The Essential Wedding Photography Emergency Kit


In wedding photography, every moment is crucial. You can't afford to miss the perfect shot or lose your focus due to unexpected challenges. It's important to keep a stocked, trusty "emergency" bag with you or within range of the celebration for your own comfort and for all of those little "eek!" moments that often happen.

We're privileged to witness and capture the sheer joy, happiness, and love that permeate every moment of our clients' wedding celebrations. However, what makes our job even more exhilarating is the opportunity to step in and "save the day" with these essential items.

With over 400 weddings under my belt spanning more than 15 years, I've encountered numerous situations where having an emergency kit proved invaluable. Whether it's stitching up a bridesmaid's dress, providing a much-needed feminine product or deodorant to a bride in a pinch, offering blister tape to a Mother of the Groom teetering on the verge of going barefoot, or lending a trusty multi-tool to groomsmen trying to tame the back flaps of their suit jackets, we have the opportunity to be assist in countless unexpected scenarios.

As wedding photographers, we often find ourselves in the unique position of being the only individuals right in the midst of the action throughout the entire day. Having a kit stocked with all, most, or at least some of these items isn't just a convenience - it's a necessity to ensure we're fully prepared to handle anything that comes our way.

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Rain Poncho When you're capturing the most magical day of a couple's life, you can't let a little rain dampen your spirits. A compact rain poncho keeps you dry without sacrificing the perfect shot.

Disposable Non-slip shoe covers Sometimes, you find yourself in a private home where people prefer you to remove your shoes. Time is precious, and these bootie covers let you keep shooting without any awkward delays.

Black KN95 Masks In a crowded wedding, you never know who might be under the weather. KN95 masks help keep you and others safe, ensuring you stay in top form throughout the day.

Travel Sewing Kit Wedding attire can be delicate, and rips or tears happen more often than you'd think. A travel sewing kit lets you make quick repairs and keep everyone looking their best.

Tide-To-Go Wipes Wedding receptions can get messy, especially when food is involved. These convenient packets help you tackle stains on the go, so you stay looking sharp.

Shrink-As-You-Drink Water Bottle Staying hydrated is crucial, especially during those scorching outdoor summer weddings. A refillable water bottle keeps you going all day long. (I love the one listed above because as you drink, it takes up less space in your bag. Perfect!)

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Hair Bobby Pins / Safety Pins Hair and clothing mishaps are bound to occur. These pins ensure that everyone's hair and attire stay picture-perfect.

Extra Chapstick Your lips need love too, especially if you're shooting in dry, cold, or windy conditions. It can be difficult to focus all of your attention on what's most important if your lips are painfully cracking and bleeding every time you speak, so having well moisturized lips (hands, too!) is a good idea.

Extra Business Cards You never know when a potential client might ask for your contact information. Having extra business cards on hand ensures you're always prepared to network. You'll also often run into vendors who will ask you to send them photos after the wedding is over. It can be difficult to keep up with the requests, but it can be helpful to hand out your business cards and let vendors know they should reach out to you in [weeks/months from wedding date you expect to have the images ready for delivery].

Fashion Tape Sometimes, wardrobe malfunctions can't be fixed with safety pins alone. Fashion tape is the answer to keeping dresses and suits in place.

Mini Lint Roller Keep your outfit and your clients' attire pristine with a mini lint roller. No one wants to hand-edit out hundreds of golden retriever hairs from a black suit after the couple take photos with their beloved pet, so pull out that lint roller whenever you need it.

Hand Sanitizer Clean hands are a must, especially when handling expensive bridal jewelry, dresses, camera equipment, and while shaking hands with guests/vendors. Some of us get "camera hand" on hot summer wedding days, where your hand becomes sticky from holding your camera for extended periods of time. Hand sanitizer is a great way to quickly get rid of that icky feeling in your palm.

Blotting Papers Help bridal party members stay fresh and shine-free throughout the day with blotting papers. They're a lifesaver during hot summer weddings.

First Aid Kit From minor cuts and scrapes, a small first aid kit has you covered for any unexpected health hiccups.

Ice Packs A quick ice pack is truly essential to have in your bag. I couldn't tell you the amount of times I've been able to provide an ice pack for a child who hit their head on the dance floor at a wedding in the middle of the woods with no medical care nearby.

