fine art photography

Kelly Hornberger

How I Prepare for Every Wedding


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When I started my business in 2008, I never could have imagined what it would turn into. I got into photography because it’s my way of loving on people as they go through one of the most fun and exciting (and possibly stressful) times of their lives, and enter into the most important commitment they’ll ever make.

wedding photographer photographing bride

I love LOVE and pretty things, and Joe & I believe wholeheartedly in the covenant of marriage. I figured what a better way to serve the people around me than by combining all of these things and creating beautiful memories while I’m at it!

This has always been more than just a job for me, so today I want to take you on a little bit of a behind-the-scenes journey of exactly how I prepare for every wedding we get to be a part of.

P.S. This blog post first made an appearance in my Happy Hour with Kelly emails! If you want to be the first to receive these fun emails and get updates on any KHP announcements, sign up for my email list here!

wedding photography bags

unpacking wedding photography bags

#1 Unpack camera bags from previous wedding.

First things first, I have to unpack from the previous wedding! There’s always plenty of gear to be cleaned up and bags to be cleaned out. Taking the time to do this well pays dividends in being prepared for my next job.  No photographer wants to arrive only to realize they have the cameras but have forgotten film or memory cards!

I always clean absolutely everything out of my bag and start with a clean slate. Then I clean every piece of gear and make sure everything is working properly.  Next, comes the insane amount of batteries I have on-hand at all times. I charge the old ones and make sure to put a fresh, fully-charged battery in each flash.

wedding styling details

#2 Gather Wedding Styling Details 

Next up, styling!  This is one of my favorite parts of the process and the one where I strive every time to go above and beyond for my sweet couples.  Styling details truly enhances the story of your day! Styling allows the details you’ve carefully chosen and the ones that mean so much to you, to shine even more brightly!

So, I work very closely with my sweet bride and her planner on her vision for the day: colors, her own look, and her overall style for the wedding weekend.  Then I gather as many styling materials as I can fit into my tote!  Things that I think will complement the details of the day: LOADS of trinkets, matching ribbons, Lindsey Leigh Jewelry cleaner, and more.  

Sometimes it ends up being multiple bags worth of supplies!  Then I grab personal details from the bride and groom once I arrive – including rings, gifts, attire, the invitation suite, florals, etc.

Click here for the full list of everything I like to use and ask my couples to have ready.

I want to capture absolutely as much as possible for my couples, and strive not to leave anything out!

wedding camera bags packed

#3 Repack my wedding gear 

Next, it’s time to re-pack all of my gear and get ready to go!  Of course, I have my cameras, lenses, batteries, flashes, film, memory cards, and styling supplies. A couple of things you might not guess I would have are:

-Ear protection, so I can still hear people talking but it dulls the sound from the band or DJ

-A mini tool kit, in case any of my gear breaks

-Several extra camera straps, in case any of mine break

Stay tuned for a comprehensive free resource detailing everything that’s in my bag on wedding days!!

ear plugs for wedding photographer

I don’t travel lightly, and I’m totally ok with that!  The more prepared I am, the better your photos turn out.  And when we’re talking about the very first memories of your brand new family – ones that begin your legacy and you will share with generations to come – that’s a very big deal to me!

This is actually a little peek of how I travel to your destination weddings as well (minus a suitcase 🙂 ).

Wedding camera bags ready to go

#4 Wedding Day Begins with Styling

Once I arrive on your big day, it’s time to get started, and I love to begin with styling!  I enjoy this part of the process so much! It’s so important that I really love to take my time.  

No matter the style of the event, there are always lots of possibilities for making everything look beautiful and highlighting all of your special touches.  Just the styling part of your day can take up to 2 hours for me, so I love to get there early and not rush!  I have even been known to shoot a ton of it the day before in some cases.

wedding photographer styling details

Whether you’ve hired me or an amazing member of my associate team, The Collective, we all love to go the extra mile for you and to capture as many memories from your day as possible!

#5 The Wedding

Finally, it’s time for the main event!  I never want to miss a thing, and you can be sure you’ll see me walking around with gear all over my body all day long in an effort to get the perfect shot for you at any given moment.

One recent bride’s father even said, “She turns into John Wayne with her two cameras, and can whip out her second camera to get a shot out of line of vision.”  🙂

how I prepare for every wedding as a wedding photographer

The bottom line is this: every couple we have the honor of working with is so incredibly special to me and my team.  We always strive to create a lasting relationship – a friendship where you feel comfortable coming back to us and having us involved in other big moments in your life – never just a transaction that begins and ends on your wedding day.

 That’s why I still have the very first wedding I ever photographed on a hard drive, and every wedding since then (shown below), and that is why you would be in amazing hands if you hire us to document your wedding or any other special event in your lives.

wedding photography hard drives

Thanks so much for being here! I hope you’re enjoying these and that you’ll stick around for fun ones coming up about some of our family’s travels, our home renovation, and my favorite stylist in all of Houston! Sign up for my email list here to stay up to date! 


Kelly & the KHP Team

I have to leave you with a gorgeous wedding to check out! Take a look at Elizabeth & Chris’ stunning wedding at Hotel Zaza in Houston, featured in Martha Stewart Weddings:

wedding champagne tower pour


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