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How to become a destination wedding photographer

Destination weddings can seem like the holy grail of the wedding industry. Far off countries, remote locations, ceremonies taking place on top of mountains or on white sand beaches…they really can be incredible. But it’s important to realize that they are not the benchmark for success by which we should measure our career or self-worth. Making a living doing what you love is the end-all-be-all, and there are at least 10,000 ways to get there.

I personally love shooting destination weddings, and I’m beyond thankful that I have the opportunity to do so often. Below, I’ll share three things that have helped me become a destination wedding photographer.

1. Secure the Local Market

Reading the phrase ”local market” may seem counterintuitive when we’re meant to be talking about destination weddings, but stay with me. Time and again I hear from fellow photographers who are just beginning their careers that their goal is to shoot all over the world. Often, they put this ambition in front of the more sequentially natural and attainable goal of booking jobs in their own local market. You’re probably not going to like hearing this but.

Of the 130+ photographers I’ve worked with, the 10 who have found the most success all have one thing in common: they conquered their local markets first.

Conversely, I can also think of a few photographers I’ve worked with who were extremely talented and had incredible potential, but just never quite made the jump from potential to actual success. The common thread with these photographers? They wanted to book their dream jobs immediately, and felt that local, small-budget jobs weren’t worth their time or attention.

If you’re hoping to build a lasting, successful career that you love, you have to play the long game and pay your dues. There is no such thing as a fast-track to success.

I launched my business in Salem, Oregon, where I grew up. I was able to harness a number of connections from family and friends in town to immediately get the word out about my new business. I also printed flyers and business cards and gave stacks to every local business willing to hand them out or post them in their window. I had the Activity Director at my old high school dole out flyers to students promoting a special on senior photos. All of these flyers and random connections cast a wide net, allowing a lot of people to hear about me and see my work. Were all of those people potential clients? Probably not, but everyone most likely knew at least one person who was looking for a photographer.

After a few years of working hard in my local area, building a strong system of support, and employing dozens of strategies to get my name and work out there, I soon became the go-to wedding photographer in my local area.

2. Know When To Expand

Only after you build a strong foundation for your business by conquering your local market should you look to expand. I personally knew it was time when a number of things were consistently taking place:

  1. My name recognition in the local market was strong—with consistent referrals from other industry vendors as well as general connections throughout the area.
  2. I received, on average, 10 inquiries a week from brides and planners requesting pricing and availability for weddings taking place in Oregon.
  3. My schedule was full—with weddings booked every weekend throughout the Oregon wedding season.

When you feel comfortable in your home market and have an itch to break into new territory, keep in mind that just like the initial, local growth of your business, expanding into new markets will take time, patience, and hard work.

3. Make the Most of the Opportunity

My wife Amy and I love to travel, and for us, destination weddings have provided the opportunity to see new places all over the world. What they don’t always provide, however, are big paychecks—especially when you’re first breaking into the destination market. The first few destination weddings you book will likely not make you much money. In fact, you may end up in the hole after taking into account all travel and photography expenses. It is important that you keep this in mind, and realistically assess whether the investment of taking a loss on your first few destination jobs is worth it for your business. For me, it was definitely a worthwhile investment.

My first destination wedding was a 10-year vow-renewal for a couple from Kentucky who wanted to renew their vows in Norway, where the bride’s family was from, and where they’d gotten engaged years prior. They didn’t have a massive budget, as it was going to be a small family affair. Fortunately, being photographers themselves, they put a high emphasis on photography, and were able to cover all of our film and travel expenses. When all was said and done, I took home about $500 in profit for this job, but the experience, the images, and the notoriety it afforded me were worth far more than a single paycheck.

I capitalized on this opportunity by booking two additional weddings at a Chateau in France on back-to-back Saturdays. They were the two lowest paying jobs I booked that year (I ended up spending about $1,500 more than I made, taking into account travel expenses) but it was an investment that would swiftly pay off in a myriad of ways. That French Chateau now refers me just about every bride and groom who walk through their doors, and I often receive inquiries from couples who first found and fell in love with my work because of the features those first few destination weddings generated for me.

The path to securing international bookings is different for everyone. But the work, patience, and fortitude necessary to stay the course is always the same. Be smart in capitalizing on opportunities, and know that by putting a game plan in place you’re well on your way to booking the destination weddings that are right for you.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

When I started my journey as a wedding photographer, I thought that being paid to travel somewhere and photograph a destination wedding would be just about as awesome as it could get. It was my dream to become a destination wedding photographer, and it’s a dream I know that a lot of you share.

Within my first year of business, I’d booked my first destination wedding, and now I shoot a number of them each year. I often hear photographers asking in online communities how they can get in to the market, so here are my top 5 tips based on my experiences:

How To Become A Destination Wedding Photographer

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Referrals Are Your Best Friend

Getting a referral, whatever stage you are in your business, is amazing. My First destination wedding booking was a referral from a previous local wedding. I’d developed a great relationship with the couple both before and on the wedding day itself. The sister of the groom was already engaged, saw the relationship I had with the couple, how I worked on the day and loved the pictures that I delivered. So a month after that wedding, I got an email from her asking if I would consider flying with them to capture their destination wedding. Of course I said YES! No matter how stressful a wedding day is, how challenging a guest can be or how tired you are, always try to remember that you are a walking advertisement for your business, long before anyone sees the pictures, and always treat everyone with kindness and respect. People notice.

Make It Easy For Couples To Book You

Have you ever looked at a menu or price list and just been overwhelmed by all the options? One of the biggest challenges a couple planning their wedding faces is overwhelm. I’ve found that having a pricing brochure that includes my travel fee as part of the package amount makes it much simpler for the couple. They can see exactly what they need to pay you, and know that you’ll take care of everything.

Blog About Your Own Adventures

A number of my destination wedding bookings have come after I’ve blogged about my own travels. With a good knowledge of SEO, you can turn your holiday photos into 2 or 3 informative blog posts about destination weddings in the location you’ve just visited.

Don’t Shoot For Free

We’ve all done it, myself included. A referral in a Facebook group, a “Bucket List” section on your website. In the desperation to book a dream location, we offer our services for free in return for our expenses being covered. But here’s the thing. Most of us are aware of the phrase “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. And people are wary of that. Unless a couple is super budget conscious, they might view the person with the high prices as being of a higher quality, so by offering your services on the cheap, you might be giving them the impression that you aren’t worth that higher price tag. It might be great to have an all-expenses paid trip, but you might find that you’ll be too busy working to really enjoy the experience.

Build A Destination Portfolio

A lot of people are familiar with the phrase “Show what you want to shoot”. If you want to shoot something other than local church weddings, you need to show on your portfolio that you can do that. I’ve said above that I don’t think you should shoot a destination wedding for free. As well as the reasons above, if you are shooting a real wedding for free, you’ve got no creative control over how the day looks. And if you are donating your time, you want to to know that you’re going to have pictures that you want to show. Here are some of the best ways you can build a destination portfolio without working for free:

– Connect with local photographers and do a “shoot swap”
– Connect with local vendors for a styled shoot
– Approach a random couple who you think would be a good fit and offer them a free mini shoot
– Attend destination workshops or portfolio building shoots
– Perfect the “self-timer tripod selfie”

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

If you want to build your destination portfolio, come to the Austria Alps Retreat this October.
Join us for hiking, learning and portfolio building in the stunning Tirolean countryside.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

PHOTO BY REBECCA YALE PHOTOGRAPHY

Whether you’re saying “I do” on the beach or atop a mountain, you need the right photographer to capture those dreamy memories. But how do you go about hiring a photographer for your destination wedding if you don’t know the local market?

