Game Day Prep.

It’s funny that I’m writing this during the day (week?) in which football has begun.

It’s funny that I’m using a sports-related title, mainly because I have never watched a football game. In my life. Chalk that up to extreme disinterest and call it a great round to play in “Never Have I Ever..” In my 20’s at parties, I used to save it for the end of the night, along with, “Never have I ever.. gotten drunk. Blown up a balloon. Smoked a cigarette. Been on a roller coaster. Smoked pot.” Don’t I sound like a barrel of laughs? I’ve done plenty of other things, that I deemed more important than alcohol poisoning/vomiting or latex balloons. (ick) You know what I have done? I photographed a wedding. By myself.

wedding photography

And in the spirit of game days and anxiety, and changing your “Never have I evers..” into “Heck yeah, I haves..” here is my ten step version of “Game Day Prep.” This is how I prep myself for BIG, BIG days. I hope to have many more of them:

1. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is check for any obvious anxiety. Am I nervous? Am I worse? Nine times out of ten, I am calmer than I would imagine. Or I am more nervous than I would imagine, but it melts off when I get up.

2. I eat cereal, and nothing else. It soothes. Nothing else does.

3. I shower slowly. I rest and do deep breathing into my diaphragm, because that’s what I’ve heard I’m supposed to do. I think I’m doing it right because my stomach is rising, and not my chest. Ok, cool. Rinse and repeat that one several times.

4. I wear my lucky underwear, and if it’s not summer, I wear my lucky socks too. Even lipstick. It’s that whole mindset that if I look good, then I will feel good too. Or I can just pretend I’m as put together as I seem.

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5. I blast music, like “Safe and Sound” or the “American Beauty” score. “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty and “Song H” by Bruce Hornsby are really great too. There are a number of songs that are soothing and healing to me.

6. I spray an herbal spray called “Fear-Less” into my mouth a few times.

7. I reach out to all of you to tell me something good. And you do.

8. I take test shots of something beautiful and/or strange around my home or yard.

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9. I hug Scarlet and listen to her voice. I hug Des and then think of the way he runs with his right arm out, like he’s in a dance.

10. I blast music in my car. I ask for wisdom from the Radio Gods. Often, it plays something like, “Photograph” or “White Wedding.” When I’m on my way to a wedding! To take photographs! Perfection.

And then away I go. Into my anxiety, and into my life.

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And there are a gazillion more.. What do you do for your own versions of “Game Day Prep”?

About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer at http://tamaracamera.com/, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at http://tamaracamerablog.com and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. http://themotherofallmeltdowns.com. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter and son in glorious western Massachusetts.

Comments

Game Day Prep. — 148 Comments

  1. What do I think?? Wow!! Seriously, wish I could hire you to photograph all the special and memorable days in my life. And your tips, are awesome right down to eating cereal when I am nervous on big days. You are right it is soothing and not much else is.

  2. What gorgeous photos and a gorgeous wedding. There is so much joy in these photos. I do similar things before game days – music, breathing, check in with myself. The slow shower is a biggie though. It seems to stop time a bit for me and lets me think clearly. Seriously, I wish I could hire you too!

    • Like I told Janine, if I could just photograph all of you, I would have the perfect life! I don’t even really care about money. It would just be the experience. If only I had an eco-friendly private jet and I could fly all around the country and world.

  3. This photos are wonderful – you rocked your first wedding. I don’t have lucky clothing, and I don’t think I have any game day prep. Hmm. Now I need some.

    • Thank you! And there are hundreds more but I realize I had already overdone it.
      If Ilene gets married again, we are all there and I will be taking pictures. Right?

  4. These photos are amazing!!! You’re definitely in your element with photographing such special moments within ones’ life. I have to check if I’m breathing “correctly” by watching my stomach lol whatever works! Yay for your ever growing list of yes you haves!!

