Being a full time wedding photographer isn’t as easy as I thought it is was going to be. There is more to a day than just turning up with my camera and photographing the bride and groom. Today I want to touch on a topic which I frequently discuss will fellow photographers, and that is, how I prepare mentally for a 12 hour wedding job. There is no point in me being a good wedding photographer if I go to work with my mind in turmoil. Starting a day disorganised and in bad form, I’m guaranteed to be produce sub standard images. For me, my mental preparation is a very important part of my routine, and starts two days before a wedding. I don’t like stress, and to avoid it I’ve become very organised. Two days before a wedding I clean all my camera gear and pack it safely into my bags. I also have my wedding clothes ironed and folded ready for action. My sat nav is pre-programmed with my relevant wedding locations set as favourites. I also wash my car and fill it with diesel. This military like preparation may appear over the top to some, but for me it reduces the eventuality of anything going wrong on a wedding day. Knowing I’m well prepared puts me in the right frame of mind to take good photos. The day before a wedding I don’t work. This is a day I set aside for relaxing and I’ll often meet a friend for coffee, instead of sitting in front of my computer. As an ex racing cyclist I never cycled my bicycle the day before a big race, and I take this same approach to my wedding photography. All the ground work has been done and I use this day to prepare my mind for the task ahead. I often set myself goals the day before and I like to envisage myself taking the best pictures I can possibly take. At this stage it’s all about believing in myself and having the power to overcome my fears and doubts. It’s very important I’m feeling happy and confident knowing I can shoot the next day’s wedding with a clear head. I get to bed early the night before a wedding and the next morning I’m ready to hit the ground running. Having a long hot shower and good breakfast sets my mind and body up for the day ahead. I always leave early and listen to relaxing music in the car, while I drive calmly to my destination. As I finally park up outside the bride’s house to start my 12 hour day I know I’m arriving in the right frame of mind to document an important event in her life. I’ve prepared well and all I can do is my best. As a creative person I am always battling various fears at different levels and as I slowly master the power of my mind I may begin to enjoy greater success as a wedding photographer in the future.