How many times have you planned to run to the store sans list, swear you'd remember what you need, then when you get back home realize that you totally forgot the one item you went in for? We're all guilty of trusting our memory a little too much and while forgetting to grab a gallon of milk isn't the end of the world, writing things down is probably a really good habit to get into.
Of course, I learned this the hard way.
I had traveled two hours, one way, to a wedding. I was still relatively new to photographing weddings and was thrilled that everything was coming together seamlessly. As the couple mingled with their guests during cocktails, I photographed the details of the reception area. About fifteen minutes before the bride and groom were to be announced, I walked to my bag to grab a few extra batteries for my flash and camera.
Then I silently panicked.
Somehow, I had forgotten to take a single battery with me. Whatever juice I had left in my flash and camera was going to have to last me the rest of the night. With each click and flash, my stomach sunk further. I played various scenarios in my head, trying to figure out how I would explain to the bride and groom that I couldn't take any more photos. I tried to maintain my composure, appearing completely calm on the outside - but I was dying inside and absolutely terrified.
I watched the battery bars reduce as the night went on. Lower and lower.
I breathed a sigh of relief as the minutes ticked towards the very end of the reception, thinking I had somehow managed to get through this horrid mishap. Then the bride approached me and requested one last photo before the night ended. My camera battery icon was blinking - the sure of sign that this was the end.
Sweating, I grabbed my camera. I clicked twice and then everything died.
The bride and groom had no idea that I was freaking out during their entire wedding. We've become friends over the years and when I told them this story 5 years later, they didn't even believe me! I was lucky that things worked out the way they did. Damn lucky.
It definitely taught me a lesson to never rely on memory again and since that day, I have used my handy pre-wedding checklist when packing up my gear. Before each wedding, I empty the contents of my bags and cross each off each piece of gear as I place it back into the bags. This system ensures that I will never again leave a single piece of equipment behind.