    • I don’t really understand the breathing thing so much. People always say you can train yourself to breathe correctly. I think your body breathes the way it wants to breathe. Mine just needs a little assistance during stressful times. By the way, I had a dream that I was at my sister’s wedding but it was also a big blogging conference at my parent’s farm. You were there and it was kind of nonchalant. I thought you’d be more excited to see me!

    • Thank you! I think I was inspired by one of the Harry Potter books, in which he wakes up and it such a big day for him. That always stayed with me over the years because I want to have big days. Not going to wizarding school big days, although that would be nice. I just mean realistically big days.

  5. Umm…apparently your prep works because these pictures are amazing. Here I am halfway around the world, not knowing a single person in these images, yet they made me smile! A lot!
    It’s a beautiful thing what you do 🙂

    • Thank you! That’s my goal! It really was such a beautiful wedding with amazing people. I didn’t know them before the wedding, but I still tried very hard to achieve what they wanted.

  6. Prep must have worked because these pictures are just wonderful. Not just the technical aspects (because they are good), but because you captured the joy, the spirit, and the love.

  7. Amazing!!!! What a beautiful and fun wedding!? It seriously looks like the set of a movie. Your photography is such a gift Tamara! They are so lucky to have you and I’m sure are so grateful that you captured so much on film. Gorgeous, fun and beautiful – just like YOU!

    • Thank you!
      It was an awesome wedding and it really excited me for my upcoming wedding for my sister in October. I never thought I wanted to do wedding photography, because I tend to just get so nervous and I like to be able to go home after only one to three hours. This was a big step for me. And it made me realize that composition wise, it’s exactly what I want to do.

  8. I don’t even know the couple and I’m crying as if I were there. You captured the essence of what a wedding truly encompasses. Love, family, and fun. Nailed it. By far one of my favs is of the elderly woman waiting in her wheelchair.
    I love that you have lucky socks. My asshole dog would have ate mine…then again, they wouldn’t be that lucky after all

    • And then $2000 later, maybe you’d get your socks back but you wouldn’t want them anymore.
      This was a particularly awesome wedding, with a lot of joy and spirit. I think we have probably all been to weddings that had less of this. It did not make my job any less challenging, though. It just made me realize I had to work faster to try to capture all of it.

    • I feel like I’ve been having more of those days lately. So I’m either doing a lot of scary things, or my strength is lacking and I’m finding more commonplace things scary. I think it’s a bit of both.

  9. I’d have to say your “game day” routine is working for you, cause those are some terrific photographs. What a lucky couple to have you:) Their venue was stunning! My routine includes prayer (the busier the day, the more prayer is required), breakfast, shower, and I’m with you on the breathing. In fact, whenever I hear someone say the word “breath” I stop and take a deep one!!

    • Me too! In fact, I just took a deep breath from reading this comment. I think the inclusion of morning prayer is a wonderful one. I’d love to do something like that or meditation. I’m still very undecided and confused.

    • Thank you! I think I actually started writing this post the day I finished the wedding, because I realized I had done all the things I like to do when I’m nervous.

  10. Photographing a wedding by yourself is a major biggie!!! Love the pictures, especially the B&W’s. I would love to see a picture of Des running with his arm out 😉 On another note, I am sort of getting into football. I understood it a pinch when I watch Christopher’s game Saturday. I couldn’t keep up with him though. All the numbers just run together. I have to look at the sideline to see if he’s actually playing or not.

    • I think the Des running thing would require a video.
      If I had a kid who played sports, I would probably make exceptions. When my sister was on the Rutgers dance team, I did go to games. I might’ve watched just her, but I did go to games! And I had hot chocolate and hot dogs.

  11. What a fun wedding! I love that the groom carried his own bouquet of flowers as well. And beautiful photos!
    I used to get really nervous before a craft show. I too would do some deep breathing, have breakfast, but I think that’s all my “ritual” really entailed. On Saturday I did my first outdoor show by myself (since I was pregnant all last summer I needed help setting up and carrying the heavier items), and my tent is super hard to put up even with help. I was only nervous about getting up, but thankfully a very nice fellow vendor helped me out, and the day was fantastic (especially since I was on the Cape!)

