I’ve been looking forward to Erin and Tom’s upcoming Cinco De Mayo wedding since getting to know them at their Austin Skyline Engagement Session at Butler Park and the Long Center! Dressed in bright and bold colors, with a Mexican party hat ready for their adorable puppy, I could tell instantly that this would be a fun couple! In just a small walk, we were able to get 3 different incredible views of the downtown Austin skyline, including one of my favorite reflections in the windows of the Long Center. We lucked out with the most beautiful moody orange sky for some sunset silhouettes to end the session with a bang! I am eagerly awaiting your wedding day, Erin & Tom!
Let me go ahead and start by saying THIS IS NOT A GEAR POST. I am a firm believer that the quality of your images is a result of the skill and experience of the photographer, not how much money they spent on the latest gear and gadgets. So instead, I’m here to talk about what’s in camera my bag… that is not gear! Based on the contents of my purse, my husband loves to joke that I am the most prepared person that he knows. And that preparedness also trickles down to my camera bag on the wedding day, to make the day better for myself and my clients. Thankfully the Think Tank Retrospective 30 is a somewhat large bag to hold all of my wedding day essentials. Plus I have my hard case wheelie Porter Case Trolley with Camera/Laptop Dividers as well. This case is so dang handy, because it also can easily turn into a dolly on wheels for carrying larger loads. So let’s start diving in, shall we?
Blotting Papers: These are for both myself and the bride. If you start to get a little dewey and feel the sweat kicking in, I’ve got some blotting papers in my bag to help you tackle the shine! I prefer the kind with powder on one side to help mattifying, but the oil-absorbing ones work great too.
Sunscreen: Being a photographer in Texas means I have to wear sunscreen every time I leave the house. Naked Zinc Sunscreen by Naked Bee is great because it’s a natural zinc based product with UVA & UVB protection, not one of those crazy chemical filled versions. The zinc in this formula works to create a physical layer of protection over your skin, rather than being absorbed like other, chemical-based sunscreens. I love that it is fragance free (your clients really don’t want to smell you) and absorbs well. The small 3 oz size fits perfectly in a side pocket of my bag!
Bug Spray: As a nursing mom, I’m ultra careful about what I put on my skin and in my body these days. Hyalogic Bug Armour from Hyalogic perfectly fits the bill, with non-chemical ingredients like citronella, eucalyptus & lemongrass oils. This version dries pretty quickly, so I don’t have to worry about getting oily residue on my gear. And it works, so I will continue to use it beyond nursing as well! (Because this does have a stronger smell, I do wait to spray myself on an “as needed” basis.)
Benadryl Stick: I’ve lost count of how many fire ant piles I’ve stepped in over the years while shooting. A little dab of this cream on the bite makes it stop itching, and allows me to get back to concentrating on my photography. The tube is shown here, but I actually prefer the roll-on stick.
Hair bands & Bobby Pins: Again, these are for both myself and the bride. Although your hair shouldn’t start to fall, occasionally an unwanted wisp will escape here and there. I pretty much have come to realize that most of the time it’s just too dang hot here in Texas to shoot with my hair down, and my hair ends up in a bun anyway.
Safety Pins: I had to learn this one the hard way! My black wedding pants were a little too tight post-baby and wouldn’t you know it… I popped a button at a wedding! Thankfully, the ladies at Pearl Events were prepared and hooked me up. But I learned my lesson and carry my own now, just in case.
Kind Bars: Kind bars have always been a favorite photographer fuel, and I always have at least one ready for eating in my camera bag. I am most recently addicted to the Chocolate Mint flavor – it’s like a healthier version of the Thin Mint girl scout cookie, and keeps me full until dinner time. :) And the truth is, at particularly hectic weddings, sometimes it can be 10pm before we get to eat. In those cases, I have 2 Kind bars for dinner and call it done.
Chapstick: I have my own lip balms for marketing collateral, and it is *the best*. I am a major lip balm snob, and I have ordered from many different companies over the years. These are hands down my favorites because of how smoothly they glide on, how moisturizing they are, and of course the yummy flavors (Vanilla Tangerine is kind of like a Push-Up pop, the Tropical is like a Pina Colada, and the Peppermint is like a candy cane on steroids!) One of my past brides actually ordered these for her guests’ wedding welcome bags, because she loved them so much too!
Ear plugs: To get those awesome dance floor shots, I’m often running back and forth in front of the band and DJ speakers during the wedding reception. Ear plugs help to dampen the decibels so I’m able to get awesome photos without damaging my eardrums.
Ibuprofen: Have you ever held 2 professional photographer’s cameras at the same time, loaded down with 2 flashes and 2 giant lenses? I swear it can be over 50 extra pounds on my shoulders, body & feet that I carry around all day. Not to mention all my back up gear and all the other stuff listed above. I’ve learned to go ahead and take 2 ibuprofen on my dinner break to make load-out hurt a little less. (Hot tip: One secret I’ve learned over the years is to bring a 2nd pair of shoes. Half way through the wedding, I change shoes and it’s a huge help in preventing sore feet at the end of the night)
Extra contacts: Just in case one falls out! These are the things I obsess about late at night before a wedding when I can’t fall asleep!
