August 30, 2022
I hadn’t dabbled in destination wedding photography yet when Jeanne approached me about photographing her week in Maui. When I think back to my time in Maui, Hawaii my heart aches because I want to go back so badly. I’m not sure if I ever will. But, if I don’t I can truly say I saw as much of the island as possible. When my sister, Heather asked if I’d like company, my answer was “ABSOLUTELY! But, I’m going to be pounding the pavement every day to see the entire island.” She booked her ticket and that was the end of the story.
After shooting her engagement session, Jeanne approached me about her photography situation for her destination wedding. I was perplexed. She wasn’t looking for something traditional. She booked a package that already included a photographer for four hours on her wedding day. Jeanne wanted to bring someone along to photograph the rehearsal dinner, a family photo session for her parents while staying at the Sheraton Maui Resort, and wedding coverage outside her base photographer. Her base photographer was amazing and upon talking with her she was fine with allowing me to take a few photos during the ceremony, but I promised to stay out of her way. Upon looking into this situation further, this is a common occurrence with destination weddings. So, people will often bring their own photographer (someone they are comfortable with and have photographed with before).
I had photographed and second shot a fair share of weddings on the main land. It’s pleasantly surprising how similar things go all the way across the Pacific Ocean with destination wedding photography. All the vendors were amazing and helpful, getting ready was wonderful with such little humidity. The day rolls on leading up to the ceremony. But, at the same time it goes by in the blink of an eye. While I was there, I picked up some knowledge that I will use as wisdom for any future destination weddings I have the privilege to photograph. I’m going to share that with you now!
Sometimes, in a destination location, companies may have contracts they want you to sign, permits they want you to obtain, or forms to fill out before photographing in their location. Sure, you can put this responsibility on your client. But, it’s not worth it to run the risk of showing up and not being able to photograph. Just be sure and call ahead. It’ll be worth your peace of mind.
When I mean early, I mean come days in advance. Spend time at the location and see how the light hits each area of the venue or location for the wedding. Find spots for photo opportunities. Decide where you’ll hang the dress on a hook to show off the location. These tiny details can make your gallery really stand out. There may be set spots where destination wedding photography leaders feature their photos, but your time lines may not be the same and lighting may be different for the time of the year. So, get there way ahead of time to know the lay of the land and scope it out with no pressure.
On wedding day, you’re all a team shooting for the same goal. The locals have likely been doing destination wedding photography in their own backyard for quite some time. Introduce yourself first thing. Tell them you’re there to help out in any way possible and grab their card so you can tag them in your posts. Ask them questions if you’re not sure what to do in a situation.
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A lifestyle photographer in the Florida panhandle.