Destination Weddings – how to pack a photographer in your carry-on

He finally asked. You said YES! Now the fun really begins… Deciding on where to hold your wedding can be a matter of availability, time of year, number of guests, season, and simply just finding the kind of venue that really reflects your personal tastes and dreams. More and more often couples are deciding on the option of having their wedding at some exotic destination. And why not? You get to combine the fun of a wedding with the fun of vacation.Some people I’ve met have decided to go this route simply because the idea of planning a full scale traditional wedding was more than they wanted to take on. Inevitably, holding your wedding in some tropical location will reduce the size of the wedding and the ability of the guests to join you on your special day. I can’t speak to all of the considerations that must be met with regards to the planning and logistics of a destination wedding, but I did want to respond in my blog to the numerous questions I get regarding the photography aspects. Just about any place that hosts destination weddings, be it Hawaii, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, (and, and, and, etc…) all have photographers available on site for your wedding. Some are even included in the cost of the wedding package as a whole. I know that some of these photographers do excellent work and are more than capable to handle the needs of the couple. I’ve also heard horror stories of things not exactly working out as planned. Everything from language barriers, to conflicting styles & tastes, and even simply not getting along with their personality. There is definitely and argument in favour of a resort-based photographer that they’re going to know the property and area better than the visiting photographer. It’s a bit of a catch-22 when they know the area, but also end up shooting it so often (sometimes as many as 5 couples a day all year) that there is the risk of the work being repetitive and formulaic. I can totally understand how this kind of demand on the photographer would be challenging and even possibly detrimental. Whenever asked to shoot a destination wedding, the first thing I let my couple know is that I plan on being on-site to do my scouting a minimum of two days prior to the wedding. To do the kind of work I do, it’s of paramount importance to know the area well, how the weather affects to shooting locations, and figure out how I can best capture the couple to reflect their unique personalities.A couple I recently met with asked me to shoot their wedding in the Dominican Republic in January. I felt a great connection with them and I can’t wait to be there with them to capture their day. Before January arrives though, I have booked to shoot an engagement session with them. As I mention in my blog post on esessions, it’s the perfect opportunity to really get to know the couple as a photography subject, and more importantly get to know what it takes to capture the real them. This will be crucial for the photographic success of their wedding day.Most importantly is the element of mutual trust between the couple and myself. My photography is based on creative talent, personal integrity, and trust. I want them to know they are important to me and that I will devote my energy and attention to them, and only them on their wedding day. This is true from the moment I first contact them, and right past the time I deliver their images and album.

If a destination wedding is something you’re looking at, I would love to meet you and find out more about what you have planned. Combining a wedding and a vacation is exciting to say the least. In essence, I need to know your expectations so I can go about exceeding every one. And oh yeah, don’t forget the sunscreen!

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