How to photograph a summer wedding in Arizona and not die
If you are familiar with Arizona at all, you know that summers here are blazingly, scorchingly, swelteringly, H-O-T! Some of those aren't actually words, but you get the picture. Summers in Arizona are good for swimming, and staying indoors. Not much else should happen... except for getting married. Let's face it, there is no such thing as a bad month to get married. When you are planning your wedding, there are a lot of factors that go into determining the date, and sometimes the weather is not one of them. In my bride's defense, she was married in September, which is technically a fall month for the rest of the country. Unfortunately, here in the oven of America, summer can last from May to October. Brenda and Spencer's special day was one of the hot ones...
So, if you find yourself photographing (or attending) a wedding during the peak temperatures of the year, here are five tips to help you not melt into a puddle.
(Hang around for the bonus sixth tip at the end!)
Hydrate! This first tip is actually a pretty obvious one, but one of the most important! Drink lots of water. I have made the mistake of not carrying a water bottle with me, and I severely regretted it. Don't make that mistake like I did. I cannot say it enough. Keep water with you at all times. Also, make sure your bridal party is staying hydrated!
Number two is a style tip for you. Let me be the first to say that long curled hair is absolutely gorgeous! When I want to feel fancy, curly is the way I choose to do my hair. But let's back up for a second. Who needs to look fancy on a wedding day? The bridesmaids? Yep. The bride? Absolutely! The photographer? Um, no. Do yourself a favor (and save yourself buckets of sweat) and wear your hair up. You can still rock the "fancy" with a tasteful up-do. If you're a guy with short hair, count yourself lucky that you don't have to deal with the struggle that is long hair, because the struggle is real!
Photograph large groups as quickly as possible. Sometimes large bridal party portraits can feel more like herding cats than anything else. That's just the nature of dealing with a lot of people at one time. Make things easier on yourself by TAKING CONTROL and herd those cats/sheep/monkeys as quickly as you can. Photographing large groups, especially during the heat of the day, is not the time to be timid. So put on your 10-gallon Stetson and herd the masses into some great extended family photos!
If you are attending a summer wedding, don't act like a cat/sheep/monkey. Listen to the photographer as best you can (I know the day is exciting!), and help others around you stop all the monkey business. The sooner you cooperate, the sooner you can again feel the glory that is air conditioning.
Bring an entourage. You know, one person to hold your bag, another person to dab the waterfall of sweat off your face, and another person to make sure your water is always at the ready. Don't have those three people on speed dial? Yeah, me neither. I'm not Beyonce. Here's something that us normal people can do that is actually pretty simple: carry the important things with you. Water, gear, and I highly recommend having a rag always at the ready. Whether it's for you, or the poor tuxedo'd groom, someone will undoubtedly need a face dab or two.
Take breaks. Give yourself and the bridal party time to recharge inside where it's cool. Trust me, it will save you lots of editing time later, because there will be fewer red faces, and fewer sweat droplets to wipe away.
Bonus Tip #6
Have the coolest bride and groom in the universe. This one can seriously make all the difference in the world! Brenda and Spencer are some of the most genuine and kind people I have ever met. While we were taking their bridal portraits, they were worried about me staying cool and sweat free. I tell ya, it's easier to share sweat rags and water bottles when your bride and groom are super chill.
I hope these tips will help you the next time you have to photograph a wedding in an oven. Yes, the day will be hot. No matter what you do, you will be sweaty. Most importantly, you will be capturing the combining of two lives into one. THIS is beautiful, buckets of sweat and all...