Biodegradable Individually Wrapped Combs Sharing hair brushes isn't something everyone is comfortable with, understandably, so having a pack of disposable combs (that you can give to your client/their guests rather than taking them back) is ideal.

Clear Umbrella A clear umbrella protects your client and their beautiful wedding day attire from the elements while also allowing you to photograph them. You want to avoid black or solid umbrellas whenever possible as it will cast onto their skin/clothing and impact the final images.

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Rain Plastic Bags for Camera and Lenses Don't let rain ruin your equipment. These plastic bags keep your camera and lenses safe and dry.

Feminine Products It's always good to be prepared for any situation, and feminine products are no exception. This goes for photographers of all genders. (If you're someone who identifies as a man and fear it may be uncomfortable speak up and say "oh I have something!" - just know that every menstruating person who has been in the position of desperately needing a feminine product will be eternally grateful to whoever is able to help. We simply assume you have someone in your life who menstruates as well and we're thankful for it!)

Pen or Marker You never know when you'll need to label or jot down important information. If you check off lists for family portraits, a pen or marker is a must! It can also be a little business boost to bring some customized pens with your logo and business information on them to share with parents of the couple, the couple, vendors, etc.

Medication Ibuprofen, DayQuil, allergy medication, Pepto Bismol, Tums, and Imodium ensure you're ready to tackle any ailment that may strike. Long hours and unfamiliar food can take a toll on your stomach. Pepto Bismol chewable tablets or Imodium are your secret weapon against any unexpected tummy troubles. (I promise you'll eventually encounter a bridal party member desperate for some tummy medication, too. Nervous stomachs are no fun, especially on a wedding day.)

Granola Bars A quick energy boost during long days is essential. A granola bar keeps your energy up when you need it most. If you're unable to eat or don't enjoy granola, find something to pack that'll allow you to quickly snack before the next big event of the day without skipping a beat.

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Tissues Both outdoor and indoor weddings can result in dry or watery eyes, runny noses, and emotional moments. Keep a handy pack in your bag so you're always ready.

Portable Phone Charger Your phone is your lifeline for communication and navigation. A mobile phone charger ensures it stays charged throughout the day. This is something I've only needed to personally use once in the last 15+ years, but I have lent it to countless other vendors who forgot theirs.

Earplugs Block out noisy environments and maintain your focus during the ceremony or reception. If you frequently photograph weddings with live bands or DJ's, do future-you a favor and don't mess around with your hearing. Wear earplugs anytime you're near speakers.

Microfiber Cloth Keep your camera lens crystal clear with a microfiber cloth.

LED Flashlight with Zoomable Beam For those dark corners and late-night setup situations, a flashlight is indispensable. Most of us have flashlights on our phones, but those lights aren't much help on a dark, moonless night at a venue in the country or forest.

Crochet Hook If the bridal dress has buttons, a crochet hook will save the fingers of the family member or bridal party member helping them get dressed.

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Multi-Tool From tightening screws in light stands to opening bottles for a groomsmen toast to ripping the stitch on the back of a grooms tux, a multi-tool is your all-in-one problem solver.

Makeup Corrector Pen Smudged makeup happens, especially during emotional moments. A makeup remover pen helps fix those little imperfections.

Lash Glue Keep false eyelashes in place with lash glue, ensuring your bridal party look flawless all day.

Blister Tape Long hours on your feet can lead to uncomfortable blisters. Blister tape provides relief so you can stay on your toes.

Discreet Cooling Neck Wrap Stay cool during hot outdoor weddings with a cooling neck wrap. It's a must for those scorching summer days.

Hard Candies For those unexpectedly long or exhausting days, a little bit of sugar can provide a much-needed boost to keep you going strong. A lot of wedding photographers joke about their "mandatory wedding coke/pepsi" because we often need a boost of energy by the time the reception rolls around and, for whatever reason, a nice cold coke or pepsi hits the spot. This is a must for me on hot wedding days when I'm sweating a lot. But I have been in situations where the bar only offered water and alcohol so I had to grab a couple of hard candies for that sugar boost instead.

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Being a wedding photographer is an incredible and rewarding job, but it's also filled with unexpected challenges. With this well rounded emergency bag, you should feel confident that you'll be ready for anything that comes your way so you're able to capture every precious moment on that special day!

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