Attention all wedding vendors! Are you tired of feeling burnt out and exhausted after a long day of weddings? Are you looking for ways to take care of yourself while still providing top-notch services to your clients? Look no further, because Wedding Vendor Wellness and Kelsey have teamed up to bring you the ultimate guide to self care for photographers on a wedding day. Alicia Parks shares her expert tips on how to prepare for a busy wedding day, including snack recommendations, hydration techniques, and yoga practices. Say goodbye to feeling drained and hello to a rejuvenated and balanced you.

Wedding Vendor Wellness Leads the Initiative for Self Care for Photographers

Alicia Parks, creator of Wedding Vendor Wellness, joins me for a conversation about wellness in our industry. Alicia is a photographer and a yoga instructor. She’s found that photography is equally as important as sharing the transformational benefits of yoga.

Alicia completed the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training at the Ananda Seva Mission in Santa Rosa, CA. Then received her Chair Yoga certification through LVCY in 2013. She teaches multiple classes a week while also being a published photographer. If you have ever wondered, “how can I improve myself as a photographer” that has NOTHING to do with your photos, this blog is for you.

Sit Your Sexy Ass Down

Through Alicia’s yoga journey it brings her awareness. While photographing weddings she realized with all wedding vendors that we all kind of suffer from the same things. Alicia points out that when wedding vendors sit down, typically for the dinner, every single person whether it’s the caterer or the videographer or the DJ, everybody’s like “ohh we have to give back up again.” To the point where some vendors even weigh the option of just skipping the meal. Spoiler alert- NOT the way to go. We’re going to go into WHAT to do for your body so you CAN sit your sexy ass down and enjoy a meal without worrying about getting back up.

5 minute habits

Alicia shares that there’s a combination of beautiful yoga stretches and some self-care practices to do the morning before you go into wedding day. Even if you’re dead tired, if you could spend 5 minutes doing a couple things at night before you go to bed it’s going to make your next day totally different. You’ll want to check out our conversation on YouTube to see these!

Rome wasn’t built in a day and starting habits take time. As 500px shares, “Cultivating self-care is a lifelong process. It evolves with the changing circumstances and needs of our lives. It represents a commitment, renewed over and over again, to our wellbeing, which, in turn, provides a foundation for our creative work.”

Yoga for Hiking Photographers

For hiking elopement photographers, there are specific areas to focus on stretching. Start on the hamstrings, if you don’t, they’ll come back with a vengeance after. Hip work is important when you are carrying your camera on your hips. Back, neck, and shoulders to offset carrying your backpack of goodies all day. Calves need some love from hiking a steep grade.

My experience has been using heavy equipment that lopsided me. The cameras weigh different amounts, so now you’re awkward and tilted. Not great visually, and not great internally. Then the hamstrings are just screaming! It’s this combination of keeping the whole body healthy and hydrated and fed and nourished. CAN ANYONE RELATE??

Make The Change!

Self care for photographers

Alicia chimes in with all her wisdom, “first thing that I tell, especially new photographers, is to stay away from the one shoulder strap. I spent probably two or three wedding seasons with two cameras on one shoulder. I don’t know how I didn’t realize it, but it is not the way to go. The two shoulder strap is great for a short sessions. I don’t think there’s anything negative about it, however, you know we’ve got heavy gear. Especially at the end of the night when we’re adding on those extra off camera flashes and everything else, those shoulder straps can become strenuous.

If Alicia got the nail on the head, you aren’t alone! I didn’t even think about switching the weight. My journey was similar, I started with the holster and the cameras just flipping flopping down here. Face palm looking back at that now. It took YEARS where I had this chronic rough back pain. I accepted that this was part of the job- feeling in pain and off balance.

Currently, I use the spider hole that goes on the hips. I have a tool bet, so I have cameras on both sides. I switch them so that the balance is even throughout the day. If I go halfway through the day, I will try to get a heavy lens off of my right hip and put a heavy lens on my left hip. Then I go to softer lens on my right to try to keep that equal balance throughout the day.

For our Honeybee Wedding followers, check out our Ultimate Gift Guide for Elopement Photographers with some of our favorite backpacks, camera equipment for travel elopements, and MORE! Don’t break your back (or the bank) for your photography.

Why Do We Think It’s Fine to be This Way?

What Wedding Vendor Wellness does really well is being able check in and slow down long enough to recognize where the problems are. We become these martyrs as wedding photographers where we’re serving the clients. We are not thinking about ourselves until the next morning, when we have a headache, and we can’t get off the couch. Watching a Harry Potter marathon for the third time in a wedding season.

Alicia and I agree that, in the wedding industry, people are givers by nature. We really want to serve our clients and, in our minds, serving our clients means not taking a break. It means not drinking a lot of water because then we’re going to have to go to the bathroom a few times and that is not serving our clients.

You’re always asking your brides if they’ve had enough to drink and let’s eat, girlfriend. We’re really good about encouraging our brides to take care of themselves, but then we keep shooting, and we completely forget about ourselves. You can live off being a photographer as long as you take care of yourself! So, here’s how we use self care for photographers.

Drink the Damn Water – Tip One on self care for photographers

Self care for photographers

 Dehydration not only makes your body feel terrible, but also your brain. You’re not working with your full mental capacity. Personally, I notice when I’m less creative is when I’m hungry or when I’m thirsty. When my body is not being taken care of.

