There's something so magical about weddings. The dress, the flowers, families coming together; all of it makes weddings so special and one of the best parts is being able to look back on photos for years. My friend, Hunter Mitchell understands that when he photographs weddings and somehow always manages to capture lasting memories for wonderful couples.
Over the past few years, I've been fortunate enough to accompany him and assist him in photographing some wonderful weddings. I've helped him carry multiple pieces of equipment, fluffed dresses, fixed ties, driven wedding parties across the venue property to meet him for photos, and even removed stains from a wedding dress a moment before a ceremony. We've laughed through countless long hours of shooting and listened to more true crime podcasts in a row than I'm actually comfortable with, but I wouldn't change any of it!
On Halloween weekend I finished up another wedding season with him with our friends, Kiley and Shane's gorgeous Dayton wedding. We both met Kiley through our time in Wildcat Service Dogs at UK, where all 3 of us trained dogs and were a part of the officer team so naturally, I agreed to help Hunter photograph her gorgeous wedding.
We definitely lucked out that weekend. The weather was amazing and the venues were stunning and the photos capture every bit of excitement and love that I'm sure Kiley and Shane felt that day! Not to mention our hotel was only 3 minutes from the venue so by the end of the night when we were both exhausted it was so easy to find!
But let me fill you in on something. By the end of that day, I felt like my whole body might just collapse. There's so much that goes into photographing weddings and there's quite a bit that goes into helping someone photograph weddings. Here are some things about being a photographer's assistant.
You end up carrying a lot of stuff
Thank goodness I'm obsessed with huge tote bags and purses because I end up holding a ton of stuff on wedding days. Between the camera equipment and all the extra things, I Iike to pack my bags are full by the end of the day. I always try to throw in my makeup bag, bobby pins, make-up remover, stain remover, and anything else anyone might need during the day just in case. I also like to have a scarf or something I can wrap the different pieces of equipment Hunter has me carry in my bag because I'm paranoid and don't want something to happen to it!
You spend most of your day squatting or kneeling, fixing dresses
People ask why I always wear pants or leggings to weddings and it's because I spend most of the day squatting and kneeling to fix the bride's dress, keep people from stepping on her dress, adjust her shoes, grabbing different items, etc. etc. If you're worried about skipping a butt and thighs workout, trust me the number of times you squat during a wedding as an assistant definitely counts as a workout!
You're always checking every tiny detail in every single photo
Something I've noticed when it comes to helping Hunter is I've started paying attention to nearly every small detail. Someone's hair in their face, a bowtie or flower slightly off-center and I have to fix it before I let him keep taking pictures. I've become so picky about the smallest details because I'm the one who pays attention to them. Hunter pays attention to the picture as a whole and for the most part, he can spot the details in his lens as well but sometimes having an extra set of eyes just makes it that much better!
You end up becoming the bride's personal assistant too
Let's face it, as much as bridesmaid, family members, friends, etc. try and help the bride on her big day sometimes they're busy getting ready themselves or finalizing another piece of the wedding. That's where the photography assistant comes in. I remember one wedding Hunter and I shot where I spent 20 minutes with the bride getting a stain out of the bottom of her dress and another time I helped a bride add some extra bobby pins to her hair just to make sure it wouldn't fall out. I always carry their dresses and veils to and from our photo locations and make sure no one steps on it during photos. The bride is stressed out enough as it is so helping her out is something I always try to do just so she doesn't get too overwhelmed on her special day.
You get a lot of steps in trying to find people around the venue
Between finding bridesmaids, groomsmen, family members, the bride and groom, and sometimes even their pets you have to do a lot of running around the day of the wedding. At Kiley and Shane's wedding, I took over 20,000 steps and I'm pretty sure most of those were because I spent a good portion of the day running between the bridal suite, the reception venue, the car, the church, upstairs and downstairs, and everywhere in between. Whether it was climbing up a set of very narrow, slightly terrifying steps with Kiley's dress to get some great photos or running back upstairs to grab her hairspray, or even running back downstairs to bring Shane and his groomsmen some food before the ceremony all while trying to remember to grab all the equipment Hunter needed, I was constantly running around.
You usually have to keep your photographer on a schedule
Photographers love taking photos and it's very easy for them to get wrapped up in the moment when it's finally time to get some wedding party portraits or couple portraits. But, there's always a schedule and it's your job to make sure everyone stays on schedule so you don't end up throwing the whole day off. Sometimes that means reminding them constantly what time it is and sometimes it means telling them to quit taking pictures and help get the wedding party wherever it is they need to be next.
Sometimes you have to keep your photographer safe
This one might sound a little funny but I can't tell you how many times I've had to keep Hunter from falling off a curb, getting hit by a car, or tripping over something trying to get a great photo. Most of the time he's got his face in his camera so he's not paying any attention to what's around him. That's what I'm there for. I make sure there's no curb he can step off, no sparkler that might burn him during sparkler send-offs, and nothing he can run into when capturing some action photos.
You check Pinterest all day long
Photographers gain inspiration from a variety of things but sometimes Pinterest helps find the perfect pose or photo idea for them. That being said, making sure Pinterest is downloaded on your phone is so helpful so that you can continue to look for different ideas while they're working. That way if they need inspiration or you find something you think would look great you can show them!
You become their social media manager for the day
Photographers rely on social media as one of their primary marketing tools so they need to get some working content. But they can't exactly worry about shooting an Instagram story when they're capturing wedding moments. So, it becomes your job to make sure their Instagram looks just as good as the photos they're taking! Getting behind the scenes content and interacting with their audiences is so helpful and after all, you're there to help them so why not take over the social media pages for the day.
You're exhausted by the end of the day
Weddings are exhausting. Between running around, fluffing dresses, organizing wedding parties you barely have time for anything else. As much fun as it is by the end of the night you're ready to crawl into bed and sleep for the entire next day - or at least get off your feet for a bit.
There you have it, what a weekend as a wedding assistant looks like! Definitely check out Hunter's incredible photography business here and follow him on Instagram here! If you're looking for a photographer definitely check him out and let him know I sent you!