We have been receiving more emails then we can respond to from photographers, regarding tips on getting into & shooting Destination weddings. We thought that we would answer them on here, rather then emailing to each one individually (then also in the future, we can just link similar questions to this FAQ post).
(not sure why the text is in two different styles & sizes below…just ignore it & lets all act like it’s perfect)
1) How do I get into Destination Weddings:
Honestly, I think the answer is doing a KILLER job on local weddings. If your work is unique or speaks to a couple to the point of “I HAVE to have them shoot my wedding, no matter what!!” after seeing their friends wedding photos (for example), they will hire you.
You have to remember that included in most destination weddings (tropical ones) is a resort photographer. Anytime I am at a resort, I go in & review the resort photographers portfolio. I will say this, while the poses are often on the cheesy side and I have seen some terrible & unprofessional images, they are generally nice, good pictures. They do a good job! The one’s I’ve seen didn’t WOW me, but I did think they did a good adequate professional job. So, why would a couple bring YOU, paying money out of their own pocket?
They won’t. Unless your work is something they can’t live without. If it speaks to them SO much that after seeing your work, the resort photographers online portfolio pales in comparions, and IF they value wedding photography as a high priority, they will bring you.
Keep in mind that everyone has different taste in photography, and while your work may not be “WOW” to one couple, it will be perfect & “WOW” to another.
If your work doesn’tstrike that chord with thempersonally (to justify the considerable extra expense) or if photography isn’t super important to them—they won’t hire you.
I hope that makes sense. It might sound negative, but I promise you I don’t mean it that way. I want it to be realistic, and let you know about the facts (good resort photogs), but rest assured that you can get & stay busy with destination weddings if you want! A lot of photographers make a very healthy living at it!
Why don’t we offer discounts on every destination wedding? After all, isn’t it a holiday?
Yes & no. Like we said, we offer a very limited amount of great deal packages where we view the trip as a holiday with a little bit of work…. but we are also running a company. This is our career. The goal of any company is to be profitable. Traveling to an airport & paying for parking, being at the airport 3 hours before your flight, then flying 6+ hours…..etc….the same on the way back…for LESS money then a wedding in your local area? That really doesn’t make the best business sense.
Most successful & established International photographers in fact, often charge MORE for their services. It is time away form their family (possibly), other potential bookings, etc. Some photographers quote Destination weddings based on which package the couple wants (of their current offerings) and then add on flights+hotel+meals+$60-$100/hr travel time each way. Something to consider.
It is easy to give away the world for a sandy beach & beautiful palm tree, but it is also important to keep such things in check if you are serious about running a thriving company.
So, after the wedding is photographed, back in my hotel room, I upload the images to 1) my computer 2) an external harddriveand3) burn discs. In this way, the are backed up to 4 different sources (when you include the memory cards). This makes me feel comfortable sending it under the scanner. As a side note about safety & security, USE the safe in your hotel room! Put your most expensive lenses & camera body in that sucker. If it is too small, or if your room doesnt have one, ask at the front desk. Sometimes they make you rent it (very reasonable fee), other times they will just bring a bigger one up to your room. Use it. If you don’t and your gear gets stolen (even from your room), hotels are not responsible. If you had it in the safe & somehow the safe gets hacked into or goes missing….the hotel is responsible.
Additionally, if you have rented a car & are touring around (ie: when we shot our seattle wedding, we stayed at a different hotel nearly every night & toured around, same with hawaii)..you are not likely going to carry all of your gear on every hike or into every single place you go. Keep it locked in the trunk! But, more importantly, those memory cards should ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be on your person! Adam wears cargo shorts that have cargo pockets that zipper shut. After the wedding is backed up, the memory cards (in a padded zip up case) go in his cargo shorts & stay there until we get home.
….and, if your still with us after this super long blog post…here are a few more little gems for you!
Find shade you can use. It goes a LONG way to be able to pull the couple (or wedding party or family) into some decent shade to cool off for 10 minutes & take photos there. If you break up your shots on the hot beach (say 15 min at a time) with 10 minutes in the shade, it becomes far more bearable for your clients. Scout out the day before to find a nice patch of shade (in a decent location) that you can use at the time you will be shooting. (*scout during the time you will be shooting, to ensure that the area you choose will have nice solid reliable shade)