According to destination wedding photographer Bethel Ann Clark, it’s similar to hiring a local wedding photographer—but there are some tips and tricks to keep in mind. “It’s important to have a connection with your photographer first and foremost,” Clark says. “It can also be surprisingly affordable, which is something many couples don’t realize. If I knew how affordable a destination wedding could’ve been, I would have done it myself!”

Meet the Expert

Bethel Ann Clark is a seasoned wedding photographer based in Pennsylvania. She has photographed weddings everywhere from Italy to India.

How to Find a Destination Wedding Photographer

Finding a wedding photographer in your hometown isn’t challenging—many couples ask for friend and family recommendations—but what if you don’t know anyone who’s tied the knot in your destination of choice? Clark says you have two options: Hire a photographer from your destination or find a closer-to-home destination photographer willing to travel. Either one works, but the latter may help you foster a connection with your photographer, which will ultimately put you at ease on the big day.

“Both options are fine, but sometimes it’s harder to connect with a photographer who’s overseas,” she says. “If you’re searching for a destination photographer who’s willing to travel, make sure they actually like to travel and do it a lot. Look at their Instagram stories or blog. If they have experience traveling, they’ll be able to think on the fly and find solutions for you when things go wrong—because when travel is involved, things inevitably go wrong.”

It’s great if your destination wedding photographer has actually photographed a wedding in your chosen location, but Clark says that’s not as important as their experience with travel.

“It’s ideal if they’ve photographed there because they’ll have helpful insights,” she says. “But if you really love their work and you’re connecting with them as a person, just make sure they have travel experience with at least a similar location so you know they understand the logistics and potential problems.”

So how do you go actually about finding this destination wedding photographer? Start on Instagram and look through hashtags like #destinationweddingphotographer, or search for destination wedding photography on Pinterest to see which wedding photography styles resonate best with you. Then, pull your list together and head over to their websites. Browse their previous wedding galleries, learn a bit about the photographers, set up calls or in-person meetings, and see which one you click with best.

Destination Wedding Photographer Cost

The short and obvious answer to how much a wedding photographer costs is it varies, but the general rule of thumb is it includes the wedding photographer’s typical cost, plus flights, two nights of accommodations, meals, and transportation. For most wedding photographers, typical prices are between $3,000 to $6,000; so just add estimated travel prices for your specific destination to get a general idea.

Far-flung weddings may seem glamorous and luxe, but Clark says destination wedding photography isn’t always as expensive as it seems. She’s a budget traveler at heart, and like many fellow travel lovers—which includes destination wedding photographers—she’s always looking for deals to help her clients save, too.

“Prices will depend on who you’re hiring and where your wedding is, but for someone like me, I like to travel as cheaply as possible,” she said. “Also, destination weddings, in general, can be less expensive than expected. You typically have fewer people attending so you save in areas like catering. Or, if you have a big wedding planned, you’ve probably already budgeted for that price level anyway.”

When it comes to paying for travel, it’s typically best for the photographer to book their own travel and send receipts to the client for reimbursement. This is important because the photographer may have an airline or flight-route preferences based on gear; just make sure to set a budget cap based on average prices before they buy to avoid any issues.

Things to Consider When Hiring

It’s important to make sure your destination wedding photographer has experience with travel, but Clark says to keep an eye out for photographers who use destination weddings solely for the free trip. “A lot of photographers are out there trying to make it big in destination wedding photography, but some just want it for the trip or to add this to their portfolio. Their heart isn’t in the right place,” she says. “Find somebody who cares about your wedding first and foremost. You want to get married in this beautiful place, but at the end of the day, you’re getting married. That’s why you’re there!”

This red flag is a bit trickier to spot. If the photographer is sharing past travels on their blog and Instagram, they check that travel-experience box, right? Yes, Clark says, but it really comes down to the tone. “Look at their Instagram captions or blog content. Are they bragging about the places they’ve visited or talking about why the weddings in these places were magical?” she says. “Look for the photographer who’s more about the moments and less about the flashy images. Meaningful captions about the wedding, not just the destination, are a good sign.”

Another mistake couples make when hiring a destination wedding photographer? Making sure that the photographer can actually work in your destination. Clark says she’s never had issues working in places like Europe or even India, but rules do vary—and that’s something you should clarify before signing a contract.

“Every place is different, but for me, I know I can’t legally work in Canada, so I don’t take weddings there,” she says. There are loopholes and roundabout ways to do this, but it’s a headache and not worth it, in her opinion. Most destination wedding venues or planners will have insights based on past experience, so you can gather this intel from them before starting your destination wedding photographer search.

Clark says photography permits in the U.S. are stricter than most overseas destinations, but this is something your photographer should research and help you navigate. That said, she recommends taking a step back before even having the permit discussion to make sure your photographer understands your unique interests as a couple. It’s easy for destination wedding photographers to get caught up in the destination’s most iconic beauty and photo spots—but it really comes down to what you, as a couple, want most.

“Your photographer will help with location scouting, but make sure they’re picking locations based on who you and your partner are, not just whether or not a backdrop will look amazing,” Clark says. “I like to ask my couples where they feel more peaceful and inspired, and I choose the location based on that criteria.”

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and no one can tell you better than Kenny Kim, a photographer who’s carved his niche in the destination wedding business. In this Bokeh podcast episode, Kenny shares how relationships have helped fast-track his business and made him the go-to photographer for destination weddings.

You can also subscribe to the Bokeh podcast on the Apple podcast app by clicking here!

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Meet the Host

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Nathan Holritz is an entrepreneur based in Chattanooga, TN. Starting in professional photography 17 years ago, Nathan helped bring a modern style of premium wedding photography to the Chattanooga market via Holritz Photography.

While helping run Holritz Photography, Nathan saw both a personal and industry need for a company that could handle the post-processing of the thousands of images photographed at weddings. He created Photographer’s Edit, a company geared toward providing a solution for professional photographers to outsource this post-processing following weddings and large events. The company was launched in 2008, and has continued to grow since, processing millions of images for wedding and portrait photographers.

In his free time, Nathan enjoys spending time with his kids, his family, and his friends. He also enjoys reading, playing soccer, and riding motorcycles.

For women who build empires and travel the world

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Ever wonder how to become a destination wedding photographer? It’s a pretty incredible job! It’s one thing to be able to capture one of the most romantic days of a couple’s relationship, and it’s another to be able to travel to their dreamy wedding venues to do it!

We sat down with the lovely Mikkel of Sometimes Home to chat about how she became a wedding photographer and travel blogger, and what advice she’d give those who aspire to do the same.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I am a wedding photographer and travel writer who runs two small businesses.

My degree is in Landscape Architecture, and my career experience is in theme park design and professional retouching, prior to going full time on my two passions.

I’ve lived all over the East Coast from New York to Florida, Washington DC, and North Carolina. I spend about 40% of the year in the NY/NJ Tri-State area, 40% of the year in North Carolina, and 20% travel, including both domestic and international destinations.

How did you get started doing this? What appealed to you?