    • I would get nervous for that too! Sometimes in life, I throw all caution to the wind and I literally don’t feel nervous for anything. Other times, it’s the simplest tasks, like picking up my children from school or childcare. I really need to get a handle on it better. The wedding was very beautiful. The groom built the chuppah!

      • I also get nervous about little things sometimes as well! When I was younger I always felt nervous the first time we went to our pool for the first time each summer. Not because I was worried about my swimming schools, just don’t know why!

        • I can understand that! I used to just get random butterflies in my stomach whenever things were all chaotic. Like right before the start of holiday break. But I loved it just the same!

    • Those socks have a hole in the toe, but I can’t seem to let them go. Usually I throw away socks for lesser offenses than that. I’ve worn them through flights and wedding prep and jobs and school. They are my superhero socks.

  12. I wish you had been the photographer at my wedding! Your photos are gorgeous! I don’t have much of a game day plan, except to be prepared! My last big “game day” was singing a duet with my husband at church. We practice a lot together, and it’s always easier to do something scary with him by my side!

  13. This wedding is so perfect. Seems laidback and fun and so full of love! You are so great at what you do! You will definitely be the photographer at my wedding one day! No ifs, ands or buts about it! 🙂

  14. Wow! These photos are beautiful! This looks like it was a really fun wedding. I wish I could go to weddings where the adults hula hopped. It’s good that you have a routine that helps you prepare for the day.

  15. I definitely could relate to some of your checklist items, especially for events/occasions that may swallow me.
    Your pictures really reflect such palpable happiness.

  16. What a fun wedding! Your photos are really beautiful. I have had a lot of menopausal(?) anxiety lately and I start my process with a prayer. I feel better when I do. Then I start on a todo list to keep me focused. And yes MUSIC is a must, life is so much better set to music.

  17. I think your lucky socks worked! You nailed these pictures of a beautiful celebration! BTW- I think cereal is life’s great elixir oh, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.Good job, I hope this is the first of many opportunities like this for you!

    • Thank you so much. I hope it is. In the past I’ve been hesitant to say yes to weddings because I didn’t think I was ready. Now I think that I could definitely do it, but it’s the lifestyle I’m not sure I’m ready for regularly.

  18. I loved the candid sweet nature of the photos – really matched the mood of the celebration! Looks like a lovely day and a successful shoot!

    • Thank you so much. They wanted candid photos of this wonderful event, so that’s what I aimed to do. I did a little bit of posed ones, based on request, and those were fun too! All-around a great day. If all weddings were like this, I would be doing them every day.

  19. Great photos. Everyone looks awesome!

    I thought you were going to talk about football at first. I don’t watch the sport either. It bores me. I do like the food that comes with it though.

    • Thanks! I don’t think I’ll ever talk about football. I don’t think I could ever get into it. Unless maybe my son played it. He is still way off from that!

  20. Oh those photos- they make my heart warm because they capture all the love, laughter & fun. That wedding looked like it had so much personality and your photos reflect that. (PS- where can I get some lucky socks?!).

    • I don’t know! My mom gave me them for St. Patrick’s Day several years ago. I have been looking and I think I came across ones like them on Google.
      Thanks for the photo compliments!

  21. Beautiful!!! I like the looks of that wedding – it looks super fun and casual and like a perfect day for making 100s of memories!!! You helped them with the memories – big moments and small moments all captured through your incredible pictures!!!

  22. I like your 10 Step Version Of Game Day Prep. This could apply to Wedding Days too! The pictures are great Tamara, all of them! I hope you have many more pleasant and memorable experiences like this one taking photographs. These really showed us the happy, feel good atmosphere of this event!

  23. What gorgeous photos! I love outdoor weddings…they just seem so much more relaxed. It looks like you captured the day perfectly!

    • I totally agree – and so much easier for photos! Although I did a church one last year and it was scary! I depended on my flash and having backup batteries and it was a big mess.

