cheap pair of black flats. I wear them throughout winter and early spring, and then I wear them to every wedding I shoot the following year. I really NEEDED to go out and buy a better shoe, but I never did. Huge mistake. There are a lot of cute supportive options out there that would have made my body feel a lot better. Don’t be lazy or cheap and buy yourself a pair, truly.
Rolling Camera Bag:
If you don’t already have one of these, get one. If you do, use it MORE than your shoulder bag throughout the day. Your body is working super hard at growing the baby, and you don’t need to add more stress where you don’t have to. Instead of cramming as much as you can into your shoulder bag (for convenience) pack as light as possible and rely on your rolling bag. Its much easier to roll a heavy suitcase than it is to shoulder carry lenses. Also consider leaning a bit more on your second shooter for running back and forth to grab things. If this makes you uncomfortable, paying them more is always an option!
Consider hiring an extra person to help out on wedding day! I did this once, and although I felt bad about her being bored throughout the day, I felt AMAZING the next day because I didn’t carry my bag really at all. She also helped remind me to eat and drink and to take breaks. You may not need to do this until later in your pregnancy, or you may only choose to hire one for specific weddings (farm weddings with lots of walking, city wedding with lots of walking, anything outdoors in the heat, etc…) but I found that having one was wonderful.
This one is purely just a preference! It’s no secret that while pregnant you produce a lot more body heat. Your blood volume is doubling and it makes simple things like walking up a hill harder. You breathe heavier, you sweat, and you produce more body heat. Avoid the need for a quick mid-day hair redo, or resorting to sloppy pony tail, and start the day with your hair up and styled. I found a few new styles that were easy to do on Pinterest and used a lot more hair spray.
After the Wedding…
Soak your feet! I did this, and even though I could barely stand the water being that hot because my feet were so sensitive, it felt really good to wind down the day this way. I guzzled water and ate while my feet soaked for a bit, and I really noticed a difference the next day!
This might be hard if sleeping on your back is starting to get painful/uncomfortable, but I tried to elevate my feet while sleeping after each wedding. Even while sleeping on my side, I put a small pillow underneath my ankles. I also had some heartburn issues, so I was sleeping sitting up a bit which made elevating my feet, while on my back, easier.
I know I am repeating myself, but drink a LOT of water before bed. Yes, it will make you need to get up to go to the bathroom which is annoying, but do you know what you will avoid in the morning? That FEELING. That hungover, hit by a truck, I need to sleep the day away feeling. Keeping water intake up during a wedding is hard. You’re busy. You are also sweating a lot. Then when you get home all you want to do is crash into your bed. Don’t do it!! Drink 1-2 full glasses of water before going to bed.
I always needed a day to recover after weddings before becoming pregnant. I would take these days on Mondays. During the wedding season you are working all day Saturday and not getting a weekend, so I would take an extra day during the week for this. Sunday is not enough of a rest for me because we are normally doing things with church, friends, etc… After becoming pregnant, I realized I needed another day. I would stay in bed most Tuesdays, with my feet elevated, drinking tons of water, and working on my laptop. Once I gave into the fact that I just needed more time and rest, I felt so much better the rest of the week!
What were your shooting essentials while pregnant? Anything I missed?
If you missed Part One, see it here!