It was a beautiful transformation from following my passion of photography, including traveling for jobs, to starting to write about my explorations, to starting a travel blog.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

What is your favorite part of the job? Are there any downsides?

I LOVE being my own boss and being in command of my schedule. I’m also very much self-driven and an incredibly hard worker.

I think the only downside is knowing you don’t have a “steady” paycheck coming in but there are ways to feel financially secure if you’re responsible about spending, saving, and smart about running your business.

What are important skills you should have if you want to do this successfully?

You MUST be self-driven to succeed and be good with time management. No one but YOU is accountable for your success or failure when you work solo. Here’s an article I wrote about 5 Qualities Every Successful Blogger Must Possess. I feel it touches on a lot of important skills I have that I advise others should have too.

How often do you have to travel for your work?

I hit the road about every 3 weeks or so for work.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

How much do you earn per month with this? (yep: dish the deetz!)

I’m not going to get into specifics because I don’t like to speak publicly about money much, but it’s likely I hit close to 6 figures every year. (To be clear, that’s from photography, not travel writing.)

It’s difficult to say what a typical month looks like because my income varies each month because of my profession(s).

What would be your advice for people wanting to start working as a destination wedding photographer?

You need to work locally to build your portfolio then find ways to expand into an international market. A lot of my destination and international weddings are the result of genuine LOCAL relationships. 🙂

A great example is how I came to meet Eboni and Carl and photograph their wedding in Jamaica. She works in TV production and worked with a wedding planner on some television segments. When Eboni and Carl got engaged she turned to that planner for photographer recommendations. That how she found me.

Could you give a little step-to-step guide on how people would get started as a wedding photographer?

You need to get decent as a photographer first. Then reach out to photographers in your area to come along as an assistant or second or third shooter.

In the meantime, I recommend asking family and friends if you can photograph them to gain some practice and images for your portfolio. I won’t even consider a second photographer who reaches out if they don’t have a portfolio to show me because it means two things: 1) they’re inexperienced and 2) they’re not passionate about progressing as a photographer.

If you’re curious to really learn how I got started, give a listen to my interview on Photography Field Notes. 😉 It includes information on establishing yourself in multiple locations too.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

What does a typical day look like for you?

I often think, “You should write about what a week in your life looks like!” because no two days are the same. I wish I was great about setting a schedule every day but I’m a creative person. Which means I go with the flow with my finicky personality when it comes to a schedule.

Some days I wake up at 7:30 am and start to work, some days I wake up at 9:30 am because I went to bed after 1:00 am.

In a typical month, however, I am consistently answering a ton of emails, creating timelines for couples, ordering products like albums, doing a LOT of social media scheduling and posting (from Instagram to Facebook, Pinterest, G+ and more), and creating a lot of blog content. I also do double duty on many of these tasks for Mikkel Paige Photography and Sometimes Home.

Any other tips or advice for aspiring photographers?

Practice, get out and shoot and ALWAYS shoot on manual. Also, read what you can and engage in photography Facebook groups and associated forums.

Thanks to Mikkel for sharing her story and tips for becoming a destination wedding photographer and travel blogger! Check out her work and follow her below:

How many photographers do you know who travel to different countries and photograph weddings in beautiful and exotic locations? The question is: are those wedding photographers legally allowed to work outside of their home country, or are they rolling the dice on having their equipment confiscated and them being blacklisted from entering that country again?

Taylor Jackson is a Canadian-based wedding photographer who shoots dozens of weddings a year, and he has a question for professionals who make their income from destination weddings around the world. How are you legally photographing these weddings in these exotic locales? Are you really getting work permits to photograph your weddings or are you “taking a vacation” and just so happen to be photographing a wedding as a friend of the bride and groom while possibly accepting pay in advance?

I’ve seen this among some USA-based photographers for a long time with them traveling into Canada, where Jackson is from, where they are photographing engagements, weddings, and elopements in areas like Banff National Park, which itself requires its own specific permits for Canadian residents working in the park. Canada takes its work permits very seriously, as does the USA and many EU countries, as they want to protect work that can be fulfilled in their respective territories by their own citizens. The issue is some photographers flout those laws and do so at their own risk.

Do you or someone you know who works as a destination wedding photographer do so legally? If so, share the process that you have gone through to legally be able to travel from your home country or territory and work around the globe.

JT Blenker, Cr. Photog., CPP is a Photographic Craftsman and Certified Professional Photographer who also teaches workshops throughout the USA focusing on landscape, nightscape, and portraiture. He is the Director of Communications at the Dallas PPA and is continuing his education currently in the pursuit of a Master Photographer degree.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

The wedding is a precious moment in everyone’s life and a good photographer makes it awesome by clicking extraordinary photos which you will never forget in your life. If you are the one who thinks of doing marriage somewhere else from your home town then Gujrati Destination Wedding Photographers is the great option to opt for your wedding make more cheerful by clicking great shots.

Some tips on choosing your destination wedding photographer;

  • Take your photographer with you

By taking your local photographer along with you to a destination wedding is what we recommend you strongly. Leading Indian wedding photographers travel around the world on assignments and have adequate experience in taking stunning shots. Indian photographers know the rituals and precious moments of an Indian wedding which venue photographer might don’t know that well.

If you choose someone local than you can talk and meet them in person and describe your expectations more clearly.

  • Buy your time

A photographer is very important at your wedding so don’t rush on it. Just go through their portfolios, their online work if any or trailers of the wedding. We suggest you meet them face-to-face for better communication with them, as you have to spend more than half of the time with them to see if you are feeling comfortable, if not then move to the next photographer.

  • Style and process of the photographer

In making the right choice this part is important. Each photographer has a different opinion and a distinct style of working. The type of wedding you anticipate should also scale in when you are making a decision. While talking to your photographer, explain the theme, style, mood of your wedding and what you want. Ask them questions about their persona of taking photos and what style they prefer most. Prepare yourself before the wedding day for better images of you and your partner.

  • Don’t annihilate with budget

Budget is certainly an important factor in choosing up a photographer. The good element doesn’t come cheap. The top photographers are undoubtedly on the higher side of money, but the expense is really worth it! We understand that money is an important aspect while taking a decision. If the photographer that you like is over budget then talk to them and see that if they had any modify package for you. No photographer wants their customer to go to someone other only because of money. In recent years, many couples cut down budget only to spend it on photography and we can say that they make the best decision in their life by cutting down and spend it over photography. At least keep a minimum of 10% for photography from your total budget.

  • Analyze the coverage

You might only get a few hours of coverage in the venue with a photographer. The hour-based coverage does not work well for you because Indian weddings are apt to go on for days and also late in the night. Taking your own photographer with you at the venue will make sure that you have their assurance and attention. Ensure that you talk about the coverage and extra charges if the program goes late so that you will not get surprised after marriage.

  • Can they accustom

Before finalizing a photographer make sure that the company or photographer you have booked has enough resources to be capable of a manage destination wedding. If you are planning a grand destination wedding with approx 200 people then it’s important that they have a crew who are capable of taking photos and videos without compromising and with enough resources. If the wedding photographer is independent, they tend to hire a freelancer for completing a task. Still whoever is your photographer is they have skills to manage throughout the wedding ceremony with an excellent crew.

There are some more issues like lenses, memory back-up’s, camera. Can they manage to deal if any of their equipment fails in between the ongoing ceremony?