  24. Your photos are gorgeous of the wedding! Tamara you never cease to amaze me, like seriously! I don’t have lucky socks, but I do love socks in the winter time. Funny enough, I can’t stand them any other time, lol! I’m so glad you’re able to receive such positivity from your readers, me being one included ;-)! Sometimes it’s the little things that really make our day.

    And trust your not the only one that has more “Never have I evers…” than most of your counterparts. I’m right there with you!

    • It’s true! I can’t stand socks all summer long. I can’t deal without them in the fall/winter, though.
      Thanks so much for being part of the positivity – every comment counts very much. And yes, this does make my day/night!
      I’m glad I’m not alone with the “never have I evers..”

  25. I enjoyed every single picture, every one! This is the norm though when I come here! Good for you for tackling this huge project all by yourself, kudos for finding your power within. Safe and sound is absolutely one of my favorite song ever.

  26. Wow. Enjoyed looking at your photos! Lovely, lovely wedding too and I like the setting so much. It’s very laid back and refreshing. Your photos did justice and so happy that you’ve done this big big thing! 🙂 I’ve just recently started listening to Safe and Sound a lot because you mention it a lot here too. Love it!

    • Thank you so much! It took a lot of nerves, but I was ok once I got there. It’s magical and amazing how instinct can take over when we need it to give us a push.

  27. Clearly you prep well. Some football coaches should consult you. All of those tactics seem to be helping, because those pictures are amazing. You really captured some adorable candids…beautiful faces and conversations. (I’m also swooning over all that bunting against the greenery….so pretty!)

    • The decorations were really pretty!
      It’s funny to think of football coaches consulting me! I burned out fast. I can’t imagine people doing this for 14 hours straight. I should learn!

  28. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING WORK TAMARA! The wedding looks like fun, and I think you captured that perfectly. Seriously would have loved an invite 🙂

    I use to wear pressure point bands when I was pregnant with my son, shhh I wore them a little bit longer because they actually helped when I got anxious. I use to use a roll on essential oil soother I purchased via WholeFoods it kind of worked. I think singing like nobody is around helps me too 🙂
    All the best~
    XOXO

    • Thank you!!! I would have loved to attend this wedding as a guest too. Although they were so warm and welcoming, that it felt that way! Honestly.
      I love the pressure point bands! And confession? I STILL keep them in my purse and occasionally use them. They certainly take the edge off and if the anxiety isn’t sky-high, they get rid of it.
      So thank you for that.

  29. Oh my gosh. I teared up, and not because it was the way you vulnerably shared your anxiety before you go on a photography assignment, and not because your photos were so amazing, but because your photos ARE so amazing and you are so anxious and nervous beforehand…I’m not explaining myself very well but it’s just so beautiful when an artist is so nervous or unsure of their talent. But of course, all the greats in history didn’t think they were that great.

    You are great! If I was this bride, I would be head over heels in love with how my photos turned out!

    • Well we both made each other cry today, didn’t we?? You made me like.. cry. Not just tears. It’s rare.
      The bride was very happy – thank you. I thought we were good fits for each other.
      I get so nervous, you can’t imagine. You just can’t. Well I guess this post cleared some of it up.

  30. ok I maybe only one noticing – but never blown up a balloon? that’s kinda weird – lol

    anyway really cool wedding photos – they are lucky to have you as the photographer – I’m sure they are super happy with the pictures 🙂

    • ha! I know! The latex smell got to me as a kid, and as an adult, I just never needed to learn. There are plenty of people or things to do it for you.
      They do seem very happy with the photos, thank you!

  31. I have so much to say to you right now but I am speechless by your talent and grace. Awesome blog post title and I was like “what?” because I know you aren’t a football sort. I love your mental prep and how clear you are on how to take care of yourself. This wedding looking like the funnest wedding ever and a perfect fit for your personality and style. Scarlett with storm trooper helmet…priceless! I am sure you will hear from me today telling you how fabulous and inspiring you are. Plus, I want to hear more about this herbal spray called “fear-less.”

