Destination wedding photographers have more than their fair share of obstacles when it comes to planning for and executing their jobs. Have you ever considered all of the extra hoops they have to jump through to capture those publish-worthy shots of the Big Day?
Here’s how to avoid some of the most common trials and tribulations of a destination wedding photographer…
- Make sure your personal travel documents are in order. This should include any passports or visas that you, and your assistants, need in order to legally travel to a destination.
- Confirm your flight arrangements. Whether you handle your own itinerary, or the client is purchasing tickets on your behalf, you still need to confirm departure and arrival details, and make sure that they correspond to the dates and times of the events. You don’t want to miss something really important because you didn’t take into account a time change, or didn’t leave enough time for common delays.
- Find out in advance if you need any immunizations or special medical care before traveling. Some exotic locales require whole series of shots that you have to start weeks before you leave, so don’t wait too long. Make sure your staff or assistant takes care of immunizations as well.
- Check with the airline before you leave to find out how you can carry on your equipment and what kind of documentation you need to clear it through customs. Customs surprises are never the fun kind, so ask in advance. And whenever possible, avoid checking in your expensive equipment. You can’t afford to discover on arrival that it has been lost or broken. Make sure your insurance is up to date, just in case.
- Bring comfortable shoes! You’d be surprised how many wedding pros forget this on a good day at home. Add to the equation unknown terrain and limited access to a good old shoe store, and you could be in for total misery, so pack wisely!
- Inquire with your hotel about internet speed, availability and cost if you need access to work on your images or on your business while you are traveling.
- Call your cellular service provider in advance to determine whether or not your phone will be accessible. If you rely heavily on communication via cell phone on the wedding day so you can grab all of those breathtaking shots, you might need to temporarily upgrade your plans, or rent phones in your destination. It will be a lot harder for your team to coordinate taking photos of the bride as she puts on her wedding gown and has hair and makeup done simultaneously with the groom’s last moments of anticipation if you can’t communicate.
- Contact your bank and credit card company before traveling and report where you will be and when. It’s International Travel 101 – but failing to notify them can lead to embarrassing “we’re sorry, but your card has been declined” situations as your bank attempts to protect you from theft and fraud.
- If you can’t scope out the venues in advance of the wedding trip, make friends at the sites. Ask about any religious or social restrictions you might need to respect while shooting, and seek insider information on where you can take those shots that will make the “best destination photos ever” fame.
The life of a destination wedding photographer is exciting and unique, but a WHOLE lot more relaxing if you follow these simple steps along the way.