One of the first things to do after setting a wedding date and booking a venue is to hire the photographer. A good wedding photographer can be booked up to 9 months in advance so it isn’t something you want to wait on. But how do you hire a photographer if you’re planning a destination wedding?

A great starting point for finding a photographer that is asking the venue for their list of local recommendations. Using this as a starting point, you can see if any of the photographers resonate with you.

Look through all of their wedding albums and see if their style matches the visions that you have in your head. You want someone that’s compatible, and that can deliver quality work.

Hiring a wedding photographer is more difficult when you can’t meet with them face to face. Being able to talk and discuss wedding plans, ideas and interviewing them is a great way to see if they can meet your high standards.

You may find that it is actually easier to hire a destination wedding photographer.

Those are photographers who are willing to travel to the location of the wedding and take your photos. This means that you can look at and meet with talented photographers, and choose one to come with you for your big day.

If you have a favorite wedding photographer who lives in another state or country, you can hire them too. That’s what’s really great about destination wedding photographers, you aren’t limited to just one spot. You can choose someone from anywhere!

What to look for in a destination wedding photographer

Experience

Whether it’s a destination wedding or not, you always want an experienced wedding photographer. Someone who has done weddings before and knows the timeline. They understand the rush and can help you feel at ease.

Not only that, but you need a photographer that is able to shoot in the area your wedding is being hosted. There’s a big difference between taking photos in the city and taking photos in a tropical environment. Your photographer needs to be able to prepare for both to ensure that there isn’t a mechanical failure and that the photos turn out great.

Willing to travel early

If you’re taking your wedding photographer to a new-to-them place, it’s really helpful that they arrive a few days early. This gives them a chance to scout out the local area and venue. Which means that when you’re ready for your pictures, they’ll already know where to go and what to do to get the best shots.

It also means that you don’t have to worry about them getting lost on your big day. Scheduling their flight too close to the wedding day could result in plane delays and not having a photographer at the wedding.

They work with you on the budget

Good photographers are worth their weight in gold, and sometimes paying for them can feel like just that. A good photographer will help you with the budgeting. Let them know what you can afford, and see if they have packages or payment plans available to help ease the cost.

Traveling with your photographer means the added expenses of their travel, lodging, and possibly other needs. Your destination wedding photographer should help you to know the exact costs that you’ll be expected to pay so that there are no surprises and you can budget accordingly.

Talent and Style

Make sure that when looking through your photographer’s wedding albums, you look for their style. Every photographer has their own way of doing things, and it should be easy to spot a trend. Are they more “in the moment” catching candid shots or do they stick with more basic poses? Consider their style and make sure that it matches your own.

Also, make sure to look at their whole portfolio and not just the favorited images online. This will help you see if their quality is cohesive. You want to look for someone who isn’t heavy-handed with the editing as that could be a sign of covering up for a lack of experience.

Compatible with you

When looking for your wedding photographer you should look for one that is so compatible with you that you feel you could be friends in real life. If you think you can see yourself sipping cocktails or catching a football game together, they might just be your perfect cameraman.

After all, they’re going to your wedding and spending 90% of the day with you. They’ll share in your nerves, tears, smiles, and frustrations. They’re going to meet your closest friends and family too. The more connected you feel to them, the more comfortable you’ll be, and you’ll see the results in the photos.

Remember to ask how long you really have them for

You paid to bring them to the location days in advance and probably have them staying 1 or 2 days after the wedding too, so how long do you really have them for? Do you get to keep them all day/night if the events run long?

If your wedding photographer offers it, ask about capturing the moments up until the wedding and the first day after. This way you will have photos showing your whole wedding story and not just a day from it. Thereby making more memories shareable with future generations.

Hiring a wedding photographer is one of the most expensive things you’ll pay for.

Unlike cake, flowers, decor, and music, you won’t be able to eat, smell, see or hear it until after the wedding is over. Meaning that there needs to be a great level of trust between you and your photographer. You can’t go back in time and relive the wedding day over, so make sure you take the time to choose a destination wedding photographer that is right for you.

There seems to be a mystery around a travel and destination wedding photographer. How do you break into that market and how do you afford it? While at WPPI this year, I attended a class with Laura Grier who shed some light on her business and lifestyle.

Laura has a fascinating and adventurous career in photography. She grew up in Indonesia and the US, as a child of parents who worked for the CIA. This lifestyle planted roots for her quest to travel and document stories. She has been to six continents and spoke for WPPI, WIPA, Catersource, Step Up Women’s Network, and the Wedding MBA Conference. Along with photographing 40-50 weddings a year, she works and travels for Novica/National Geographic Catalog. I had a chance to speak with Laura in which she explained four important factors that have lead to her success as a travel and destination wedding photographer.

Branding: Laura emphasizes the importance of branding in her business. She has branded her business around the lifestyle she wants she wants to lead. She has become an expert in destination and adventure photography. How does she convince clients to pay more to fly her to these destinations? She provides them an experience that they wouldn’t receive from a resort photographer. She offers her clients unlimited time and coverage during the designated days she is at their wedding. This allows her time to document other experiences and photograph fun and unique shoots that are also great portfolio builders. Laura promotes the fact that she has extensive travel experience, thus a major selling point for her clients.

Her style has remained consistent throughout the trends of the photography industry. Her look is bright and colorful which she believes attracts adventurous and spontaneous people. When the vintage trend became popular a few years ago, she did not conform. She instead styled a retro shoot to show her take on the new vintage trend. Keeping her style consistent allows her clients to better understand what they will be receiving when hiring her to document their day.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Networking: Laura’s marketing plan is simply based off of networking. Her marketing plan consists of creating business alliances and collaborating with others. She has created strong relationships with a chosen few wedding coordinators which provide a great source of leads. She targets locations where she wants to shoot. When she selects a venue, she will set up a meeting with the catering manager or ask the hotel if she can be on their vendor list. She makes a point to visit in person. This face to face marketing plan allows her to build relationships with those who will help her business grow.

What does she do with the budget set aside for marketing? She spends that money building relationships. Instead of paying for an online or print ad, she invites vendors out to lunch/dinner, sets up a styled with a couple vendors, or travels to new locations to make new connections. Creating strong business alliances and collaborating with others has proved extremely effective for keeping her schedule booked year round.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Travel: If you want to be a destination photographer you have to get out and travel! Photograph new locations, thus further branding yourself as a traveler. Laura also recommends targeting specific locations and planning a trip to visit and photograph around the area. Even if you are traveling for leisure or pleasure, pack your camera gear and be sure to blog those beautiful scenic images. The more people see you traveling; they will think of you as an expert.

If Laura knows she will be traveling somewhere, she does her best to set-up a styled shoot. She travels to every destination with her photography gear in tow. She makes it a personal challenge to find inspiration where ever she travels that will further add to her portfolio. Her passion for traveling recently made her start up her travel blog, Wanderlust by Laura Grier. At this blog, she shows clients the many destinations she has documented while traveling and her experiences.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Video: Laura uses video to brand herself as a destination photographer. Her branding is built around providing an experience; video is a growing and extremely effective marketing tool for reaching her clients. Since most professional SLR cameras are equipped with video, she decided to use a tool which was already available to her. Creating videos with a behind the scenes looks has dramatically increased her bottom line. In fact, she started creating videos on her adventures a couple years ago in efforts to capture her and her clients experiences.