  32. Those images are so beautiful Tamara!! They’re very vibrant and full of life – I feel the location/surroundings helped too. Yeah breathing is important and so is music 🙂 I use my headphones for internal peace – music soothes my soul; always has always will. Happy Tuesday love!! -Iva

  33. Beautiful photos, Tamara! The first thing I do before a big day is make sure I get 8 hours of sleep the night before, which doesn’t usually happen if my anxiety is high or I am nervous about it. I love your lucky socks! I think I need to get a pair of those. Have a terrific day!

    • Strange how much trouble I have sleeping when I have to get up very early for a big day. When not, I surprise myself by getting plenty of sleep. It’s always strange.

  34. Beautiful wedding, beautiful photos, awesome photographer!!! And I really do believe it’s true that when I dress the part, I feel better. That’s why when I’m having an anxious, dumpy day, I try to force myself to put on “real” clothes and a bit of makeup. Oh, and go out of the house and get some fresh air. Works wonders!

  35. Your first wedding?! Wow – kudos, kudos, kudos for doing this by yourself. I have done a couple back in Germany, but as a second. While I love weddings, I am not sure I would want to deal with possible ‘disagreements’ with bride/groom/family, if you know what I mean. I am very glad you had a good time and got great photos!
    And you are so right: Feel beautiful, feel good and you do good – absolutely!

    • I would be a second. I think that’s cool. I’m part of a referral network around here that seeks them out. I’m not sure the whole wedding photography lifestyle is for me, but maybe when the kids are older. I was so scared!

  36. well I don’t watch much football – just if the hubby happens to have it on. but we do watch hockey and if my team starts a winning streak… oh hell yeahs I will wear the same clothes to watch their games as long as they keep winning. and playoffs — I will eat the same meal before the game. This is Canadian – This is Hockey.
    But “lucky underwear” — I think my version of that means something totally different than what you mean. 😉
    beautiful shots of what looks like was just a gorgeous outdoor wedding. you captured everyone’s happiness.

  37. You did so so so great. The photos are incredible and you are incredible. Also, hula hoops at a wedding? Genius!! And football games can be fun to go to and I’ll watch the Broncos on TV. My husband is addicted to it though…

    • Cassidy is not a huge football fan. I’m not sure if that would make me like it more or hate it. I will say that I do enjoy the Super Bowl because it means the end of winter is coming and the food is amazing and the commercials are fun. And I do like things that keep us warm in the winter. I do like spirit. I just don’t share this particular love, but I respect it.

  38. You, my friend, are talented. I REALLY wish you wouldn’t get so nervous about shooting because you should be proud of the work you do. You captured the feel of this wedding perfectly. It looked like a ton of fun with a bunch of cute people who love each other. I’m a bit jealous I don’t know these folks. 😉 Amazing job.

    • I hope that one day I can be less nervous.
      Okay I am cracking up because I felt the same thing about them. Now I did know one of the guests because Western mass is just small like that, but I didn’t know the rest of them. Although I did run into one of the guys in the photos in town the other day. I totally wish this was my group of friends and family!

  39. You do such an amazing job taking candid photos! I love it! I’m trying to think what do I do when I know something big is coming up to get ready for it. Pray of course, but I try to pray all the time anyway. So I’m not really sure that I have a routine that gets me ready. 🙂

    • I think that sounds lovely. And they only wanted candid photos originally, but enough people wanted posed ones too. Generally for a family session I will do both. I do love candids.

  40. i wish you were local so i could hire you! you are an amazing photographer. the pictures are full of life. i especially love how you’ve got a routine around game day, with lucky socks and underwear. i need to have a set routine for whenever i get stressed. that would help me out so much.

    • I used to be local! Although I wasn’t a photographer then. I was an innkeeper. With a big photography background. I would love to photograph your beautiful family, sigh.

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