On wedding day, we pay attention to our body. If you have dry lips, that doesn’t mean putting lip gloss on. It means drink water! If you haven’t gone to the bathroom at all on wedding day, that’s a problem. We should be using the restroom, even if it’s hot and even if you’re sweating.

If you’re an elopement photographer, you HAVE to have a backpack with a camelback system. I have three liters of water in mine and finish it during an 8 hour day. For traditional wedding photographers, Alicia preaches having a massive water bottle. Bonus points for using glass over plastic! Keep it in the same bag that you use for your camera gear. As a wedding photographer, you’re always next to your gear. Especially when you’re getting ready with the bride or the groom. MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE and drink water in those times you shouldn’t be shooting! During 2 hours of getting ready photography, you should be also nourishing your body.

Eat Up

Self care for photographers, make sure you eat!

Alicia shares, “going into the wedding day, I always start with massive proteins. More than I would normally intake. I like a three egg omelet with spinach and mushrooms and cheese and all the goodness. I’m a vegetarian and get plenty of protein. I always bring a green juice to work with me so I get my greens in throughout the day.”

As for fueling up during the wedding, Alicia brings a lunch box. It is packed with protein as well as hydrating foods like fruit, cut up bell peppers, and cucumbers. There are times as wedding photographers that we don’t eat until the last guest has eaten. That means we’ve gone 789 hours before real food hits. Get in those little bites throughout the day, pack in some protein, keep yourself super hydrated, and it will literally change your life.

Snacking throughout the day is important. Hanger is real and it’s so dangerous. Even for mingling and social interaction, being in a good mood makes a difference!

Being Present is self care for photographers

When we’re hungry or when we’re dehydrated or when we need to use the restroom but we’re not, our mind is preoccupied with those needs. You’re not in this present and you’re not able to be as creative. Alicia shares, “you have a different creative practice if you can keep your body mind and soul all in alignment throughout the day. You’re a better server to your clients when you do that.” Preach it, queen!

Especially when we first start in the industry, we think that we’re just supposed to be clicking the camera all day long and that’s really not our job. Our job is to capture the essence of the day and the special moments. Those take time, they take us paying attention. They take us being really grounded. It’s hard to be grounded when you click click click click click. Alicia’s philosophy is to slow down and capture the important moments. When your guests or your bride are taking a break that’s your time to nourish and hydrate!

Self care for photographers

STORY TIME! Real Talk on Why self care for photographers is so Important

Alicia recalls a situation last year, “one of my beautiful second shooters was working with me and it was very hot in California. It was around 111°. By hour 5 she realized that she hadn’t taken in any water that day. She had been with the groom; she was going from one thing to the next. It a venue where we were traveling from getting ready to venue to the ceremony site. She had heat heatstroke! She had to go inside, and it took her out for the rest of the wedding.” It’s amazing how many of those stories are out there. It happens to people alllll the time.

Recovery

Self care for photographers

Post wedding, Alicia focuses on quiet self-care. Taking 5 minutes to soak your feet and hands in Epsom salt baths. No bath? No problem. Alicia says that sometimes she sits on her bathroom sink and puts her hands and feet in. She turns on the warm water, dumps in some Epsom salts, and allows herself to detoxify for a few moments. It is great for the body, but it’s also quiet. Light a candle and let the room darken. Turn on spa music from your phone then put it out of reach. You’re creating your own Zen space. Self care for photographers does not have to be a big production, it has to be for you. Create your own method of self relaxation and self expression.

Meditation

Self care for photographers
My yoga self care during the winter looks like this! It does not have to be perfect to be wonderful!

There are many beautiful meditation practices that are not sitting and in stillness. You can walk in meditation. Prep your food in meditation. Find ways to quiet the mind. Think about one thing and one thing only. I spend a lot of time hiking, biking, or running. When I’m done, I feel rejuvenated. Nature is my happy place and where I really feel meditative. In fact, staying active, going for a walk, and being hydrated are all listed on my blog 30 Habits to create a successful photography business!

Alicia’s stance, “meditation really is about keeping your mind focused on one thing. If you’re running- focus on your breath. Your inhale and your exhale. Don’t think about all the things you have to do when you get back to the office. Ignore all the editing that’s sitting on your desk. Don’t think about your camera here that needs to get charged. Let it all go.” She recommends On Walking Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh.  Sharing, “he is one of my favorite monks and has a lot of really beautiful YouTube videos on walking meditations.”

Self care for photographers

Benefiting The Nervous System

While we are providing pro tips and reminding you about some things you probably already know and need to practice, this extends further than self care for photographers. As HSS states, “There are many ways to practice using your parasympathetic nervous system. These include mild exercise, meditation, yoga, deep breathing from your diaphragm, even nature walks.” Taking care of your body is taking care of your life! Behind the camera and beyond. 

Are you ready to embrace self care for photographers?

Don’t wait any longer, watch Self Care for Wedding Vendors with Alicia Parks on YouTube now and start incorporating these self-care practices into your wedding day routine. Trust us, you and your clients will thank you. Ready to take your self-care game to the next level? Check out Alicia’s Wellness Guide with even more tips and resources. Your mind, body, and business will thank you. USE CODE “THECLIMB” at checkout for a DISCOUNT!

Looking for some time with ME? I’m FLATTERED! And EXCITED! Let’s dive into your photography, your business, and sharing all the ways to make sure you DON’T burn out. Check out my 3 Part Coaching Program. Can’t wait to meet you. Drink your water!

Self care for photographers
Self care for photographers

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