Laura’s website was allowing clients to see what the final product would look like, but they had no idea what it took to get these shots. Her videos show her personality, how she works, and the overall experience of having her as a photographer. The behind the scenes video shows her fearless drive to get the shot. These videos are a great way to show the experience she offers clients and the amazing locations she has traveled to. Laura now has a YouTube channel dedicated to her travel adventures and photo-shoots which can be seen here.

To view more of Laura’s travel and destination photography click here. To view other videos of her behind the scenes travel work with NOVICA click here. She will also be launching destination workshops this summer to help photographers build their travel portfolios. For more information click here. I will leave you with an inspirational quote from Laura about how she built the foundation of her business:

“It’s not about who is the busiest, who makes the most money, or who has the most twitter followers. If you are doing exactly what you love, doing these things today like figuring out who you are and what your plan is, collaborating with others and creating business alliances, constantly putting yourself out there, you will live the lifestyle that you want to lead and your life will work for you. It’s all about positioning yourself to be in front of the right door when it opens.” –Laura Grier

Planning any wedding is an enormous task, but planning a destination wedding creates a whole other set of challenges. There are crazy logistics to contend with and you’ll have guests flying in from all over. It’s no small feat!

Selecting a wedding photographer can feel like a minefield at the best of times, but when you throw in a potential language barrier or the need to cross oceans, things can start to feel quite overwhelming.

With this in mind, I’m here to tell you how to choose a destination wedding photographer that’s right for you.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Pros and Cons

When you decide to get married overseas, you have two options. You can book a photographer who’s local to your venue or go with someone who’s local to you. The right choice will depend on a number of things.

If your wedding is taking place in a non-English speaking country, hiring a photographer who’s based nearby and fluent in the local language might make life a little easier. They’ll probably have a good knowledge of the area and may well have photographed a wedding at your venue before.

However, communicating could be tricky if their English is limited. There’s also the exchange rate to consider.

A good destination wedding photographer will be used to rocking up at a venue for the first time and creating great images regardless. They’ll also be confident travelling and working in a wide variety of locations. They’ll probably speak your language, and if you find yourself drawn to this option, chances are you already love their photography too.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer
How to Become a Destination Wedding PhotographerHow to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

What About Cost?

Booking a destination wedding photographer can involve a few additional costs. In most cases, you’ll need to cover return flights, airport transfers/car hire, accommodation and sometimes other expenses like food and drink.

Some photographers will offer an all-inclusive package and others might be willing to negotiate if your wedding is taking place somewhere particularly exotic or at a location they’d like to visit.

Style, Passion and Experience

Once you’ve weighed up all the pros and cons and got your head around the budget, the most important thing to consider is the photography itself.

Wherever a supplier is based, you need to love what they do and connect with their work. You also need to be confident in their abilities and feel relaxed in their company. These things are key to getting great images, so it’s important to explore a photographer’s portfolio and ask lots questions before you book.

For me, there’s nothing quite like a destination wedding. Whether it’s a secluded château nestled among vineyards in France, or a Tuscan villa beneath the blazing Italian sunshine, there’s a certain magic to shooting in such far-flung locations.

To date, I’ve been lucky enough to capture weddings in Italy, France and Germany, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. I’m always looking for an excuse to dig out my passport and pack a bag, so if you’re planning a destination wedding, please do get in touch.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

That’s How to Choose a Destination Wedding Photographer!

So there we have it. That’s how to choose a destination wedding photographer without breaking a sweat! It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll encounter while planning your wedding, so I hope you’ve found it useful.

If you’ve got any questions at all, just drop me a comment below. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Your Custom Text Here

Matt Druin Is a Destination Wedding Photographer based in Atlanta Ga. Today on the Beginner Photography Podcast he shares how he markets his destination wedding photography, how he booked his first destination wedding, and his unique approach to shooting engagements!

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • How Matt traded a tool box for his first camera
  • How much Matt got for his first paid job
  • How Matt went from 0 weddings to 25 weddings within just a year
  • Some of the downsides to being a destination wedding photographer
  • Some of the perks of being a destination wedding photographer
  • Why a couple would hire a destination wedding photographer over a local photographer
  • How to market yourself as a destination wedding photographer
  • Setting up workflows to save you time
  • How Matt booked his first destination wedding
  • Matts unique approach to engagement photography
  • Matts Destination wedding photography workflow
  • Matts computer back up strategy
  • What Matt would tell himself if he could go back in time

Resources

  • Matts website
  • Matts Facebook
  • Matts Instagram
  • Sprout Studio21 day FREE TRIAL and 10% off after that!
  • The Knot

I wasnt doing it for the money, I was doing it for the experience

There are some great perks to being a destination wedding photographer

I wasnt shooting for free, I was investing in myself

Destination wedding photography is no where as glamorous as it seems

I can do all the hard work on the plane ride home

The profession of photography is not easy. You must face many obstacles to become a successful photographer. If you want to become a successful photographic artist then you must care some points like:

  • You must have the quality to business side photography and you have knowledge about marketing, sales, and administration.
  • You must have a creative mind to put creativity in poses of photographs and moments
  • You must have a positive attitude to deal with every stressful and happiest moment.

If you have all three qualities then you defiantly know the professional life of a photographer. Read tips to make your photographer life more successful with respect:

  1. No one can make professional photographer in one day. Many years of experience, hard work and dedication make you the best photographer. And in your learning time period, you must make mistakes. So remember them and being humble, admit your mistakes and try to overcome them.
  2. Defense is always a sign of failure. For example, at any wedding, if someone clicks same pose picture that you are already clicked then you should be calm. Never offense or pressurize to that person for delete or remove the picture. You should make your picture different by using your creativity and then post them socially. It is a great way to show your positivity and creativity.
  3. It is not possible that which you think that exactly happens. So you always prepare for unexpected. Like sometimes you make the plan for the photo shoot and when you reach on destination then you see it doesn’t look like that what you think in your mind. So on that, you need to change your plan immediately. So always be ready for unexpected.
  4. You are very good in the profession but sometimes you meet those types of people which have different taste and they don’t like you. So never disappoint from rejection.
  5. If you want to become a successful businessman then never stick out from your business plan. Neither for friends nor for knows. Do your work with the same budget. Either it is a client or known.
  6. Always be a learner. Learn from criticism, learn from failures. Everyone is not your friend here. When you name on social media so both type of comments you face. Some appreciate your photography and few discourage you. But you should learn from the negative thoughts of people about your photography and try to make positive with your next creation.
  7. Do experiment after some “must have” shots. Doing the experiment in every location is a good thing. It is healthy for your learning and creative poses or locations.
  8. When you take shots then there are some good and bad shots. So pick your bad shot and think why this happened? Why it is not good. Try to find out the Why to make them better. Review your own self and give points to your every shot. It will help you to make your skill better.
  9. Participate in online and offline communities and seminars to learn and grow faster. Because if you do this then you face lots of different ideas, people and many more things. You will learn something new every time.

These are some successful tips to make your photographer career successful. I hope these will be useful for you. If you have something to tell please comment freely.

When it comes to planning your wedding day, sometimes it seems there isn’t enough time or manpower to accomplish everything. What’s worse, no matter how hard you plan, issues are bound to arise on this special day. This is even more common if you’ve planned a destination wedding. While you must deal with the stress of locating a venue, securing flights and rooms for your wedding party and hatching out all the details from afar, when it comes to your wedding photographer, many are confused how to go about this process.

