Destination wedding photography advice for couples planning a destination wedding: What you really need to consider and be aware of when it comes to your wedding photography and film.
Khush Magazine recently asked us to share our experience and offer some advice specifically for couples who need to book destination wedding photography. Interestingly we have just had to make this very important decision for ourselves because we are having a destination wedding in July in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Whilst we felt it was essential to book a local wedding planner (Katarina of Dukata Weddings and Events) we always knew that we would bring a photography and cinematography team with us and chose based on both style and personality as it will be a very intimate wedding party of just 30 guests.
A local Wedding Photographer?:
Just because you have booked a destination wedding doesn’t mean you need to book a local photographer or cinematographer – although they might know the area well they might not be the most experienced or creative choice. When Brent and I were away shooting destination wedding photography in the Seychelles we happened upon a beach wedding ceremony unfolding and stopped to watch for a while. We were a little bit shocked at what the local photographer was doing – both technically and creatively and when he had gone we offered to take some extra shots for the couple on their iPhone. Great image makers can create beautiful work in locations they haven’t shot before and relish the opportunity to shoot somewhere unique and fabulous. They will definitely want to arrive with c. 24 hours to spare – to allow for delays, time differences and a recce after discussing location options with you, the wedding planner or venue.
The right personality match:
Many destination weddings are also quite intimate in terms of guests so it is important that you really like your photographer/cinematographer and their personalities are a good match for you and your family/friends.
Destination wedding photography travel requirements:
Ensure that everyone is clear on travel requirements, what is required and what the potential timescales are – some countries like Russia have a very strict visa policy even for tourist entry and it can take a few weeks to organise the necessary official documents. We had to visit the Russian Visa Office in London on 2 separate occasions before we were given the necessary paperwork to shoot a destination wedding in Saratov, Russia.
If your team are travelling to the location then they will almost certainly need a bigger than average luggage allowance for destination wedding photography – experienced teams will take all of their key equipment on the plane (along with the outfit they will shoot the wedding in) and use the hold allowance for all other non-essentials– they will put their kit as the top priority and assume that they can buy everything else in the event of a suitcase going AWOL. Getting off the plane with our kit in hand is all we care about!
Destination Wedding Challenges:
If you are planning an outdoor ceremony make sure you include your photographer/cinematographer in discussions about the timing and layout of the ceremony – their input will have a huge impact on whether the available light will be flattering or causing them unnecessary technical challenges. Whilst a beach wedding is hugely romantic it can be very difficult to photograph if the couple stand with their backs to the light and may well require additional lighting such as on-camera flash to prevent unflattering shadows or underexposed images.
Location Sessions for Destination Wedding Photography:
If the location is particularly gorgeous it is worth planning a separate shoot to make the most of the backdrop without taking you away from your wedding celebrations. For our destination wedding photography in Dubrovnik in July, we are flying a team out from the UK and have organised a separate location session 2 days after the wedding where we can take our time and travel to the best spots without any time pressures. Alternatively ,you can dress much more casually for another session that feels more like an engagement shoot where you can also choose the best time of day for photography – early in the morning or the golden hour just before sunset.
Does Destination Wedding Photography cost more?
It can be more expensive to fly a team to your location for destination wedding photography because you should expect to pay for the time that a photographer/cinematographer has to spend travelling to your destination and being away from their office/business – although this should be a much lower rate than the wedding shoot itself. This also means that you can ask them to cover other events that surround the wedding – dinners, lunches, trips etc which is often what makes a destination wedding so memorable.