Clear Umbrellas: If there is even the slightest hint of rain in the forecast, you can bet I’ll also be packing our two clear umbrellas for our couple.
Sweat-Proof Water Bottle: The Hydraflask is my favorite closed-top water bottle of all time because it is sweat and leak proof, and goes directly into my camera bag side by side with my gear.
Personalized Yeti: This beverage container company hails from my hometown of Austin, TX, so I always love showing my support for them! I chose to get mine personalized through groovyguygifts.com (you don’t have to be a guy to order from them, but I do agree that these would make awesome bridal party gifts). At the end of a 10+ hour weddings, it is waiting in my car filled to the brim with icy coconut water for hydration for the drive home. I can usually drink the whole 30 oz in about 15 minutes, and after the innumerable 100 degree days in Texas, it’s unbelievable that this thing can still keep your ice cubes solid!
(Source notes: You can get pretty much everything on Amazon these days. I do occasionally like to use smaller specialty sites for more organic/natural products and shopping. Natural Healthy Concepts is a vitamin and supplement website with a blog that features articles by a certified nutritionist on the most important topics in the natural health industry, such as essential oils, blessed thistle, turmeric root, collagen and chyawanpraph.)
Molly & Ben’s colorful and modern rooftop wedding took place in the heart of downtown Austin at Brazos Hall. This Brazos Hall wedding was planned to perfection by the fabulous Pearl Events, and was as fun and effervescent as the couple themselves! The bride and groom got ready separately with their family and wedding parties in nearby lofts, then met up for a first look on the downtown streets below. I love the expression on both of their faces when they get to see each other for the first time – pure joy! After tying the knot on the outdoor deck overlooking downtown, the couple had a group cheers with their loved ones before getting the reception started! Bouquets of Austin nailed the gorgeous decor with bright and bold blooms hanging from the ceiling in geometric gold containers. Suspended florals always make stunning wedding decor! Paired with pops of gold sequined tablecloths and a gold cake by Sweet Treets with gold twinkle light backdrop by Ilios, the interior of Brazos Hall was decked to the nines. Love and Happiness band kicked off the high energy party, and even got the bride and groom onstage for a little dance performance before their sparkler exit! Huge congratulations Molly & Ben!
AUSTIN WEDDING VENDORS :: Ceremony & Reception Venue:: Brazos Hall // Wedding Coordination :: Pearl Events // Florals :: Bouquets of Austin // Make-up :: Lip Service // Catering :: PINK AVOCADO // CAKE & DESERTS :: SWEET TREETS BAKERY // Lighting :: Ilios // Band :: Love & Happiness // Austin Wedding Photographers :: CORY RYAN PHOTOGRAPHY
Corrie and Tom are an especially fun and playful couple, so Gia set out to reflect their personalities and love in this modern and urban Austin engagement session. Starting at Voodoo Donut for a sweet treat seems like a great idea to me! After indulging on sprinkles and cuteness, they hit downtown and South Congress Avenue for some colorful murals! Aren’t they just the cutest?!
Angela & Clemens’ Palm Springs Themed Wedding at the modern Austin South Congress Hotel featured unique neon, a California desert color palette, and enough lush tropical greenery and florals to make you drool! Angela & Clemens are an international couple, with the bride being from Austin, and the groom from Hamburg, Germany. Once married in Austin, they subsequently moved to Germany, so the wedding was also a “going away” party of sorts. The ceremony and reception space featured a large ceiling installation of palm leaves and green foliage, centered over the aisle in the room. The ceremony arch featured a brass archway, accented with giant palm fronds as well. The simplicity, modernism, and exquisite design by Bird Dog Wedding and Davy Gray created the most beautiful photo backdrop for their wedding day. The couple’s parents gave some of the sweetest (see the tears) and funniest (see the newborn photo of Clemens, which was a part of a long list of photo props saved by his parents) toasts I’ve ever witnessed. During the reception, we snuck away for some creative wedding portraits with the neon lights (I temporarily stole them from the bar! So worth it!). Look No Further Entertainment busted out the jams, and these wedding guests knew how to throw down on the dance floor. Then in a playful end to a fabulously fun evening, the bride and groom exited through a sea of bubbles from guests’ bubble guns!
Austin wedding vendors: Ceremony & Reception Venue:: South Congress Hotel // Wedding Coordinator :: Bird Dog Wedding // Hair & Makeup :: Andrea Juarez // Bridal Dress :: Martina Liana // Bridal Shoes :: Nina // Bridesmaid Dresses :: Kennedy Blue // Flowers :: Davy Gray // Wedding Cake : My Sweet Austin // DJ :: Look No Further Entertainment // Wedding Photography :: CORY RYAN PHOTOGRAPHY