Hiring a Photographer for a Destination Wedding

When you hire a wedding photographer for a destination wedding, it’s best to think about this transaction as being an investment in your memories. While you can try to locate a local photographer (like this one), this runs the risk of not getting the quality you paid for or having to interact with a photographer that you do not enjoy. Because of this, many weddings choose to bring a local photographer with them to their destination wedding.

If you’re considering going this route, there are several considerations you must make. However, when done correctly, your wedding photographs will be just as beautiful as the destination.

Plan Early – When you’re planning on bringing a local photographer with you to a destination wedding, you must plan as early as possible. In most cases, a photographer needs three to six months notice to agree to a destination wedding. This is especially true if the wedding is being held in the summer months. Many wedding photographers are booked solid, thus it can be difficult to schedule a block of time for the photographer to travel.
Be Prepared for Expenses – Along with paying an additional rate for the photography services, you must also be prepared to pay for the photographer’s transportation to and from the destination. Along with this, you must also host the photographer in a hotel. It’s best to put the photographer in the same hotel that the wedding party is staying at. You never want the photographer to be too far away from the action. Lastly, you must be prepared to pay an additional “per day” rate, or per diem. This helps cover the cost of food and other expenses the photographer faces due to his travel to and from your wedding.
Schedule More Time – Do not simply fly the photographer on the day before and have him leave the day after. As with any venue, the photographer must take time to scout locations and determine the best way to capture your wedding. If the destination is across multiple time zones, consider flying the photographer into the destination at least 48-hours before the wedding. This gives him ample time to become adjusted to the new time zone and scout out locations for the perfect photographs. Remember, you’re paying a significant sum of money, the images better be worth the investment.

No formal education is required to be a wedding photographer; however, photographers need to understand how to use photographic equipment and set up shots to ensure quality images. A degree or courses in photography may help photographers attract clients and employers.

Essential Information

Wedding photographers work with couples to capture special moments on their wedding day. Although no formal education is required, aspiring wedding photographers may want to complete a postsecondary program in photography, since this competitive field requires workers to be both creative and technically proficient.

Required Education No formal education requirements; completion of a degree program in photography may be beneficial
Other Requirements Creativity and technical camera abilities essential; possession of photography equipment and strong business skills required for self-employed wedding photographers
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% decline for all photographers
Median Salary (2018)* $34,000 for all photographers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Wedding Photographer Job Description

Falling under the broader category of photographers, wedding photographers most often work on location taking photographs of wedding events on a contractual basis. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 64% of photographers were self-employed as of 2018. Photographers earned a median salary of $34,000 per year as of May 2018. The number of employed photographers was expected to decline 6% between 2018 and 2028.

Wedding Photographer Job Duties

In addition to taking photographs before, during and after wedding festivities, wedding photographers are also responsible for artistically composing the shots and processing the images, often on their own equipment. Wedding photographers must assess customer expectations, usually by discussing their wedding photo needs before the big event. On the wedding day, photographers must capture high quality images in an environment that is often hectic.

Self-employed wedding photographers must also run their own businesses by preparing contracts, drumming up business and staying abreast of the latest industry trends. Photo editing, developing and delivery comprise a large part of the wedding photographer’s job duties.

Wedding Photographer Job Requirements

Educational Requirements

Employers usually place more emphasis on creative and technical abilities than formal education when hiring wedding photographers, according to the BLS. However, there are associate’s, bachelor’s and even master’s degree programs in photography that can give wedding photographers both experience and skills in how to apply various photographic styles, use different lighting techniques and develop business acumen. Wedding photographers must also have an advanced understanding of digital and traditional camera mechanics, such as exposure, focus and different shutter speeds.

Equipment Requirements

Self-employed wedding photographers must have the appropriate photography equipment, including cameras, lenses, mounts, specialized lighting apparatuses and editing software. Full service websites can help independent contractors find new clients through sample galleries and provide an easy way for clients to access their photos. Photo editing software is a must, and these programs can be complex, which is another reason why formal education can be beneficial to a wedding photographer.

Business Requirements

A basic understanding of business finance, marketing, pricing, copyright laws and contracts is necessary for freelance wedding photographers. Without copyright protection, a photographer’s work might not be safe. Interpersonal skills are also very important for wedding photographers, who must interact with couples and their families during a stressful time. Much of the wedding photographer’s editing work may be done at home, so an appropriate office setting with current technology is usually necessary.

From 2014-2024 the job growth for all photographers is expected to be slower than average when compared to all occupations, per the BLS. In 2015 the BLS reported that 3 in 5 photographers are self employed, which means that most people entering this field need to be creative and talented in photography, and also able to manage their own business.

I’m helping my sister plan a destination wedding and she’s considering bringing her photographer to the destination. She says it’s actually cheaper to pay his travel than to hire someone down there and she gets him for the whole time instead of hourly. Also she gets a her local guy who did her engagement session and will be around local to create her album. Anyone else do this? Props to her photog for going. Their website is www.berryphotos.com

7 Comments

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

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The photographer we used for our wedding also does destination weddings. I found that it was not all that uncommon with MOST of the photographers in our area.

Also, there are photographers who specialize in destination weddings. (I assume they must live in really boring places where nobody gets married so they have to travel. )

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How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

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My photog shot THREE weddings in New Zealand this year– he lives in Long Island. A guy I went to elementary school with is also a pro photographer, and goes to Jamaica/the Carribean probably once a month to shoot destination weddings.

I would probably bring someone with me– that way you can meet them beforehand, have a bit more security if you don’t get edited photos back, etc.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

When planning a wedding abroad, one thing to keep in mind is that it is going to be harder to control every aspect of your wedding day than if you would plan your wedding at the chapel next door. Two good things you can do are get an independent wedding planner who knows the location and have him or her do the organization on location and find a wedding photographer you like.

Why Find An Independent Wedding Planner

Why an independent wedding planner? Simply because he or she is not paid by a certain resort and is not going to tell you anything you like to hear just to get you book that certain resort. Of course, you will have to trust this person; it is a good idea to wisely select a wedding planner who you are going to let plan your wedding. The upside is that you have one person who you trust and is on location and who will give his or her best to get the day the way you want it.

One problem of not being there in person all the time is that certain things have to be decided only by imagining how they might be or become. For example, you get an image of a flower arrangement and you want it just like that, but you can not see-touch-feel the flowers right away. So it always helps to have someone you can trust on location when it comes to makiong decisions.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Considerations When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

While this it true for decoration, flowers, table arrangements, etc., different rules apply for photographers. As the photography of your big day is going to be the lasting memory of all the effort you put into planning that day, and all the emotional moments that will happen, only trusting other people’s opinion will not do the job. With photography, it is very much about how well the photographer and the client can connect. Especially with wedding photography, where it comes to capturing intimate moments full of true love, you don’t want to have somebody close to you who you just can’t stand. The key to truly emotional shots is that you feel comfortable with the photographer.

You can tell if a bride felt happy in every single picture by simply looking into her face.

So just booking the resort’s standard photographer because they say he or she is good most of the time will not make you happy. It’s all about building trust. You should ask yourself is: What happens if the photographer loses a memory card? Who is responsible for that? The resort? The photographer you don’t even know the name of? And if you can not answer these questions are you willing to trust somebody you do not even know?

