I get asked a lot of questions about destination weddings. Since I’ve had the opportunity to travel to several places in Canada, the U.S., and the Caribbean while doing what I love as a destination wedding photographer, I’ve decided to share a few things as a follow up to this post to help alleviate some of the anxiety around it. If you have just booked a wedding in a far away place or are thinking about expanding your photography services into offering destination weddings then I hope these tips can provide you with a starting point to help you feel more comfortable so that you can do your best work while you’re there!
Do your research
Usually, destination wedding photographers need a lot more preparation than when we’re shooting at home. Since you’ll be miles and miles away and outside of your comfort zone. For that reason, being in a new setting may lead to many unexpected surprises. By doing your research ahead of time, you’ll feel prepared and able to anticipate things.
Plus, you’ll be seen as reliable and trust worthy, which will ultimately lead to an amazing experience for your clients.
Before you agree to do a destination wedding, you really have to do the research about the location and secure any necessary visas. Google is your friend!
Arrive a day or two early
It’s also a good idea to scout the locations a day or two ahead of time so you have an idea where you plan on taking your clients for photos on the day of the wedding or afterwards. Arriving early to the wedding destination will allow you to explore and get a feel for the location. It will also, give you more time to view the lighting at golden hour to have a better perspective of what areas work best for shooting.
I love getting in a bit early to capture the beauty of the location and provide additional photos that my clients don’t expect, so that they can remember the place where they said, “I do”!
Protect your gear
Always make sure that your gear stays with you! Try to keep your gear in your carry-on bags to avoid losing track of the items. And be careful when placing your carry-on in the overhead bins on the plane. Also, some airlines might require you to pay extra costs for the weight of your equipment so be prepared. Be sure to carry back up equipment and extra batteries, memory cards, backup camera bodies, and an extra hard drive so that you’ll always have a copy of the photos you took on you in case something happens to your gear while you’re on your way home.
Spend time with everyone
Since you’ll be there a day or two early, make sure you mix and mingle a bit! Go to the rehearsal or the pre wedding events. Destination weddings are usually quite intimate so meeting everyone before the wedding is a great way to make real connections with the bride and groom and their guests. The better you can connect and build trust, the more comfortable and natural looking the photos will be. Instead of being seen as just the photographer, you’ll be called by name and welcomed into the group for the length of the trip.
Voice your professional opinion
Don’t be shy about voicing your opinion, if you feel that the location you’re shooting in is not optimal for portraits. This works for every project, but particularly with destination weddings because there are so many seemingly beautiful sites around. Although the beach is a common landmark, the time of day may not provide the best opportunity to shoot there. In case we don’t get the time to shoot at all the cool locations, I like to suggest another shoot the day after the wedding during sunrise for more portraits of the bride and groom on the island. After all, it’s our job to make sure our clients look their best!
Although I have had the privilege of photographing destination weddings in many different places, I’ve discovered that they are a huge responsibility and more than just a free trip to cool places. Take the opportunity to be inspired by a different environment while developing a deeper connection with your clients.
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I hope these tips help!