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As a wedding photographer, I sometimes do destination weddings. Normally, it’s a Cleveland resident having their wedding in their hometown outside of Cleveland, or in an exotic location. I love when I get an opportunity to challenge myself as a photographer. Going to a strange, new location for a wedding definitely enhances the creative experience and is always exciting. But, it’s not without it’s challenges. I want to address those challenges.
Why Take a Local Photographer to Your Destination Wedding?
Most destination locations, such as resorts, that accommodate weddings, have a “staff” photographer to photograph their events. Or, they subcontract a specific photographer for their events. Now, I don’t want to criticize these photographers. But, I can tell you for sure that, in general, these photographers are not the best that you can find in the area and definitely would not be the best in your local area. So, if getting the best wedding pictures that you can is important to you, you should consider the slightly added expense of hiring a local wedding photographer (or me 🙂 ) for your destination wedding.
Also, hiring a local photographer for your destination wedding will make for better wedding pictures. How? You will get to know your photographer and establish trust. They will get to know you better. You will feel more comfortable with them and learn how they work when they photograph you, especially if you do a local engagement session. This is very important on a wedding day. Your wedding photographer will (or should) be with you all day during all of the intimate and emotional moments. You have to be comfortable enough with them that you can let these moments happen without being self conscious of having a stranger in the room taking your pictures.
A photographer provided by the destination venue will be just that. A stranger. Usually, the first time that you meet them will be the morning of your wedding right when they start to photograph you! Not what I would recommend, at all.
Transporting Photo Equipment to the Wedding’s Destination
Normally, when traveling, you take your most essential elements in your carry on bag. Toiletry case, a change of clothes, and other important items. When traveling to a destination wedding, the photo equipment bag becomes your carry on. So, you must find space in your already full camera bag, or go without. Not so simple.
The number one and biggest challenge when photographing a destination wedding is transporting my photography equipment. I NEVER check my photo bag. If everything else gets lost, at least I have my equipment and can accomplish the main goal of the trip, which is to photograph the wedding. Taking a chance of losing my photo equipment by checking it is absolutely not an option.
And a destination wedding for a local photographer doesn’t have to mean somewhere out of the country. I’ve done photo sessions in Chicago, Salt Lake City, Scottsdale, Arizona, Pittsburgh and Florida.
A Destination Wedding Is NOT a Vacation
Some folks and some photographers might consider photographing a wedding in Jamaica or the Bahamas or some other location a vacation. Some photographers even give huge discounts for destination weddings because of this. To me, it is anything but a vacation. It’s work. It’s difficult and challenging work if you care about the wedding pictures. My main focus and objective on on a destination wedding is my clients and getting the best wedding pictures that I possible can. Considering a destination wedding a vacation would be a disservice to my clients.
Accommodations for the Out of Town Wedding
A destination wedding isn’t quite as simple as leaving your home office or studio and showing up at the first wedding day location. After the travel challenges, there is getting to your car if you need one. Navigating thru a strange locale. Checking into your hotel, and all that that entails. Taking all of your stuff to your room. The normal things that you do when you travel. A destination wedding adds another, thick layer to that.
The Wedding Day
The wedding day itself is probably the easiest part to the whole destination wedding process. And the most fun. Like I mentioned, unknown and unique locations challenge me creatively. For a destination, ALL of the locations are usually unknown and unique to me. So being EXTRA creative is enhanced.
For a bride and groom, a destination wedding is a way to do something different, exotic, and more intimate. Taking a local photographer will enhance the wedding day experience because you have someone that you know and can trust. That will ensure that you have better pictures. Knowing that the photographer has extra layers to their work will justify any additional fees that they may have and give you the piece of mind that you will get the best outcome.