As you can see, selecting the right photographer is a very important decision to make and for that it is important that you, first of all, like the images that a certain photographer takes. Because it might be lots of fun to shoot with a certain photographer but if the results are not good, it won’t help either.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Pros and Cons of Booking a Local Photographer at Your Wedding Destination

When you work together with a wedding planner you already trust, you can certainly ask for an host recommendation and then check out their website, blog, and whatever you can find to get an impression of what the work of this photographer looks like. By taking a look at the website, you might already get an impression of the photographer itself. Is there anything personal about him or her on the page? How old is he? What does he or she like or is passionate about? Do you think it might be a good fit?

If you have a good feeling and like the work, the next step would be to get in contact. Maybe you can do a phone call or even better do a Skype session so you can see each other, get a better feeling, and check out if you might be a perfect fit or not. Of course this it not easy over distance, considering different time zones, etc. but modern technologies like FaceTime or Skype have made this process so much easier. So if a photographer is not willing to do a video call with you – they might not be the right one for you. Think about how you are going to talk about the final images, maybe an album, prints, etc. afterward. If you don’t have a good feeling while communicating beforehand it might not get better later.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Why Not Bring Your Preferred Photographer From Home to Your Wedding Destination

Another possibility you should definitely consider is taking a local photographer from where you usually live with you. A big advantage of this scenario is that you are able to build up trust rather easily. You can visit the photographer at his studio, talk about your expectations, get a feeling for each other, take a look at recent work in albums, see-touch-feel everything right away before you make a buying decision. The downside to this might be additional costs like traveling fees and accommodation for the photographer.

Depending on your wedding location, this could also be an advantage due to different price levels. For example, if you are from Europe and you are going to marry in New York, you might save a serious amount of money by bringing your own photographer of choice. So if you already found a photographer whose work you love, you feel comfortable with and who can assure you to be professional and flexible enough to shoot at a location he or she has never been before, it might be the best idea to stick with him or her and talk about the travel costs.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

One more thing to consider when planning a destination wedding is that this is a once in your lifetime opportunity to generate unforgettable images. You decided to have your wedding at an outstanding location that is special and means something to you. There are possibly hundred sof small things that all contribute to the perfect overall look and feel. So, with that in mind you might consider having a second photographer booked for your special event.

A big advantage is that one photographer can document the getting ready of the bride and the second one can be with the groom. In addition to that, at every single step of your way to the altar, at the ceremony, the beach, wherever, two lenses see more than one. So this is a unique opportunity to capture more moments, more emotions and more unforgettable memories on your perfect day. You chose to have a perfect wedding at a special location, so complement that with enough potential to capture all these wonderful moments that you prepared.

Finance your destination wedding trip with Honeyfund honeymoon registry.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

How many photographers do we need to fly out?

Depending on your wedding size, timeline of events, event coverage needs, and locations, you may need to fly out at least 2 photographers, myself and my second photographer, for your destination wedding, arriving the day before your events begin. This gives us a cushion for any delays as well as gives us time to scout out your wedding venue.

Do you offer discounted packages for destination weddings?

Out of respect to all of my couples, I do not offer discounts for destination wedding photography packages, so the price would be the same as regular packages, with any additional costs for travel that may be needed.

Do you bring backup camera gear?

I bring the same gear to a destination wedding as I would to a local wedding. I have backups for my backups and other fun cameras in my bag. I bring off-camera lighting if I need to. Your destination wedding photos will be just as beautiful as any other wedding that I photograph.

Can you help us with our wedding timeline?

Absolutely! Most of my couples invest a lot in photography services and I would love to help you to make the most of that investment. The best way to have a stress-free wedding day is to hire vendors that know what they are doing and be confident in them.

A behind the scenes look at some destination photography work!

How to choose between wedding photographers

Let’s connect about your destination wedding photography needs!

I’d love to hear from you! Send me a message about your plans even if you are in the beginning stages!

Leila Brewster Photography
101 W. 67th St., NYC, NY 10023

Being a destination wedding photographer is something I dreamed of since I shot my first wedding almost a decade ago. Getting married is a huge deal wherever you do it. But I think there is something almost magical about travelling to a different country with your nearest and dearest to tie the knot. You become completely immersed in the whole experience. The culture. The food. The scenery. The fact that your loved ones have travelled to be there with you.

As a documentary photographer, I really love ‘tuning in’ to the emotion of the day and using it to help me hunt down all those beautiful moments. Emotion really does tell the story brilliantly. And, when you’ve got a day where everyone is waist-deep in emotion and immersed in every second, that job is simply the best job in the world! Period! Perhaps it’s just me, but if you’ve booked a destination wedding, it’s almost guaranteed to give you a tonne of emotion!

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

How does this work?

I always travel 2 days before a destination wedding for a few reasons. First and foremost, it allows for any travel disruptions. Secondly, it also gives me a chance to scout the venue and surrounding areas. I also get some time to meet you and your families and get to know you better, which is an important one for me.

A pre-wedding shoot is also included, which is usually a portrait session for you both. However, you can swerve that if you want to and I can document your guests arriving at the venue.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Our joint package also travels, so have a read about that if you’ve not found it already. If you didn’t already know, my Wife is a pretty damn good Make-Up Artist (hell yes I’m biased, but she really is!). We offer a collaborative package that includes the pair of us, all day! No, you’ve not mis-read that. You can check out more about our joint package and see more of Jess’ work if your curiosity is peaking.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

Get In Touch

As a destination wedding photographer, I shoot a limited number per year and peak dates tend to get booked out pretty quickly. So, if you’re interested in me telling your story, let’s chat! If you’d like to see more of my work, learn a bit more about how I approach a wedding or fire any questions at me, just get in touch and request a brochure. You can also get social and follow my latest work on Instagram and Facebook. If you’d like to see more of Tayla & Curtis‘ beauty of a day in Spain, head on over to the blog.

Careers Advice – How to Become a Wedding Photographer

Weddings are a continually-growing, money-making industry.
Year after year they become bigger and more extravagant, and brides with dreams of the “Fairy-tale Wedding” pour more money into making theirs the best.
And living in the age of Social Media where pictures hold higher precedence than reality, wedding photographers – specifically great ones – are a hot commodity.
Seems like a pretty stable and beneficial career choice, right?
If it sounds like a bit of you, here is some quick and easy careers advice on how to become a wedding photographer:

Buy a decent camera

If you are serious about making this your career, you need to invest in yourself. As great as smartphones are, they are not the correct equipment you need to become a highly-respected and well-paid wedding photographer.
Do some research into the best camera for your needs and look into what professional wedding photographers use.

Do some research

You need to know what kinds of images are popular at weddings, and how to carry them out.
This is the fun bit: attend some weddings! If you have any nuptials approaching, ensure that you pay close attention to the photographer used. If possible (when they aren’t too busy), ask for any advice, techniques or tips that could get you started.

Practice

“Don’t practice until you get it right; practice until you can’t get it wrong.”

Like anything in life, to get better at something you need to practice. You could start by asking friends to pose in your garden or local park to practice positioning and camera angles. Every little helps!

