Emily Hopkins

That One Time My Photography Nightmare Almost Came True


Are you ready to hear about the one time my photography nightmare almost came true? Well, it was as close to a photography nightmare as we’ve ever come. It was the night before a wedding, and we had planned to spend the night at my parents’ house so that we could leave the kids with them in the morning and head straight to the venue. We had everything packed up, we arrived at my parents’ house, and we started settling in… only to realize that we forgot the flash bag at home! 

So late at night, John had to drive all the way home (it was over an hour one way). Oh, hang on, it gets worse. On his way home, he hit a raccoon on the interstate which resulted in thousands of dollars of damage to the front of the car. By the time he finally made it back to my parents’ house (flash bag in hand, thousands of dollars of damage later), I resolved never to forget the flash bag (or any other bag) again. 

Today, I’m sharing how I’ve kept that promise to myself (and how you can avoid making a mistake of potentially epic proportions) by doing one simple thing: creating a checklist. 


Sweet, stressful wedding days

Oh, wedding days. They are so sweet, but they can be… stressful. As a wedding photographer, it’s my responsibility to make sure that absolutely everything has been checked not once, not twice, but likely thrice. It’s my job to make sure that if anything goes wrong, we have backups for backups to make sure that it doesn’t negatively impact our final product. The longer I’ve been a wedding photographer, the more I realize how much weight and responsibility comes with that job. It’s a weight I’m glad to carry. The more seriously I take my job, the more my client can soak up every wedding day moment. 

So, whenever I get overwhelmed in life or in business, I‘ve learned that making a list is a great way to relieve my anxiety.


Lists for anxiety relief

In our early days as photographers, I would often wake up in the middle of the night (the week leading up to a wedding day) with the nightmare. Sometimes the nightmare was me showing up to a wedding without my gear. Sometimes it was forgetting the time and getting to a wedding in the middle of the day. And sometimes, the nightmare was that I forgot something (yeah, something like a flash bag). I know I can’t really help my nightmares, but I’ve learned to create systems to put me at ease instead. Enter, lists! I use lists all the time to relieve my stress and anxiety. A good brain dump is so good for my soul. 


Wedding Day Prep List + Checklist

It dawned on me one day that what I really needed was one place to brain-dump all of the things that need to happen when preparing for a wedding day. So I did. I created a wedding day prep list and a wedding day checklist that have helped me calm my fears and focus on the excitement and joy of the upcoming day. 

Wanna know what that looks like? Well, you’re in luck because I’m sharing my wedding day prep list and checklist today! It’s my hope that you can use this checklist to bypass anxiety, icky nightmares, and potential frustration or mistakes on a wedding day and instead walk into a wedding day with confidence and joy, knowing that you’ve thought through everything so your client doesn’t have to! My photography nightmare almost came true, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you!

Download the checklist here. I hope it helps!

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