Study your craft

There is more to wedding photography than just knowing a great angle and having a beautiful backdrop. When you become a wedding photographer, you are running a business, and this is something that you need to get familiar with before committing to anything professionally.
If you want to start or develop your career and become a wedding photographer, check out our distance learning courses.
Our Wedding Photography Level 3 course covers different elements of the career and will give you a better repertoire for potential clients.
Alternatively, call our Student Adviser team on 03300 563100 ; they know the ins and outs of each course and would be happy to find the perfect one for you.

Interested in our courses?

Use the search box below to find your course.

Only bridechillas allowed.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

I might be biased, but destination weddings are the absolute best. Sure, you can expect to receive fewer gifts than your friends who got married locally (plane tickets aren’t cheap), but who cares about gifts when you married the person of your dreams and get to celebrate it with Mai Tais in freaking paradise?! Here’s what you should know if you decide to wed away from home.

A post shared by Brooke Shunatona (@brookebighorse) on May 29, 2017 at 9:30am PDT

1. Destination weddings are for bridechillas only. Control freaks/type-As/people who had their weddings planned out before they met their fiancé, hear me when I say you don’t want a destination wedding. Disaster is inevitable. You will forget to pack something v. important and leave it at home. You will try on a dress you had tailored and realize it doesn’t fit right — and not be able to find a tailor on your remote island to fix it. Someone’s flight will be delayed or canceled. A checked bag will get lost. I can assure you, something out of your control will happen! This is the case for any wedding but especially when you’re dealing with weather you might not be used to, an area you may be unfamiliar with, and the stresses of traveling. So yeah, chill brides only.

2. You won’t be able to invite everyone you want, and a good chunk of people you invited won’t be able to come. But it’ll still be the best day of your life. You can’t have a destination wedding without embracing the fact that some of your favorite people won’t be able to swing it due to the expense or the time off or whatever the reason. But a surprising number of people will make it out, and you’ll have the best time with them. If it’s important to you that every person you’ve ever met and your dog be in your bridal party, keep your location within driving distance. But in the end, the only two people who matter for being there are you and your soon-to-be spouse.

3. Your wedding will be nothing like any of your friends’ weddings. Because destination weddings are already non-traditional, you have the luxury of making your celebration as non-traditional and tailored to you and your soon-to-be spouse as you want. My husband and I asked all our guests to wear white, because we loved the way it looked against the colorful Hawaii sunset, rainbows, and flowers. So wear a pink dress if that’s the kind of bride you are. Or skip the dress, and wear a jumpsuit. Or wear a swimsuit, I dunno — just do you.

How to Become a Destination Wedding Photographer

4. You’ll want to relax in the sun before your wedding, but resist the urge. It’s tempting to want to get a tan before wearing a white dress, especially if you’re in a beach setting, but you won’t want to cover up a sunburn or weird tan lines on a day when you’ll be photographed so much. After hibernating for a seven-month-long New York winter, I arrived at my wedding destination and went straight to the beach. I did wear sunscreen, but I missed a chunk of skin on my chest and had sunburned cleavage that soon would be on full display in my V-neck dress. It took several layers of intense, waterproof theater makeup to make it look somewhat normal (emphasis on the somewhat). In short, faux glows are just as nice.

5. Your photos will be one of your favorite things about your wedding — second to actually getting married! — so go all out. You probably chose your destination because of its beauty, not the convenience. So set aside a decent portion of your budget for documentation that does your wedding justice. Whether that means having a photographer at every event you plan throughout the weekend, deciding to do trash-the-dress photos, or hiring a videographer to make your big day look like a music video, you’ll want that stuff to pass down to the grandkids.

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6. Your guests will become besties. At a local wedding, everyone is seated with and talks only to the people they know, and then they go home and go to sleep. At a destination wedding, everyone will meet at the rehearsal dinner or whatever festivities you have planned, and by the time your weekend is over, your fiancé’s 60-year-old family friend will be floating down the lazy river with your college roommate’s boyfriend, because they’re now best buds. It just happens, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

7. If you decide to honeymoon at the same spot where you had your wedding, you will most def run into everyone again and again. The resort might seem massive, but if your guests stuck around for a vacation and they’re headed to the same pool you are, the chances of you not running into your in-laws while wearing your skimpy honeymoon wardrobe is slim. But hey! If that person made the super-select cut of people invited to your wedding, you probably wouldn’t mind spending a little more time with them, anyway.

8. Nothing about your wedding will turn out how you envisioned it would, but it’ll be just as amazing. Unless you have an infinite amount of money and vacation days, you’re not taking a ton of trips to your destination beforehand just to figure out the table linen situation. If you choose to DIY elements of your wedding, you might have a better idea, but I sent my vendors inspiration photos of things I liked instead (shipping items is a whole other battle). And when I walked into the ceremony and reception sites on the actual day, nothing looked how I thought it would. It was still perfect, though, because we made it our own.

9. Destination weddings are perfect for keeping the focus on what the day is all about. Because you’ll probably have a smaller group of attendees, not only will you have time to talk to every single one of your guests for longer than “thanks for coming,” you’ll also have the opportunity to pull aside your new spouse and take in the day together — so don’t forget to do just that. Even 15 minutes alone, away from the stresses (a destination wedding is still a wedding, after all), will be enough to soak in all the greatness of your day.

A destination wedding photographer is a must-have when planning a wedding away from home. But how do you find just the right one, and what do you need to know before you book? Keep in mind these top expert tips to selecting the team that’s right for your destination wedding and you’ll be well on your way to a fantastic wedding on location.

It’s important to go with someone you like. Loving your wedding photos is crucial, but when spending several days up close and personal with your wedding photographer, being comfortable in their company is important too (and helps you get those amazing images). If you find someone or a team that you really connect with and their work speaks to you too, you’ve hit the jackpot. Robert Evans of Robert Evans Studios says, “Personality + talent = happily ever laughter.”

Destination wedding photography duo James + Schulze says, “Hire a photographer who travels often and whose personality and skills are adaptable. Both are critical when dealing with the challenges that a destination wedding presents.”

Beyond the person behind the lens, also consider the unique budget elements when traveling with a team. “The most important question I have my clients ask when booking their photographer for their destination wedding is what is included in their travel fee,” says Stephanie Frazier Grimm, founder and creative director of Couture Parties. “Costs to consider would be airfare, ground transportation to and from the wedding site and weekend activities, lodging, meal per diem, and if they have an out of office fee (because they would be missing out on income due to travel to your wedding). Some photographers will package it all together, and some will invoice you after the event based on their expenses.”

And when planning for those expenses, consider the entire time on location, not just the wedding day itself. If you’re hosting a destination wedding, chances are you’ve got days of activities planned—from a welcome party to the postwedding brunch and perhaps even a day excursion or event or two. If capturing those events is important to you, when interviewing wedding photographers, discuss that with them and determine if their bid for multiple days suits your overall budget. Some photographers may even work with you on price for the additional events while on property.

Grimm also suggests paying for additional days on location, with or without those added events. “If you’re transporting your photographer to your wedding locale, bring them in a full day before your first event. This gives you piece of mind with travel delays and it also gives the photographer a chance to visit the venue/area to find some hidden spots for you and your partner to have some moments that capture the true reason why you selected that destination for your day.”

Keep in mind your photographer can also be from the destination. There are exceptional talents both local and abroad, so don’t be afraid to widen your search a bit in today’s global market. And no matter the location, “Hire the very best photographer you can afford,” Evans says. You can’t recapture your wedding day photos, so invest accordingly, no matter where in the world you wed.